Grammar, how to know when to use る or う verbs on bunpro?

Hey guys,

I have recently been adding bunpro to my routine and have found it… well hard XD

it will ask me for grammar points which seem very subjective or rely on knowing vocab I don’t. For example today it asked to add ‘right?’ on a sentence, I used でしょう instead of the だるう it wanted

or asking me to change a ます ending to a casual verb ending, I would add る but instead be told it must be う

it feels weird, the app offers no explanation as to why two verb based questions would have different U endings and how to tell them apart yet i am supposed to be able to tell???
I am so confused :frowning:

any help is appreciated because right now i’m going in circles

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For example today it asked to add ‘right?’ on a sentence, I used でしょう instead of the だるう it wanted

I don’t have too much experience with bunpro, but with my limited experience it was pretty good about indicating the level of formality necessary in your answer. でしょう is just the more formal version of だろう. I’m thinking you probably missed some kind of clue that was in the description of the question.

or asking me to change a ます ending to a casual verb ending, I would add る but instead be told it must be う

There are three main types of Japanese verbs: Ichidan verbs (the ones that end with る), godan verbs (the ones that end with an う sound), and irregular verbs (the ones that don’t fit into the first two categories).

There’s no, “is it う or is it る?” You just need to know the word. The dictionary form of 食べます is 食べる. There’s no such thing as 食べう.

The dictionary form of 歌います is 歌う. There’s no such thing as 歌る.

And godan (the う verbs) are tricky. It isn’t as simple as dropping the ます and adding an ending to get to dictionary form (as you can see above).

I haven’t done bunpro’s earliest levels, so I don’t know how they teach this, but assuming they don’t, you really should supplement your learning with something like this article by Tofugu.

I’m pretty sure Bunpro does teach this though, or at the very least they tend to link to articles which you can use to supplement your learning.

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What MichaelCharles says here is what I was going to say also. Verb conjugation is not necessarily straightforward. I’m still learning all of this, but as was said you just need to learn what the correct conjugation is. Things can be confusing with things like 帰る which ends in る but is formal as 帰ります, not 帰ます.

As for the first question, the app usually says in the answer box if it wants formal or dictionary form answers. I remember getting caught out a lot by that at the beginning also.

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A lot of these ones get easier once you get to know the verbs. With godan verbs, it’s just changing the last character between the あいうえお sound before adding an ending such as ます. And back to う for the other way around.

For example, (うた)います. Removing the ます leaves (うた)い. Then you change the い sound to the う sound for (うた)う.

Or let’s say ()まない, after removing the ない, you’re left with ()ま. Then change the あ sound to う sound, so ま becomes む, and that gets you to ()む.

I never memorized this stuff, though. I tried and failed. Once I got into reading native material a lot, I started noticing the patterns through repeated exposure, and a lot of it slowly became second nature to recognize.

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Aye, the main point here is not that you need to guess which ending to use with insufficient supporting evidence, but rather that you need to know the verbs. Converting from plain form to ます form and vice versa isn’t a game of “which ending is this?”, it’s “which verb is this?”.

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The clues are there. If it wants だるう , it will indicate the masculine form is desired in the answer box.

As for verb conjugation, that takes some study. It will give you the kana pronunciation though. I’ve found these videos helpful: KANJI-Link: Learn Japanese grammar (JLPT N5) with free video lessons!

Since you don’t know every verb yet, you can click on the end of a verb (the ます in your example) and it will tell you whether it’s ichidan or godan. From their you should be able to come up with the correct ending…

Also, of course you’re welcome to post here but just wanted to mention that Bunpro has a solid Community too for questions like this.

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I see, many people seem to be saying this, but what I am confused about is I would surely need to know every possible verb in the japanese language to be able to tell which verb it is. I am only a beginner so just knowing all the verbs seems… well very very hard, my dictionary says there are over 10,000 verbs to learn.

I don’t even know where I would start, and this is only for N5! i am so lost :frowning:

(i think after re-reading you may mean the 3 main verb types, i think so XD)

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The good news on those verbs is that knowing the most common 300 to 500 or so will go a long way. (And even then it will feel like less, because of related words like (たす)かる and (たす)ける being so similar.)

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conjugating verbs in japanese is very regular (correct me if i’m wrong) if you understand the system behind it, you just need to follow the rules and you can conjugate any verb.
this image will feel like information overload, but the more you learn on bunpro, the easier it will get

you basically just change the last sound of the verb and then add whatever helper verb you need to say what you want, if it’s an ichidan verb, you don’t even have to do that, just drop the る.

i would highly suggest to read a basic guide on japanese verbs, tae kim or cure dolly were very helpful for me, just knowing there is a system behind it will make you see the patterns faster.

Summary

Chapter Overview – Learn Japanese (starts here, multiple chapters, check conjugations)
Japanese conjugation made easy! The super-simple key to all conjugations. - YouTube

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To add to this, ichidan verbs are sometimes referred to as iru/eru verbs because the kana before the る will will end in either an い sound followed by る or an え sound followed by る. An ichidan verb can never have another sound before the る so that helps to deduce. It is a matter of becoming familiar with verbs though and you will do that in time with repeat exposure. As already stated, you’re not going to likely need to know or use all of the verbs that exist. I would guess that even most native speakers of Japanese don’t know them all so don’t overthink it.

Don’t try to go through BP too quickly and add a bunch of new lessons all at once, it will be overwhelming and several are very similar. Spend some time to notice the little differences between the similar grammar points. You’ll notice that when you are meant to answer with だるう the hint (I would advise to keep these on) will have “masculine” in there, that’s your cue that it wants だるう and not でしょう. Keep a look out for these types of hints as that’s really the only way (other than memorizing the sentence) to know what the app wants.

And if you are looking for conjugation help this might be a helpful video:

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Considering how many exceptions Japanese has to most rules, there’s an unusually few number of verbs that don’t play by the verb conjugation rules. Aside from する and 来る, the two irregular verbs (which play by their own rules), the only weird conjugations you’re generally going to come across are 行く (which conjugates to 行って and 行った rather than 行いて and 行いた as you’d expect from the rules), and some of the keigo verbs, like いらっしゃる becoming いらっしゃます.

Fairly sure there’s at least a couple of others, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head, and I’m pretty sure they’re rare enough that you’ll probably not see them in the wild all that much.

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I think to begin with you would need to know around 20-50 verbs, give or take. A lot of verbs are just compounds with 込む, 出す, 付く, etc. or slight variations of other verbs so that number of 10k is a little much :smiley: . I think my Anki deck for verbs has a little over 100 and that’s already pushing into the domain of compound verbs.

Other than the main ichidan/godan split, have a look at verbs ending with く, ぬ/ぶ/む, つ and う, cause that’s where the conjugations differ a little bit. You’ll get a hang of it :slight_smile: .

Basically you should study casual verb forms by default.

But if yiu have a masu form then in most cases I can think of if the last kana before masu ends in -i then you get the casual form by changing that kana to -u.

帰り.ます 帰る
書き.ます 書く
立ち.ます たつ

If it doesn’t end in -i, you add る

食べ.ます 食べる

But you need to know the verb type too, so you should just try to remember it. You’ll need it to create other grammatical forms, like てform.

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問う (とう) becomes 問うた and 問うて for some reason. I have actually seen that one when reading a few times.

Same thing happens to 請う・乞う (こう).

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besides all the discussion about verb-forms:

bunpro doesn’t teach grammar!

bunpro allows you to practice grammar, and it links to lots of ressources which teach grammar. but you will almost certainly need some source which actually teaches the grammar, i.e. which discusses the differences between ichidan and godan verbs, etc.

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Ah, there are schools of thought. The advantage of the ます-form first approach is that they all conjugate the same way, and it’s quite likely to be all you’ll ever need if you’re visiting Japan as a tourist.

Ah, that’s the one that was hovering at the edge of my memory.

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You need to know the dictionary form for almost every kind of conjugation and adverbial sentences …

One bit of short-term practical advice is to create vocabulary cards in an SRS program (such as Anki) for the unknown words you encounter in Bunpro. Especially for verbs and nouns.

They don’t need to be anything complex.

On the front of the card, you can put the card with kanji and without kanji, such as:

飲む
のむ

And on the back, the English word for the action:

to drink (something)

Doing this will help you learn the verbs, which will make Bunpro reviews easier when having to fill them out. Without knowing the words in a sentence, Bunpro reviews are going to be a lot more difficult.

Just as you’ll have to know the irregular verbs in English, of which there are quite a number, and genders of nouns in many European languages, you’ll have to know the conjugation class of each Japanese verb.

The good news is that you’ll actually only need to know:

  • which verbs are irregular (not many and you get used to them)
  • which verbs that end in いる、える are godan verbs (also not terribly many)

Verbs that don’t end in いる、える are always godan (unless they’re irregular), and most of them that do are ichidan. So you can really get by by rembering the exceptions.

There are some verb pairs like 要る/居る、切る/着る、帰る/変える that are homophones in its base form but belong to different conjugation classes (so you can tell them apart in most other forms). It might be worth memorising these pairs explicitly.