Top 10 Basic Japanese Verbs You Need To Know

When learning a new language, the first thing you should focus on is vocabulary. Among them, verbs are surely one of the most important parts. Without them, you can’t understand what’s going on! That’s why you should memorize these 10 basic Japanese verbs if you want to learn Japanese!

Things to Remember About Japanese Verbs

In Japanese, verbs are called Doushi 動詞 with the kanji “to move” (動) and “text” (詞). Without the verb, a sentence doesn’t make sense. Therefore, let’s start from the very basics of Japanese verbs to learn Japanese!

First of all, note that for each verb there’s a “gentle form”, ending in -ます masu, and a “dictionary form” ending in -う u. Use the first one when talking in a respectful way, and the second one to be more colloquial. That’s the one you find in the dictionary, also. You can choose the verb form you need based on the situation.

Besides, remember that in Japanese the verb always goes at the end of the sentence. Focus on the pattern Subject + Particle > Object + Particle  > Verb.

If you’re a beginner, check this article to learn about Japanese particles. Just focus on は / が, を, and の. These are the essential particles for a basic sentence.

Top 10 Basic Japanese Verbs You Need To Know!

-ます form-う formHow to read itMeaning
食べます食べるtabemasu / taberuTo eat
飲みます飲むnomimasu / nomuTo drink
しますするshimasu / suruTo do
行きます行くikimasu / ikuTo go
来ます来るkimasu / kuru To come
会います会うaimasu / auTo meet
買います買うkaimasu / kauTo buy
寝ます寝るnemasu / neruTo sleep
見ます見るmimasu / miruTo see
聞きます聞くkikimasu / kikuTo hear

Finally, now that you know how to say some basic actions, let’s look at some examples of how to properly use them!

How to Use Basic Verbs: Examples

今晩は家で食べるKonban ha uchi de taberu.Tonight I will eat at home.
スプーンでスープを飲みますSupuun de suupu wo nomimasu. Eat soup with a spoon.
これからどうするつもりか。Korekara dou suru tsumori ka?What are you going to do from now?
このバスは京都へ行きますか?Kono basu ha Kyouto he ikimasuka?Is it the right bus to Kyoto?
秋に台風が来ますAki ni taifuu ga kimasu. In autumn typhoons come.
明日10時に会いましょうAshita juuji ni aimashou!Let’s meet at ten tomorrow!
昨日は新しい本を買いましたKinou ha atarashii hon wo kaimashita.I bought a new book yesterday.
私はいつも11時に寝るWatashi ha itsumo juuichiji ni neru.I always go to bed at eleven.
星空を見るHoshizora wo miru.Look up at the starry sky.
音楽を聞きますOngaku wo kikimasu.Listen to the music.

Thank you for reading!

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