Can someone help with some grammar?

little question: BunPro wanted me to change 話します to a casual form. I thought it was Ichidan because of the i ending, so put it as はなしる however I then saw it wanted 話す as it was infact Godan. Any help on what i’m getting wrong here? I seem to remember reading something about root consonants and vowels… but it was all a bit much for me

it seems to be sure when a verb is ichidan or godan, you can use the root to tell if it (the root) ends at a consonant or a vowel, however my issue is this would need me to already know the change as, in the case above, I didn’t know what the root was

if that makes sense? idk sorry if its a bit badly worded, I am just confused how to tell in situations where e and i ending word isn’t ichidan (as I had been using the rough guess that I and E endings were commonly Ichidan (and that A U or O before the る meant it was always Godan)

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Ichidan verbs end with iru or eru in base form. When attaching masu to a verb to make it polite you change the final kana to it’s i-stem and then attach masu for godan verbs.
For ichidan you just drop the ru off the end like usual.
That’s why はなす becomes はなし then add masu to make はなします

I don’t know of any way to be certain whether a verb is ichidan or godan when looking at it’s masu form if you don’t know the base form. I think you might just need to learn more verbs as you come across them.


When it comes to ます form, all verbs except some ichidan verbs have い kana, because ます form is built with the い stem of the verb and ichidan verbs don’t have a stem.

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It’s always driven me nuts that most Japanese grammar resources teach verbs backwards like this. The dictionary form of the verb is the root form from which all conjugations come, and it makes much more sense to learn that first. Figuring out how to change 話す to 話します is much more intuitive than working backwards. I guess my only advice is, if you can find something that teaches it this way, use that instead?

Edited to add:

One helpful thing I can say is that if はなしる were the root, the conjugation would have to be はなしります, so if you’re being asked to work backwards, try working forwards again from your answer and see if it makes sense.


This is actually just a case of memorizing the verbs. It’s true that both 話す and 話しる would conjugate to 話します, but since 話しる doesn’t exist, only one option remains.

To be able to conjugate, you need to know a verb’s stem, but this is generally just a case of memorizing the verbs, and gets easier the larger your vocabulary becomes. It’s also a lot easier to go from plain form to the formal form as that conjugation is a lot less ambiguous (with only ichidan and godan verbs ending in る requiring special attention).

But in short, this is mostly just an exercise where you need to know common verbs. Going from ます to plain form can be ambiguous otherwise.


I mean, bunpro does do that, so…


Yeah, that’s always bugged me too. It only leads to confusion down the line, and more effort, because sure, the conjugations for 〜ます are simpler, but then you have to get it in your head that 〜ます is also just a conjugation and the conjugations you’ve learned only apply in some cases and in fact have a more expansive set of rules. It’s a bit silly in my opinion.

Not if はなしる is an ichidan verb.


Oh good. I’ve never used this. Back in the day I used…actually I can’t even remember what I started with but it introduced only ~masu forms of verbs and then when it came time to learn ~te form you were told to use the masu stem. It didn’t even show dictionary forms for several chapters. SO dumb. I feel like Genki does the same thing but I could be misremembering. I get that they want learners to be polite when speaking but this really sets you off on the wrong foot. It made me so mad when I realized how I had to relearn things to really understand verbs in Japanese. I’m glad to hear Bunpro doesn’t teach that way.

Oh I suppose that’s true. To be honest I haven’t memorized those two terms and I kinda go by the “this feels right and that feels wrong” method these days :laughing:

That’s pretty much what it’s gonna boil down to once it’s internalised anyway, so might as well start now :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

In most cases though, verbs ending in -iru or -eru are ichidan verbs, but not always. There are a few more tricks according to Wikipedia:

Rules of thumb[edit]

If a dictionary is unavailable, it’s difficult to discriminate godan verbs from ichidan verbs when they rhyme with 〜いる ( -iru ) or 〜える ( -eru ). The following heuristics aim to improve the accuracy of naive classification:

  • There are far more godan verbs[2] than ichidan verbs.[3]
  • Verbs that DON’T rhyme with 〜いる ( -iru ) or 〜える ( -eru ) are godan verbs .

This includes verbs that rhyme with 〜ある ( -aru ), 〜うる ( -uru ) and 〜おる ( -oru ), which are godan verbs.

  • The majority of verbs that rhyme with 〜いる ( -iru ) are godan verbs .

248 of the 419 〜いる ( -iru ) verbs [ca. 60%] listed in JMdict are godan verbs.[ citation needed ]

  • The majority of verbs that rhyme with 〜える ( -eru ) are ichidan verbs .

2886 of the 3013 〜える ( -eru ) verbs [ca. 95%] listed in JMdict are ichidan verbs.[ citation needed ]

Kana and kanji based heuristics for 〜いる ( -iru ) and 〜える ( -eru ) verbs:

  • Verbs written entirely in hiragana are godan verbs . For example, びびる ( bibiru , to be surprised) and のめる ( nomeru , to fall forward) are godan verbs.
  • Kanji verbs with 1 okurigana and 3+ syllables are godan verbs . For example, 契る ( chi-gi-ru , to pledge) and 嘲る ( a-za-ke-ru , to ridicule) are godan verbs.
  • Kanji verbs with 2 okurigana are usually ichidan verbs . For example, 起きる ( okiru , to get up) and 食べる ( taberu , to eat) are ichidan verbs.
  • Kanji verbs with 2 syllables are inconclusive . For example, 切る ( ki-ru ) and 見る ( mi-ru ) are both 2-syllable verbs, yet belong to different categories (godan and ichidan, respectively)

I find all of that a bit of a pain to remember though, so I just assume verbs ending in -iru or -eru are ichidan unless I know better.

As for the terms: they come from the amount of stems a verb has, one for ichidan (just the dictionary form), five for godan (one for each column of the kana table, so one ending in each vowel, -a, -i, -u, -e and -o).

Historically there were also nidan and yodan verbs, I believe.


That’s a good refresher, thanks for taking the time to look that up! I’ve definitely always felt that internalizing things is better in the end than memorizing rules, but it’s still good to know them, in case suddenly this knowledge becomes needed on say, a forum of some kind :joy::joy:


Also I did not know this! It makes so much sense but I never thought about it before!

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