誘う: a godan verb disguised as ichidan with a vowel stem?

I’m looking at the conjugation of さそ and while it is classified as godan (consonant-stem), it certainly appears to have a vowel-stem in the form of さそ-.

Is this a feature of some godan verbs? Some of them don’t actually move among the five hiragana rows?

I did notice that さそう does conform to the definition of a group 1 verb given in the friendly little yellow grammar dictionary: its negative, informal stem さそわ- ends with the あ sound.

I don’t really understand what you mean. 誘う is a standard godan verb, there’s nothing special about it.

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They’re all there (the 5 vowels)



Ok I think it’s only the fact that さそ- ends with a vowel rather than a consonant that is tripping me up.

Take く for example:



Here kik- ends on a consonant, and the tofugu article on verb conjugation gave me the impression that this would always be the case for godan (group 1, consonant stem, う-verbs).

Are you familiar with other う verbs like あう or おもう?

I think it’s probably not super helpful to think of it as “kik-”

It’s “ki-” with different things after it (ka, ki, ku, ke, ko). And “saso-” with different things after it (wa, i, u, e, o). “kik” isn’t something you can even represent in hiragana.


I’ll be honest. I assume godan whenever I see a new verb. The only ones I assume Ichidan are known or ones that end in an e or i vowel and are very similar to my other known verbs.

As this doesn’t follow that pattern at all, i assume a godan.

One more note. All ichidan verbs end in ru. But not all ru verbs are ichidan. That’s where the e and i rule come in.

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ok thanks guys, I’m thinking that I was taking that Tofugu article to be a bit too definitive when it was actually meant as an intro to the topic.

I’m gonna chase down the book they reference at the bottom and see if and how it uses the “consonant-stem” phrase and whether or not it gives any caveats or refinements as to where it applies.

Honestly don’t think that “consonant-stem” and “vowel-stem” are the best names to use for the verb groups, mostly because (say it with me now) All Rules Have Exceptions. Though, at least it’s better than “group 1” and “group 2”.

Ichidan verbs always end in る in the dictionary form (though not all verbs that end in る are ichidan). So if you get a verb like 誘う, there’s no confusion in the slightest: no る? It’s godan.


It is definitely a ワ行五段動詞 (5-level verb of the “W” column).
In modern Japanese, only “わ” subsists on that column, but those verbs are indeed a consonant (w) stem.

Alternatively, you can see it from an historical perspective; it used to be a ハ行四段 verb ( the change h -> w (and w -> nothing for all vowels but “a”) is a normal historic change in Japanese); so also a consonant (h) stem.

But, as others pointed out, it would be better you drop those classifications (consonant vs vowel stems) and adopt the one used by Japanese; they are simple and precise :

  • 一段 : there is only a single form of the verb stem
  • 五段 : there are 5 forms of the stem, corresponding to the 5 vowels

Thank you @YanagiPablo - now I totally get it and can drop this linguistic tangent.

So once upon a time, the formal nonpast form would have been さそゐます with the deprecated hiragana ゐ, and so on and so forth, so I can imagine sasow- as the consonant stem.

I do plan on following the advice here and refocusing on う/る (edit: 五段/一段) rather than consonant/vowel-stem, but it also feels really good to know why I was getting confused even though Tofugu was technically correct.

…to be honest I might not want to drop the linguistics entirely. Can anyone recommend any good only-somewhat-technical English resources for how Japanese changed over the centuries? I’d imagine there’s a good amount talking about the post-WWII stuff but if there’s anything going back further I’d be interested.

Maybe this would be of interest?



Most probably さそひます instead (or something like that; that verb in particular I didn’t find out an old spelling table for it).
It continued to be spelled like that, even after hi -> wi -> i changes.
It is only after the spelling reform, when kana spelling has been changed to reflect current pronunciation, that the わ・い・う・え・お endings appeared in writing.
The ゐ/ゑ kana haven’t been used (as they were made obsolete at the same time than the spelling reform)

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@athomasm 色々なすごい物を見せていただいた気がしていますよ。本当に助かりました~

Never heard of that site but it looks amazing - just like when I found Wanikani. Why didn’t I ever hear about you guys?? I’ve been languishing in laziness for years until I finally heard about WK in the fine print on Jisho.org giving credit for the audio samples.

Seriously, you guys are amazing.

edit: for anyone looking, that’s a big sentence for me, so I’d welcome feedback on how natural it sounds. “いただいた気がする” in particular seems weird to me in retrospect - sounds like I’m admitting I don’t know how I feel, and I’m projecting that awkwardness onto everyone. Now I’m thinking about "上げた気がする” or “上げたそうです” but the Windows IME input fought me on both of those as well.

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Yeah, Imabi can be a little dense, but it’s a nice place to go to get sometimes deeper explanations on things that often I see get glossed over more in other places.

It’s not my primary grammar learning source, but I always go to it at least as a secondary source of information. Plus like with something like Maggie Sensei, it’s nice to see a bunch of different examples to get more exposure.


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