I'm a beginner, so I'm sorry if this is obvious: I was just reading a text which said


which, according to google, means "I took insects", which confused me at first because 取り is already a verb, isn't it? What would it mean if instead of that, the text had said


what role does the 取り verb play in the sentence if する is the main verb in the original?

  • Welcome to Japanese Stack Exchange. 虫取り is used as a noun in this case.
    – Jack Bosma
    Sep 15, 2019 at 19:41
  • ohh ok I didn't know that, but I thought it might be that. Is there any difference in meaning though? Sep 15, 2019 at 21:18
  • 1
    虫取りました is not correct. 「虫取りました」 would be fine, though.
    – chocolate
    Sep 16, 2019 at 1:06
  • being fine and being correct are different though. A japanese would say 虫を捕まえる. Japanese isn't a constructed language, despite what the linguists says. There is what Japanese people say and then there is what is correct...Which do you think is more correct? What people say in everyday language, or what the scholors say is linguistically correct?
    – Escoce
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


I couldn't find "虫取{むしと}る" (and so "虫取{むしと}ります") in any dictionary.

"虫{むし}取{と}り" is a noun, composed of "虫{むし}" which means insect, and the nominalization of "取{と}る" which generally means "to take", but in this case can be interpreted as "to catch". "取{と}る" is nominalized by taking its stem, ie. turning its る to a り.

So in the end, "虫取り" is a compound noun that means "catching insects", and can be turned into a verb when used along with "する"; therefore "虫取りをする" means "to catch insects", or more literally, "to do insect catching".

  • Thanks! I've been loking online on how to nominalize verbs but only came across adding こと or の. Can you do this for any verb? Do you have maybe a link with this info? I'd like to understand it Sep 15, 2019 at 21:26
  • Yeah, there are other ways to nominalize a verb. こと and の are used in many grammar structures. They're simply appended after the verb in plain form, so 取る would simply become 取ること or 取るの. As for stem nominalization, I couldn't find any decent source except for this question japanese.stackexchange.com/q/59902/18582 (but no good answer); basically all you need to know is that the stem of a verb is a noun (but only from a grammar standpoing; it's very rarely directly used as a noun).
    – Right leg
    Sep 15, 2019 at 22:16
  • 2
    @SantiagoBosch See japanese.stackexchange.com/q/32299/5010
    – naruto
    Sep 15, 2019 at 22:33
  • いい参考ですね、ありがとう!私がリンクしたQAは余り役に立ちませんえ。。。
    – Right leg
    Sep 15, 2019 at 22:40
  • @naruto ありがとうございます! Sep 16, 2019 at 0:05

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