I can read here and here that 易い and 難い are added to the "stem of the verb", but I don't really see how the examples I can find then match this rule.

For sake of clarity, I provide here a definition of what a "stem" is from one Japanese Grammar book (Lampkin 2004, 11):

The stem of a verb is the part that gives the general action or meaning; that is, "walk", "do", "sing", "hear", "be", etc. The stem of Yodan and Ichidan verbs is what is left after removing the last syllable of the Dictionary Form. For example, the stem of hataraku (work) is hatara-, the stem of taberu (eat) is tabe-, the stem of iru (be located) is i-, etc.

Except for irregular verbs kuru (come) and suru (do), the stem of a verb never changes. The stems of kuru and suru change with each base, and it is this that gives them their irregular quality

From the following examples I could find on the internet, the rule is not applied, because otherwise we would have had 読やすい, 話やすい in the two first examples.


田中さんは話やすい人(だ / です)。

この 質問は答難い。

この 文法はおぼ難い。

So what should be the form of the verb in the [doing something is easy/hard] pattern?


Lampkin, R. (1995). Japanese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar, Passport Books


1 Answer 1


With the clarification of Leebo, I was able to reach this understanding:

(1) The 易い/難い adjectives should be attached to verbs that are conjugated in the Base 2 form (i.e. ending with the vowel -i) (This is the same Base to which is attached ます).

(2) Ichidan verbs do not have a Base 2 form, so 易い/難い should follow directly the stem of the verb, which corresponds to what we get when we remove the -る from the Dictionary form of the verb (or -ます when the verb is conjugated in -ます)

(3) So the two Ichidan verbs from the examples, when inside a [doing something is easy/hard] pattern should indeed be 覚え and 答え (覚える/覚えます, 答える/答えます), while the other two Yodan verbs should be 話し, 読み (Base 2 of 話す and 読む)

This answer is heavily based on (Lampkin 1995).

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