Differentiation between godan and inchidan verbs with ru ending


Learning japanese, I’ve obviously started picking up that for example that 食べる and 見る are ichidan verbs, as in they’re conjugated, in te-form for example, as 食べて and 見て. While 取る is a godan verb conjugated like 取って.But whenever I come across an unknown verb with a ~ru ending, I have to look it up to check how to conjugated it.

My question is, is there any system or rules that decide whether a verb ending in ru is conjugated on way or the other?



If the verb ends in -aru, -uru, or -oru (like 取る), then it’s always godan. Verbs ending in -iru or -eru (like 食べる) could be either, but most are ichidan. Best to just memorize the exceptional ones that are instead godan.


Some just have to be memorized. For instance, the いる verbs are a mess. (*note, some of these are archaic or literary, but still amusing)

居る - to be - ichidan
要る - to need - godan
煎る - to fry (and like 6 other cooking verbs) - godan
射る - to shoot an arrow - ichidan
鋳る - to mint a coin - ichidan
沒る - to set beyond the horizon - godan
癒る - to calm down - ichidan


The two I definitely had to memorize (and still mess up from time to time) are 帰る and 行く, but thankfully these are pretty common verbs so I can practice them a lot.

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Speaking of 帰る, it’s part of a little かえる family that is not much fun.

帰る - to return home - godan
替える・換える・代える - to replace/exchange/substitute - ichidan
変える - to change - ichidan
返る - to return - godan
買える - to be able to buy - ichidan (potential form of godan 買う)
飼える - to be able to keep (a pet) - ichidan (potential form of godan 飼う)

There’s too many かえる’s. To make it worse, かえる is also the word for frog. I guess the kanji is too obscure for WK.

EDIT: clarified base verb/potential form thing


買える - to be able to buy - godan (potential form of 買う)
飼える - to be able to keep (a pet) - godan (potential form of 飼う)

Don’t all verbs become ichidan when you conjugate to the potential form?

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I worded it badly, 飼う and 買う are godan. Yeah.

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It’s a great opportunity to make tongue twisters though.


Here is a page that I found a long time ago that helps a lot. :wink:


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