Sorry if this question has been asked before. I tried to look around for an answer but couldn't find it.

I just want to state before that my question is not regarding the verb ある or verbs with kanji + multiple hiragana (for example 負ける). The question is regarding verbs with kanji + single る.

I have some issues with the negative form of verbs ending with る. I know the basic rules for converting a verb into negative form (adding an あ-sound + ない) but i cant get a grasp on these. Sometimes it is らない and sometimes just ない. Is there a rule to when it is らない and when its just ない or is it just an irregularity?


  • 出る -> 出ない
  • 降る -> 降らない
  • 着る -> 着ない
  • 切る -> 切らない

Thank you!


There are generally 3 categories of verbs, and their names depend on which textbook you use. There are Type 1 (五段), Type 2 (一段), and Irregular verbs.

  • The conjugation for negative form for Type 1 verbs:

    • Change the final sound to the corresponding one that ends in -a, then append ない
    • 切る→切ら→切らない
    • 歩く→歩か→歩かない
    • 会う→会わ→会わない (not 会あない)
    • 帰る→帰ら→帰らない
  • The conjugation for negative form for Type 2 verbs:

    • drop る and append ない
    • 出る→出ない
    • 見る→見ない
    • 変える→変えない

All Type 2 (一段) verbs end in -iru or -eru. The converse is not true; i.e. verbs that end in -iru and -eru may also be Type 1 (五段).

  • There are two other verbs ending in る – namely する and くる – that are irregular:

    • する→しない
    • くる→こない
  • 1
    Ok, so just to clarify; The only way to know for sure how to conjugate them is to know if the verb is 五段 or 一段? There are no reading/meaning patterns that tells this?
    – Sebastian
    Jun 25 '19 at 9:46
  • 4
    If the sound that comes first is in the い or え column, then yes, you just have to know what category the verb is in to be able to conjugate it. If it's something else, like, for instance, 降る (where the ふ comes from the う column), it can't be an 一段 verb.
    – Leebo
    Jun 25 '19 at 9:54
  • 3
    @Sebastian Yeah pretty much. 変える and 帰る are both かえる and they conjugate differently. You can probably get some intuition if a word is 五段 or 一段 after spending some time around words, but yeah the only way to know for sure is to know which type it is.
    – Flaw
    Jun 25 '19 at 9:55
  • 2
    @Sebastian This page has complete conjugation schemes if you want to investigate further.
    – Flaw
    Jun 25 '19 at 10:12

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