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Role of Verbs
We've now learned how to describe nouns in various ways with other nouns and adjectives. This gives us quite a bit of expressive power. However,
we still cannot express actions. This is where verbs come in. Verbs, in Japanese, always come at the end of clauses. Since we have not yet
learned how to create more than one clause, for now it means that any sentence with a verb must end with the verb. We will now learn the two main
categories of verbs, which will allow us to accurately define rules for conjugation. Before learning about verbs, there in one important thing to keep in mind.
A grammatically complete sentence requires a verb only (including state of being).
Or to rephrase, unlike English, the only thing you need to make a grammatically complete sentence is a verb and nothing else!
fundamental property is essential to understanding Japanese. That's why even the simplest most basic Japanese sentence
cannot be translated into English! All conjugations will start from the dictionary form (as they appear in the dictionary).
A grammatically complete sentence:
（１） 食べる。- Eat. (possible translations include: I eat/she eats/they eat)
Classifying Verbs into ru-verbs and u-verbs
Almost all verbs in Japanese can be classified into two categories: ru-verb （一段動詞） and u-verbs （五段動詞）. The only two verbs that are not
considered to be in either category is 「する」 meaning 'to do' and
「来る」 meaning 'to come'. Otherwise, the rules for conjugation are almost all the same
depending on what class the verb is in. The way to distinguish between these verbs is fairly straightforward.
Remember, every verb has a string of kana called okurigana, which you can modify to conjugate the verb. Well, if you convert the verb to Roman
characters (called 「ローマ字」 in Japanese) and it ends in either "iru" or "eru", then it is a ru-verb.
For example, 「食べる」 is romanized as 'taberu' and
since it ends in 'eru', it is a ru-verb. Another example: 「起きる」, which romanizes to 'okiru', is a ru-verb.
All other verbs are u-verbs.
There are some exceptions to this rule where verbs that should be ru-verbs are actually u-verbs. Notice that
ru-verbs always end in 「る」 and u-verbs always end in a / u / vowel sound. This, unfortunately includes 「る」, in addition to
「つ」、「す」、「く」、「ぐ」、「む」、「ぶ」、「う」、and 「ぬ」 （「死ぬ」 is the only verb that ends in 「ぬ」）
Because of the audial consistency in the rules, after a while u-verbs will start to "sound" like u-verbs and likewise for ru-verbs.
But in the mean time, you may have some difficulty distinguishing from
ru-verbs and u-verbs so if you have any doubts, Jim Breen's WWWJDIC
will tell you what class each verb lies in. (You were looking them up right?) Ru-verb are denoted as (v1) while u-verbs are denoted as (v5r).
Should be ru-verbs but are u-verbs
Neither ru-verb nor u-verb
Here are some example sentences using ru-verbs, u-verbs, and exception verbs.
（１） アリスは食べる。- Alice eat.
（２） ジムが遊ぶ。- Jim is the one that play.
（３） ボブもする。- Bob also do.
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