Ichidan Verbs in Japanese | Everything you need to know

Author GokuGoku for article 'Ichidan Verbs in Japanese | Everything you need to know'

GokuGoku

6 min reading time

Ichidan Verbs in Japanese | Everything you need to know

Ichidan verbs ((いち)(だん), 1 degree) are a class of verbs in Japanese that have only 1 type of conjugation.

These verbs are also called Verbs in る, as all of them end with the Hiragana symbol (without exception).

Their only conjugation is to remove the Hiragana る at the end of the verb and replace it with a suffix that varies according to the tense.

Difference between Ichidan verbs and Godan verbs

Why is there a category of verbs called Ichidan? The reason is that we want to distinguish this category from Godan verbs. Verbs in the Godan category are called Godan (五 = 5) because their conjugations use all 5 sounds of the Hiragana alphabet (あ, え, い, お, う).

Godan verbs ending in る - Exceptions

However, be careful because there are some exceptions to this rule:

Not all verbs ending in る are Ichidan verbs

In fact, some verbs ending in ~eru and ~iru are actually Godan verbs, and therefore they require different conjugations.

Below is a list of some common verbs that end in る but are actually Godan verbs:

VerbMeaning
入る Enter
走る Run
要る Need
切る Cut
知る Know
帰る Go home
喋る Talk

How to conjugate Ichidan verbs

Ichidan verbs are simple to conjugate in different Japanese verbal forms or bases.

Below we go to see some of the main forms, and how they are conjugated for the Ichidan verbs.

Plain Form for Ichidan verbs

The Plain Form of the Ichidan verbs is the same as the normal form (dictionary form) and does not require any conjugation.

This form translates the Non-Past tense. This verb form is used to speak both in the present tense and in the future tense

In fact, in Japanese there is no conjugation for the future. Instead, there is a single form to indicate the present and the future (the context of the sentence will be necessary to distinguish between these two tenses).

Let's see some examples of sentences and how they are translated with the Plain Form:

(きたな)
Dirty
(ふく)
Clothes
()
Wear
Wear着る
dirty汚い
clothes

The verb Ichidan in this sentence is ()る, which means to wear. This sentence uses the basic form (Plain Form, dictionary form, or even non-past form). For this reason, we see how the verb does not have any changes and remains ()る.

() (かん)
Time
()
Pass (time)
The
time時間
passes過ぎる

Also in this second example the verb Ichidan ()ぎる to pass does not undergo any modification and remains in its basic form as ()ぎる.

Polite Plain Form for Ichidan verbs

The Polite non-past form is formed in the following way:

  • Remove ~る at the end of the verb
  • Add suffix ~ます (suffix for polite form)
()べる
()
()ます

Above we see an example of conjugation in the polite form for the verb Ichidan ()べる to eat. As you can see, for Ichidan verbs just remove the suffix ~る and add ~ます.

The meaning does not change with respect to the normal Plain Form. The polite form, however, is more suitable in formal situations, when we talk to a stranger, or when we interact with superiors.

We also see here an example of the polite form for the Ichidan verbs in a sentence:

Door
()
Close
Close閉じます
the
doorドア

In this sentence, the verb to close, which in its dictionary form is ()じる, becomes ()じます.

()じる
()
()ます

Te form for Ichidan verbs

The te form (て) in Japanese is a conjugation that is used in many grammatical expressions. For this reason, the Te form takes on different meanings depending on the context in which it is used.

Also for the te form the conjugation is simple for the Ichidan verbs. Even in this case, in fact, it is enough:

  • Remove ~る at the end of the verb
  • Add suffix ~て (suffix for the te form)
()べる
()
()

In the example we see how the verb Ichidan ()べる becomes ()べて in its Te form.

()べて
()る。

To sleep and eat.

Ta form for Ichidan verbs

The ta form (た) in Japanese is used to conjugate the sentence in the past tense.

To conjugate the ta form for Ichidan verbs the rules are the same as the te form we saw above:

  • Remove ~る at the end of the verb
  • Add suffix ~た (suffix for the ta form)
()べる
()
()

In the example we see how the verb Ichidan ()べる becomes ()べた in its ta form.

ドア
()けた。

I opened the door.

Past Polite form for Ichidan verbs

Past tense can also be conjugated in the past form. This form is different from the ta form, and it is used in formal contexts.

To conjugate the past polite form for Ichidan verbs one must:

  • Remove ~る at the end of the verb
  • Add suffix ~ました (suffix for the polite past tense form)
()べる
()
()ました

In the example we see how the verb Ichidan ()べる becomes ()べました in its past polite form.

ドア
()けました。

I opened the door.

As you can see, the translation with the polite form is the same as with the Plain Form

Keywords

gokugoku appgokugoku blogjapanese newsletterjapanese grammarlearn japanese grammarstudy japanese grammarresources japanese grammarichidan verbs in japanesewhat is ichidan verbs in japaneselearn ichidan verbs in japanesemeaning of ichidan verbs in japaneseexplanation of ichidan verbs in japanese~る | Ichidan in japanesewhat does it mean ~る | Ichidan in japaneselearn ~る | Ichidan in japanesemeaning of ~る | Ichidan in japaneseexplanation of ~る | Ichidan in japanese

Learn something new Every Week 🇯🇵

Every week new ideas and explanations about the Japanese Language, sent directly to your inbox 📧