Japanese Language Blog

RU Verbs Versus U Verbs Posted by on Sep 15, 2009 in Grammar

In the previous post, you’ve seen that just because a verb ends in ru () doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an u () verb. Here’s a tip to help you separate the true ru verbs versus the false ones. When the verb has an iru (いる) or eru (える) ending, it is truely a ru verb. For example, a verb like okiru (おきる)(起きる)(to get up) is a true ru verb because it has the iru ending. However let’s look at the verb naoru (なおる)(直る)(to be cured, to be healed). Although naoru ends in ru, it doesn’t have the iru or eru ending. (Naoru has the oru ending.) Therefore naoru is an u verb.

Most of the time, the method listed above is a good way to determine whether a Japanese verb is an ru or u verb. However, there are exceptions. With these verbs, you won’t be able to use the rule above to determine whether the verb is a ru or u verb. For these verbs you’ll just have to memorize the group or class in which they belong.

The following list of verbs are all u verbs but they have the iru or eru ending. Again, verbs that end in iru or eru or normally ru verbs, but these verbs happen to be the exception:

kaeru (かえる)(帰る) to return

hairu (はいる)(入る) to enter

shaberu (しゃべる)(喋る) to chatter

iru (いる)(要る) to need

shiru (しる)(知る) to know

To complicate matters, there are two verbs that do not belong to an ru or u group of verbs.

suru (する) to do (usually not written in kanji)

kuru (くる)(来る) to come

Since these verbs are irregular, you won’t be able to just take off the ru and add masu to the stem. Just memorize these forms for the present tense.

shimasu (します)

kimasu (きます)

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