Japanese Grammar Lesson 8: Casual (dictionary) verb form – negative and interrogative

Making a quick revision from last week’s lesson about the casual verb form (the one appearing on dictionaries), have a look once again at the verb classification by group:

THIRD GROUP: suru (shimasu), kuru (kimasu), miru (mimasu)
FIRST GROUP: Verbs whose -masu form end in romaji letter I
SECOND GROUP: The rest of the verbs (the ones whose -masu form doesn’t end in romaji letter I)

The example sentence was: Watashi wa Nihon he iku (I go to Japan)

Today I’m talking about the negative and interrogative patterns of this verb form.


Verbs of the first group: The verbs of this group have a simple trick to change to the negative form. You just have to substitute the “U line” character for the correspondent “A line” character of the same column! (watch the hiragana table below) After that you just need to add “nai”.

That is, ku becomes ka, ri becomes ra, and so on. There is an exception which is u becoming wa.

Examples: kaku -> kakanai; oyogu -> oyoganai; iu -> iwanai


Verbs of the second group: This group is very simple! You just take out the “U line” character and substitute it with “nai”.
Examples: taberu -> tabenai; kakeru -> kakenai

Verbs of the third group: The “exception group” verbs negative pattern is the following:
suru -> shinaikuru -> konaimiru -> minai

Taking the example sentence, it becomes: Watashi wa Nihon he ikanai (I don’t go to Japan)
Not very difficult right? On to the Interrogative pattern!

The interrogative of the casual form is kinda tricky. It doesn’t really involve changing the writing of the words, it just needs to be pronounced in a different way (question intonation).
If you still remember the interrogative pattern of the polite form (review here), you just needed to add “ka”, to turn it into a question. When you do that in Japanese, you don’t need to write a question mark (?). However, in the casual form, nothing changes in the word, so adding a question mark is all that you have to do.
The example sentence becomes: Nihon he iku? (Do (you) go to Japan?)
And that’s all!
Next time I will be introducing to you yet another verb form that has the exact same meaning but it is kinda in the middle of this casual and the polite form from before! じゃね!

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