One of the things you learn when studying Japanese is that おう is pronounced like a long おお as in words like そうです (soo desu), but I would like to know if this rule also applies to verbs because there are some verbs in Japanese that would seem almost incomprehensible if following this rule for pronunciation at the same time that perhaps it would create too much ambiguity. Take for example 追う and 覆う or cases like 作ろう and 繕う. Do Japanese people pronounce the final う distinctively as a う in う-ending verbs?

1 Answer 1


When the verb(五段う)is in its imperfect form like, 追、覆、繕...

...then yes, the う is pronounced distinctly.

In cases like 作ろう、装おう、飲もう、where the verb is in a volitional conjugation...

...then the う is not pronounced distinctly, similar to the pronunciation of 王様{おうさま}

  • (i.e. 作ろー、装おー、飲もー)
  • 2
    'Dictionary form' may be easier to understand than 'imperfect form'. Mar 30, 2019 at 7:51
  • 1
    「覆おう」 is one of my favourite verb conjugations.
    – istrasci
    Jul 31, 2021 at 17:23
  • 1
    @istrasci: 「鳳凰を覆う」 Mar 28, 2022 at 20:08

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