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100 GRAMMAR POINTS

4. Two Basic Verb Forms

Here, we will focus on two present tense forms: “dictionary form” (also known as “plain form”) and ” ~masu form” (also known as “polite form”)

Note: Switching between these two verb forms does not change the meaning of the verb. The only difference is the dictionary form is more casual.

  • The dictionary form gets its name because it is what is found in the dictionary.
  • The dictionary form verbs ends in -u and many end in -ru.
  • The masu form verbs are so called because they always end in -masu in the present tense.

Examples

Dictionary Form

Dictionary Form: to eat

  • たべる
  • tabe ru

-Masu Form

  • たべます
  • tabe masu

Dictionary Form: to drink

  • のむ
  • nom u

-Masu Form

  • のみます
  • nomi masu

Dictionary Form: to run

  • はしる
  • hashi ru

-Masu Form

  • はしります
  • hashiri masu

Dictionary Form: to do (one of the two irregular verbs)

  • する
  • su ru

-Masu Form

  • します
  • shi masu

You will notice some other changes between the two forms. I would recommend learning about the three verb groups here, but for our purposes right now, just memorize a few examples and try to find patterns with other verbs. And remember: Mistake making is memory making! (As long as you correct yourself, of course.)

100 GRAMMAR POINTS

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