How are to-do lists written in Japanese?

I like to make a lot of checklists as you may be able to tell if you see my study log, and I’d like to start writing my daily to-do lists in Japanese. It’s a good way to practice handwriting kanji, use vocab, and plan out my day. The problem is I don’t actually know what form the verb should be in.

For example, in English, we’d write it like this:

  • make breakfast
  • feed the cat
  • clean living room
  • read ten pages
    …and so on

But in Japanese, do we write it using the plain form?

  • 朝ご飯を作る
  • 猫を餌をやる
  • 居間を掃除する
  • 十ページ読む

Or using the て form?

  • 朝ご飯を作って
  • 猫を餌をやって
  • 居間を掃除して
  • 十ページ読んで

Or maybe the 連用形?

  • 朝ご飯を作り
  • 猫を餌をやり
  • 居間を掃除し
  • 十ページ読み

Or is it something else? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this :smiley:


Great idea! I do lists for activities all the time and I naturally gravitated to plain form/dictionary form/辞書形.

I just asked my husband for confirmation and he agrees

^ this is normal😊(also just corrected a particle in the second line just fyi)


It’s probably up to personal preference if you’re writing it just for yourself, however I’m not sure if there’s any “customary” way of doing lists that other people will be reading.

I would have guessed either dictionary form or て form (since it’s a “commanding” form, similar to how lists are phrased in English. However I’m aware that Japanese and English use different paradigms so that analogy might go right out the window.)


This reminds me of when I started writing my grocery list in Japanese. :slight_smile:


I’ve pondered trying that, only my vocabulary for food items is severely lacking. Might be a good excuse to study them, lol


When I compiled my original shopping list, I double checked it to make sure the picture of that item would come up if I searched on google.
For instance(ねこ)(かん)

In Japan, we shopped at the スーパ daily, and knowing food words was great.


Ok, that’s what I initially thought, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for the help!

And thanks for correcting that particle, idk why I put two をs in there


This sounds like it ought to mean “canned cat” :slight_smile:


also they have (いぬ)(かん)



I learned this word from pro wrestling! Haruna Neko (whose gimmick is I think self-explanatory) from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling has a move called the 猫缶ラニャ. It’s a double pun on a move called a hurricanrana, which is a variation of a rana, a move that was named after the Spanish word for frog (here’s a bit more about it, courtesy of an American indie wrestler explaining it in English for a Japanese wrestling commentator who wanted to know where the name came from).

So 猫缶ラニャ, “nekocan raNYA”, is a pun on hurricanrana, incorporating both the word for canned cat food and the word for meow. :durtle_cat:


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