So for ra-nuki, I think it is when an ichidan verb's potential form removes the ra. This makes it distinct from it's passive form. However, I believe the potential form of the godan equivalent verb would be exactly the same.

Does this ever cause confusion in spoken speech?

  • 着る (Ichidan) - 着れる regular potential form
  • 切る (Godan) - 切れる ra-nuki form of potential

In spoken speech, this is exactly the same. I personally like ra nuki; however, is this more troublesome than the potential confusion between passive and potential that the current rareru structure causes? As now different verbs share conjugations which seems concerning to me, but realistically, I don't think this would ever get mixed up in the current state of the language.

  • Remember pitch accent
    – Angelos
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 19:35
  • Do these words that are ichidan and godan equivalents always differing in pitch accent? If so, then ra nuki would arguably make Japanese less ambigious without any downfalls outside of the fact that rareru may sound better, and the potential confusion when engaging with older Japanese
    – Catdog
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


If I understand correctly, there are very few verb pairs that potentially have this problem, and they have different pitch accent patterns when conjugated to potential forms:

  • : きれる【LHH】 can wear
  • : きれる【LHL】 can cut
  • : かえれる【LHHH】 can change
  • : かえれる【LHHL】 can go back

★: nonstandard ra-nuki. 居る/要る are also an ichidan/godan pair, but the potential form of 要る is not used.

By the way, some potential forms look and sound identical to the dictionary form of a different verb (even without ra-nuki):

  • : かえる【LHH】 can buy
  • : かえる【LHH】 to change
  • : あえる【LHL】 can meet
  • : あえる【LHL】 to dress (on salad/vegetable)
  • Isn't 射れる also a ら抜き言葉 since 射る is 一段?
    – L. F.
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 1:04
  • @L.F. Yes you're right. Thanks for pointing it out.
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 1:27

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