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第15課: Regular Verbs II: 五段 Godan Verbs

The next and final class of verbs that we will study is the Godan 五段 verb class. These verbs behave just like ru る verbs Ichidan 一段 verbs. These verbs conjugate and function the same way with the only difference  being that their roots end in consonants. Because their stems end in consonants, which are then followed by u う in their basic form, they are frequently referred to as u verbs. This difference does have one drawback, which is that you will have to learn contraction rules with certain conjugations. 

Vocabulary List


・小説 Shōsetsu – Novel

・世界 Sekai – World

・食べ物 Tabemono – Food

・道 Michi – Road

・警察 Keisatsu – Police

・バター Batā – Butter

・お金 Okane – Money

・宿題 Shukudai – Homework

・鳥 Tori – Bird

・卵 Tamago – Egg(s)

・肉団子 Nikudango – Meatball(s)

・アニソン Anison – Anime song

・悪口 Warukuchi – Slander

・人 Hito – Person

・喉 Nodo – Throat

・香り Kaori - Scent

・タイプミス Taipumisu – Typo

・祖母 Sobo – Grandmother

・竹 Take – Bamboo

・こと Koto – Thing/matter/event

・自然薯 Jinenjo – Japanaese yam

・心 Kokoro – Heart (emotional)

・電気 Denki – Electricity

・薬 Kusuri – Medicine

・風邪  Kaze – Cold

・風邪薬 Kazegusuri – Cold medicine

・銃 Jū – Gun

・服 Fuku – Clothes

・夫 Otto – Husband 

・英会話 Eikaiwa – English conversation

・クリスマス Kurisumasu – Christmas

・歯 Ha – Tooth

・ワニ Wani – Crocodile/alligator

・とどめ Todome – Finishing blow

・ハリー・ポッター Harii Pottā – Harry Potter

・爪 Tsume – Nail(s)

・商品 Shōhin – Product/item

・タバコ Tabako – Tobacco

・本 Hon – Book

・電話 Denwa – Phone

・着物 Kimono – Kimono

・車 Kuruma – Car

・スタイル Sutairu – Style

・魚 Sakana/Uo – Fish

・街 Machi – Town 

・助け Tasuke – Help


・私 Wata(ku)shi – I

・僕 Boku – I (male)

・彼 Kare – He

・彼女 Kanojo – She

Proper Nouns

・小泉さん Koizumi-san – Mr./Mr(s). Koizumi


・この Kono – This (adj.)

・その Sono – That (adj.)


・美味しい Oishii – Delicious

・黄色い Kiiroi – Yellow

Adjectival Nouns

・好きだ Suki da – To like

・同じだ Onaji da – To be the same


・いつか Itsuka – One day/someday

・全員 Zen’in – Everyone/everybody

・本気で Honki de – All out/seriously/in earnest

・やっと Yatto – Finally

・決して Kesshite – Never

・まったく Mattaku – Completely/at all (neg.)

・もう Mō – Already/(not) anymore/before long

・まだ Mada – Still/yet

・多分 Tabun – Probably

・あまり Amari – Not really

・たくさん Takusan – A lot

・ずっと Zutto – All along/by far

(ru) Ichidan Verbs

・変える Kaeru – To change (trans.)

・着る Kiru – To wear (trans.)

 (uGodan Verbs

・書く Kaku – To write (trans.)

・泳ぐ Oyogu – To swim  (intr.)

・話す Hanasu – To talk/speak (trans.)

・勝つ Katsu – To win (intr.)

・死ぬ Shinu – To die (intr.)

・選ぶ Erabu – To choose/select (trans.)

・読む Yomu – To read (trans.)

・変わる Kawaru – To change (intr.)

・買う Kau – To buy (trans.)

・聞く Kiku – To listen/ask (trans.)

・繋ぐ Tsunagu – To connect (trans.)

・指す Sasu – To point (out)/identify (trans.)

・待つ Matsu – To wait (for) (trans.)

・呼ぶ Yobu – To call/invoke/summon (trans.)

・挑む Idomu – To challenge (intr.)

・凍る Kōru  - To freeze/be frozen over (intr.)

・会う Au – To meet/encounter (intr.)

・巻く Maku – To wind/envelope (trans./intr.)

・受け継ぐ Uketsugu – To inherit (trans.)

・貸す Kasu – To lend (trans.)

・終わる Owaru – To end (intr.)

・叫ぶ  Sakebu – To scream/shout (intr.)

・包む Tsutsumu – To wrap/conceal (trans.)

・売る Uru – To sell (trans.)

・歌う Utau – To sing (trans.)

・行く Iku – To go (intr.)

・言う Iu – To say (trans.)

・乾く Kawaku – To dry up (intr.)

・嗅ぐ Kagu – To sniff/smell (trans.)

・直す Naosu – To fix (trans.)

・治す Naosu – To heal/cure (trans.)

・打つ Utsu – To hit/beat/type/etc. (trans.)

・撃つ Utsu – To shoot (trans.)

・運ぶ Hakobu – To carry/transport (trans.)

・育む Hagukumu – To raise/rear (trans.)

・掘るHoru – To dig (trans.)

・思う Omou – To think (trans.)

・つく Tsuku – To be lit/turn on (intr.)

・揺るぐ Yurugu – To waver (intr.)

・遊ぶ Asobu – To play (trans.)

・畳む Tatamu – To fold (trans.)

・実る Minoru – To bear fruit (intr.)

・習う Narau – To take lessons in (trans.)

・働く Hataraku – To work (intr.)

・引き継ぐ Hikitsugu – To transfer/hand over (trans.)

・騙す Damasu – To deceive (trans.)

・乱す Midasu – To throw out of order (trans.)

・立つ Tatsu – To stand (intr.)

・学ぶ Manabu – To study (trans.)

・悩む Nayamu – To be troubled (intr.)

・帰る Kaeru – To return home (intr.)

・祝う Iwau – To celebrate (trans.)

・動く Ugoku – To move (intr.)

・騒ぐ Sawagu – To clamor (intr.)

・刺す Sasu – To stab (trans.)

・持つ Motsu – To hold (trans.)

・喜ぶ Yorokobu – To be delighted (intr.)

・噛む Kamu – To bite (trans.)

・祈る Inoru – To pray (trans.)

・縫う Nū – To sew (trans.)

・届く Todoku – To reach/arrive (intr.)

・移す Utsusu – To swap/infect (trans.)

・保つ Tamotsu – To preserve/retain (trans.)

・並ぶ Narabu – To form a line (intr.)

・吸う Sū – To inhale/smoke/suck (trans.)

・飲む Nomu – To drink/swallow/take (medicine) (trans.)

・切る Kiru – To cut (trans.)

・走る Hashiru – To run (intr.)

・喋る Shaberu – To chat(ter)/talk (intr.)

・触る Sawaru – To touch/feel (trans./intr.)

・入る Hairu – To enter (intr.)

・滑る Suberu – To slip/slide (intr.)

・握る Nigiru – To grasp (trans.)

・限る Kagiru – To limit/restrict (trans.)

・釣るTsuru – To fish/lure

・蹴る Keru – To kick

・嘲る Azakeru – To ridicule

・捻る Hineru – To twist

Conjugating Godan Verbs

Godan 五段 verbs conjugate as do adjectives, adjectival nouns with the help of da だor desu です, and the basic tenses are still the non-past and past tenses. As we've learned in the lesson prior, the non-past tense can be used to stand for either the present tense, future tense, or the gerund depending on context. The past tense correlates to both the English past tense and perfect tense. Using this knowledge that we've already attained, we will take the next step of our journey by learning how to conjugate the remaining 49% of verbs.

Plain Non-Past Form: No Conjugation

As was the case for Ichidan 一段 verbs, no conjugation is required for the non-past tense in plain speech. Of course, the non-past needs -masu ます when you use polite speech, but we'll get to that shortly. Because a Godan 五段 verb can have any consonant end its stem, we'll need to first see all the possibilities.

 K To write Kaku 書く
 G To swim Oyogu 泳ぐ
 S To talk/speak Hanasu 話す
 T To win Katsu 勝つ
 N To die Shinu 死ぬ
 B To choose Erabu 選ぶ
 M To read Yomu 読む
 R To change Kawaru 変わる
 W* To buy Kau 買う

Verb Notes

1. The consonant "w" becomes important in certain conjugations, so even though it may be silent here, it does play a role.  
2. Shinu 死ぬ is the only verb in Standard Japanese that ends in nu ぬ. 

1. 小説しょうせつく。
Shōsetsu wo kaku.
To write a novel.

2. いつか()ぬ。
Itsuka shinu.
To one-day die.

3. 世界せかいわる。
Sekai ga kawaru.
The world will change.

4. 美味おいしいものう。
Oishii tabemono wo kau.
To buy delicious food. 

Polite Non-Past Form:-masu ます

To make a Godan 五段 verb polite in the non-past tense, change the vowel after the stem to /i/ い, and then add -masu ます. Note that the consonant t will turn to ch when followed by the vowel i. 

 Meaning Verb Stem + i + -masu ます
 To ask/listen Kiku 聞く Kikimasu 聞きます
 To connect Tsunagu 繋ぐ Tsunagimasu 繋ぎます
 To point (out)/identify Sasu 指す Sashimasu 指します
 To wait (for) Matsu 待つ Machimasu 待ちます
  To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinimasu 死にます
 To call/invoke/summon Yobu 呼ぶ Yobimasu 呼びます
 To challenge Idomu 挑む Idomimasu 挑みます
 To freeze/be frozen over Kōru 凍る
 Kōrimasu 凍ります
 To meet/encounter Au 会う Aimasu 会います

Usage Note: This form cannot modify nouns. To modify nouns with verbs in the non-past tense, you must use the plain form without -masu ます. 

5. みちこおります。
Michi ga kōrimasu.
The road(s) (will) freeze over.

6. 小泉こいずみさんをちます。
Koizumi-san wo machimasu.
I’ll wait for Mr. Koizumi.

7. 全員死ぜんいんしにます。
Zen’in shinimasu.
Everyone dies.

8. 警察けいさつびますよ。
Keisatsu wo yobimasu yo.
I’ll call the police.

9. 本気ほんきいどみます!
Honki de idomimasu!
I’m going to challenge all out!

Plain Past Form: -ta 

To make a Godan 一段 verb past tense in plain speech,-ta た is used just like with Ichidan  一段 verbs. However, a series of sound changes affect them in different ways depending on what consonant the verb stem ends with.

  • If the verb stem ends in k, the k drops, /i/ is inserted, and -ta た is attached. 
  • If the verb stem ends in g, the g drops, /i/ is inserted, but -ta た → -da だ when attached. 
  • If the verb stem ends in s, -ta attaches normally like with -masu ます.
  • If the verb stem ends in n, b, or m, these consonants → n, and -ta た → -da だ when attached.
  • If the verb stem ends in t, r, or w, these consonants → small tsu っ, and then -ta た attaches.

Examples affected by the sound changes described in these rules are shown in bold below along with verbs that are irregular. 

 Meaning Verb Past Tense
 To wind/envelope Maku 巻く Maita 巻いた
 To inherit Uketsugu 受け継ぐ Uketsuida 受け継いだ
 To lend Kasu 貸す Kashita 貸した
 To end Owaru 終わる Owatta 終わった
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinda 死んだ
 To scream/shout Sakebu 叫ぶ Sakenda 叫んだ
 To wrap up/conceal Tsutsumu 包む Tsutsunda 包んだ
 To sell Uru 売る Utta 売った
 To sing Utau 歌う Utatta 歌った
 To go* Iku 行く Itta 言った
 To say* Iu 言う Itta/Yutta 言った

Usage Note: This form can also be used to modify nouns without any change in form. Most conjugations are able to do so as long as they are not in their polite forms.

Grammar Notes:
1. The verb "to go" becomes itta 行った in the past tense unlike all other verbs whose stems end in k.
2. The verb "to say" is actually pronounced as "yū." This discrepancy manifests in the past tense as well, making both "itta" and "yutta" viable and equally correct pronunciations.   

10. バターを()った。
Batā wo utta.
I sold butter. 

11. おかねした。
Okane wo kashita.
I lent money.

12. やっと宿題(しゅくだい)()わった!
Yatto shukudai ga owatta.
My homework is finally finished!

13. その黄色(きいろ)(とり)()んだ。
Sono kiiroi tori ga shinda. 
That yellow bird died.

14. たまごつつんだ肉団子にくだんご
Tamago wo tsutsunda nikudango
Meatballs with egg packed in

15. アニソンを(うた)った。
Anison wo utatta.
I sang an anime song.

16. 悪口わるくちを言ったひと
Warukuchi wo itta/yutta hito
Person who said slander 

Polite Past Form: -mashita まし 

  To make a Godan 五段 verb past tense in polite speech, change the vowel after the stem to /i/ い, and then add -mashita ました

 Meaning Verb Stem + i + -mashita ました
 To dry up Kawaku 乾く Kawakimashita 乾きました
 To sniff/smell  Kagu 嗅ぐ Kagimashita 嗅ぎました
 To fix Naosu 直す Naoshimashita 直しました
 To hit/beat/type/etc. Utsu 打つ Uchimashita 打ちました
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinimashita 死にました
 To carry/transport Hakobu 運ぶ Hakobimashita 運びました
 To raise/rear Hagukumu 育む Hagukumimashita 育みました
 To dig Horu 掘る Horimashita 掘りました
 To think   Omou 思う Omoimashita 思いました

Usage Note: This form cannot modify nouns. To modify nouns with verbs in the past tense, you must use the plain form -ta た. 

17. のどかわきました。
Nodo ga kawakimashita.
I’m thirsty/My throat is dry.

18. きなかおりをぎました。
Suki na kaori wo kagimashita.
I smelled a scent that I like.

19. タイプミスを(なお)しました。
Taipumisu wo naoshimashita.
I fixed the typo(s).

20. 祖母そぼ去年死きょねんしにました。
Sobo wa kyonen shinimashita.
My grandmother died last year.

21. たけはこびました。
Take wo hakobimashita.
I carried/transported bamboo.

22. おなじことをおもいました。
Onaji koto wo omoimashita.
I thought the same thing.

23. 自然薯じねんじょりました。
Jinenjo wo horimashita.
I dug up Japanese yams.

Plain Negative Form: -nai ない  

To make a Godan 五段 verb negative in plain speech, change the vowel after the stem to /a/ あ, and then add -nai ない. Note how in this conjugation, silent w becomes spoken. 

 Meaning Verb Stem + a + -nai ない
 To be lit/turn on Tsuku つく Tsukanai つかない
 To waver Yurugu 揺るぐ Yuruganai 揺るがない
 To heal/cure Naosu 治す Naosanai 治さない
 To shoot Utsu 撃つ Utanai 撃たない
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinanai 死なない
 To play  Asobu 遊ぶ Asobanai 遊ばない
 To fold Tatamu 畳む Tatamanai 畳まない
 To bear fruit Minoru 実る Minoranai 実らない
 To take lessons in Narau 習う Narawanai 習わない

Usage Note: This form can also be used to modify nouns without any change in form. Most conjugations are able to do so as long as they are not in their polite forms. 

24. こころるがない。
Kokoro wa yuruganai.
My heart won’t waver.

25. 電気でんきがつかない。
Denki ga tsukanai.
The electricity won’t/doesn’t turn on.

26. 風邪薬かぜぐすり風邪かぜなおさない。
Kazegusuri wa kaze wo naosanai.
Cold medicine won’t cure a cold.

27. じゅうたない。
Jū wo utanai.
I won’t shoot a gun.

28. けっしてなない。
Kesshite shinanai.
I’ll never die.

29. ふくたたまないおっと
Fuku wo tatamanai otto
Husband who won’t fold clothes

30. 英会話えいかいわならわない。
Eikaiwa wo narawanai.
To not take lessons in English conversation.

Polite Negative Form: -masen ません 

To make a Godan 五段 verb negative in polite speech, change the vowel after the stem to /i/ い, and then add -masen ません.

 Meaning Verb Stem + i + -masen ません
 To work Hataraku 働く Hatarakimasen 働きません
 To transfer/hand over Hikitsugu 引き継ぐ Hikitsugimasen 引き継ぎません
 To deceive Damasu 騙す Damashimasen 騙しません
 To throw out of order Midasu 乱す Midashimasen 乱しません
 To stand Tatsu 立つ  Tachimasen 立ちません
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinimasen 死にません
 To study Manabu 学ぶ Manabimasen 学びません
 To be troubled Nayamu 悩む Nayamimasen 悩みません
 To return home Kaeru 帰る Kaerimasen 帰りません
 To celebrate Iwau 祝う Iwaimasen 祝いません

Usage Note: This form cannot modify nouns. To modify nouns with verbs in the negative, you must use the plain form -nai ない.  

31. おっとがまったくはたらきません。
My husband won’t work at all.

32. ぼくにません! (Male speech)
Boku wa shinimasen!
I won’t die!

33. もう(なや)みません。
Mō nayamimasen.
I won’t be troubled anymore.

34. わたしはまだかえりません。
Watashi wa mada kaerimasen.
I’m not going home yet.

35. クリスマスは(いわ)いません。
Kurisumasu wa iwaimasen.
I won’t celebrate Christmas.

36. ちません。
Ha ga tachimasen.
I can’t make a dent in it.

Idiom Note: This idiom comes from a phrase literally meaning “unable to bite through something.”  

Plain Negative Past Form: -nakatta なかった 

To make a Godan 五段 verb negative past in plain speech, change the vowel after the stem to /a/ あ, and then add -nakatta なかった

 Meaning Verb Stem + a + -nakatta なかった
 To work/move Ugoku 動く Ugokanakatta 動かなかった
 To clamor Sawagu 騒ぐ Sawaganakatta 騒がなかった
 To stab Sasu 刺す Sasanakatta 刺さなかった
 To hold Motsu 持つ Motanakatta 持たなかった
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinanakatta 死ななかった
 To be delighted Yorokobu 喜ぶ Yorokobanakatta 喜ばなかった
 To bite Kamu 噛む Kamanakatta 噛まなかった
 To pray Inoru 祈る Inoranakatta 祈らなかった
 To sew  縫う Nuwanakatta 縫わなかった

Usage Note: This form can also be used to modify nouns without any change in form. Most conjugations are able to do so as long as they are not in their polite forms. 

37. ワニが動かなかった。
Wani ga ugokanakatta.
The crocodile didn’t move.

38. とどめを()さなかった。
Todome wo sasanakatta.
I didn’t put an end to it.

39. ハリー・ポッターは()ななかった。
Harii Potta wa shinanakatta.
Harry Potter didn’t die.

40. つめまなかった。
Tsume wo kamanakatta.
I didn’t bite my nails.

Polite Negative Past Form: -masendeshita ませんでした 

To make a Godan 五段 verb negative past in polite speech, change the vowel after the stem to /i/ い, and then add -masendeshita ませんでした

 Meaning Verb Stem + i + -masendeshita ませんでした
 To reach/arrive Todoku 届く Todokimasendeshita 届きませんでした
 To swim Oyogu 泳ぐ Oyogimasendeshita 泳ぎませんでした
 To swap/infect Utsusu 移す Utsushimasendeshita 移しませんでした
 To preserve/retain Tamotsu 保つ Tamochimasendeshita 保ちませんでした
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinimasendeshita 死にませんでした
 To form a line Narabu 並ぶ Narabimasendeshita 並びませんでした 
 To drink/swallow/take (medicine) Nomu 飲む Nomimasendeshita 飲みませんでした
 To inhale/smoke Sū 吸う Suimasendeshita 吸いませんでした

Usage Note: This form cannot modify nouns. To modify nouns with verbs in the negative past, you must use the plain form -nakatta なかった. 

41. (くすり)()みませんでした。
Kusuri wo nomimasendeshita.
I didn’t take (the) medicine. 

42. 商品しょうひんとどきませんでした。
Shōhin ga todokimasendeshita.
The item didn’t arrive.

43. カニは()にませんでした。
Kani wa shinimasendeshita.
The crab didn’t die.

44. タバコを()いませんでした。
Tabako wo suimasendeshita.
I didn’t smoke.  

Alternative Polite Negative & Neg-Past Forms: -nai desu & -nakatta desu ないです・なかったです 

To make a Godan 五段 verb negative or negative past in polite yet casual speech, change the vowel after the stem to i い, and then add -nai desu ないです or nakatta desu なかったです respectively. 

 Meaning Verb Stem + a あ + -nai desu/nakatta desu ないです・なかったです
 To talk/speak Hanasu 話す Hanasanai desu 話さないです
 Hanasanakatta desu 話さなかったです
 To die Shinu 死ぬ Shinanai desu 死なないです
 Shinanakatta desu 死ななかったです
 To read Yomu 読む Yomanai desu 読まないです
 Yomanakatta desu 読まなかったです

Usage Note: These forms cannot modify nouns. To modify nouns with verbs in the negative or negative past, you must use their plain forms -nai ない and -nakatta なかった respectively.   

45. 彼女は本を()まなかったです。
Kanojo wa hon wo yomanakatta desu.
She didn't read a/the book.

46. 多分死たぶんしなないです。
Tabun shinanai desu.
I probably won’t die.

47. あまり(はな)さなかったです。 
Amari hanasanakatta desu.   
I really didn’t talk/speak. 

Godan Verbs that Unfortunately Look Like Ichidan Verbs 

After having learned all about both kinds of verbs, the sad realization that sometimes they look exactly like each other hits you like a bowling ball the face. For verbs that end in "eru" or "iru," you won't be able to initially tell what kind of verb they are until you see at least one conjugation. Usually, verbs that are homophonous almost always have different pitches as well.

There is at least one bit of good news from this debacle, which is that the fact there are two classes of verbs helps distinguish verbs that sound alike in their base forms.  

 Meaning Ichidan Verb Meaning Godan Verb
 To change 変える To go home Kaer.u 帰る
 To wear 着る To cut Kir.u 切る

If a verb ends in -ru る but the vowel preceding it is an /a/, /u/, or /o/, it will always be a Godan 五段 verb. It's also the case that a lot of verbs won't sound like an Ichidan 一段 verb. All the verbs below are Godan  五段 verbs. 

 To run Hashiru 走る To chatter Shaberu 喋る To decrease Heru 減る
 To be proud Hokoru 誇る To rub Kosuru 擦る To touch Sawaru 触る
 To enter  Hairu 入る To slip/slide Suberu 滑る To grasp Nigiru 握る
 To change (intr.) Kawaru 変わる To limit/restrict Kagiru 限る To fish/lure Tsuru 釣る
 To kick Keru 蹴る To ridicule Azakeru 嘲る To twist Hineru 捻る

48. 電話でんわりました。
Denwa wo kirimashita.
I hung up the phone.

49. 彼女かのじょ着物きものました。
Kanojo wa kimono wo kimashita.
She wore a kimono.

50. スタイルを()えませんでした。
Sutairu wo kaemasendeshita.
I didn’t change the style.

51. かれかえりませんでした。
Kare wa kaerimasendeshita.
He didn’t return/go home.

52. くるまこする。
Kuruma wo kosuru.
To scratch a car.

53. この(まち)はずっと()わらない。
Kono machi wa zutto kawaranai.
This town won’t ever change.

54. たくさん(さかな)()った。
Takusan sakana wo tsutta.
I caught a lot of fish. 

55. たすけはらない。
Tasuke wa iranai.
I don't need help. 

I'm Moving!

I will moving the think tank, which is myself, to a new location this weekend and will be low on funds for a while. New lessons are still being made, but any donations at this time would greatly be appreciated.
Aside from the Donation tab, there are also two GoFundMe campaigns to help out.