What verb form is usually used in Japanese for a to-do list for oneself?

I want to start writing my to-do list in Japanese. In English, I would typically write my to-do list as actionable commands to myself (e.g., "Email Dave", "Vacuum the living room"). So I would expect to use something like the Japanese version of the command form. However, I don't know if giving such commands to yourself seems unnatural in Japanese. Or if there are more natural forms for writing to-do lists. Are there any forms that seem the most common or natural for this purpose?

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  • Is it really the command form that you use in English or rather the ground form ("[to] email Dave", "[to] vacuum the living room")? I am wondering because e.g. in German, where the forms are clearly distinguishable from each other, you use the ground form ("Milch einkaufen") rather than the command form ("Kaufe Milch ein"). But I am not a native speaker, so I'm just guessing.
    – elzell
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


The plain dictionary form is used, but する is commonly omitted when the verb is a suru-verb. Simple noun phrases can be used, too. Examples:

  • デイブにメール(する)
  • 部屋に掃除機をかける
  • 卵を買う
  • ホテルの予約 or ホテルを予約(する)

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