How to differenciate betwen 'ru' verbs and 'u' verbs that end in "ru"

Driving me insane.

You mean when you have to conjugate them yourself? Just memorization.

If it has an あ,う or お sound before the る, then it is always an う verb.
But if it has an え or い sound before the る, there is unfortunately no way to know if it’s a う or る verb.
Here is the article from Tae Kim about う and る verbs


No there was a method, Oh, yeah what he said ^^ there are some exceptions though

But what do you mean there’s no way to differentiate them? Isn’t the a,u and o sounds the differentiation?
And If I remember correctly, forgive me I don’t have my genki book on hand, but I think the a, u and o sounds will always be u verb, and most of the e, and i sounds will be ru, but can sometimes be u.

For the ones that follow い or え


one’s a る verb
one’s an う verb that ends in る


Here the kanji makes it easier to tell, but in your head you may not have that knowledge.

You just have to know which is which.

1 Like

That’s exactly what I meant when I wrote:

I guess we agree on this :blush:

oops, I think my brain skimmed over your always part,I wasn’t trying to correct you or anything, I was just adding to the discussion. (but I didn’t need too =w=) I was asking what you meant by no way to differentiate, but Leebo explained. That would be the exceptions.

1 Like

Alright, I edited my post to make it clearer :wink:
It’s OK to confirm what the others say :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you so much for all your replies! Now I atleast have a pattern to look to if I get confused.

I am using to practice my conjugations (but was previously getting thrown off by ‘u’ verbs being sneaky). I will give Murtada’s link a try though since it seems to put you in the spot more.

1 Like

I have a method that I use to guess which type it is/remember which type if it’s something I should already know. It’s not really based on anything concrete but it seems to work for me. I try conjugating the verb in masu form as an u verb and a ru verb and see which one sounds better/more natural. Maybe it works because I’ve been exposed to so many verbs through anime and music so I can hear if it sounds right because I’ve heard it before.

But languages can be pretty straightforward sometimes, how words sound and how easy they are to pronounce is important. My native language is English and I’ve learnt Italian, French, Japanese and most recently Chinese and in all of them there’s examples of words being combined or changed in some way to make pronunciation easier. So with Japanese when it comes to verbs they conjugate in the way that makes most sense and is easiest to say.

For example:
u verbs:

入る はいます はいります
sounds strange, not enough syllables
走る はします はしります
same as with hairu
知る します しります
shiru to shimasu just sounds wrong

ru verbs:

片付ける かたづけります かたづけます
way too many syllables, hard to say
掛ける かけります かけます
sounds odd
足りる たりります たります
ri followed by ri sounds bad, too many syllables, hard to say, awful

1 Like

idk if this is the video (cuz i watched it a long long time ago) but, Japanese RU verbs are a bad naming convention | Japanese From Zero! Video 35 - YouTube may be ur answer

1 Like

I’ve got a lot of words you’re going to think sound very bad then.

翔る is a godan verb.

承る is also Godan so I hope you enjoyうけたまわります

Also I think いる might break your brain.


Oh no. What kind of mnemonic could fit this? :frowning:

承る means “to receive” or “to hear”, so at a glance, it sounds like a rumor mill-related verb. Receive + spin?
受ける + 回る ???

いる is one of the reasons why I can’t go with “this feels right”.

受ける and 回る is probably the best mnemonic you can get, but for the history buffs it appears to have come from 受く+賜る. There are a few other words like this that are somewhat transparent in their etymology, like 志 and 湖. And of course Keigo is basically longer = more polite.

Of course for fun 食べられられられられられられられられ…られる is also a valid construction, much like “Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo” or “John had had had…”. Though something like 話してあげないでくれないんじゃなかったっけ? feels like it’s a more likely construction construction.

Anyways, aside from the 15 different words that are いる don’t forget you also have the time when you 買える’d a カエル but while 帰る-ing you had to 変える and 換える your new カエル so you were able to 飼える


Thanks for the explanation! That’s really interesting.

I never understood why a lot of learning resources refer to them as る and う verbs. Personally it just seems to make differentiating them even more confusing.

Just saying


Just going to leave this here… Runs away


Yikes no need to be rude. 翔る may very well be a godan verb but if you actually read what I wrote, I said 掛ける- as in 電話を掛ける or めがねを掛ける. If you’re going to arrogantly correct people at least take the time to read what they wrote properly. いる? Like 要る or 居る or 入る? Or any other verb that can be pronounced いる? I’ll further explain my method then- if it sounds good as an u or a ru verb then there’s probably two different verbs with that pronunciation and one will be u and the other will be ru. I’m a musician, so noticing patterns in sounds is something I’m pretty good at. I never said this would work for every verb, of course it won’t. But it’s better than having no method at all other than rote memorisation and panicking when you can’t remember or haven’t learnt a word already.

Saying something with less syllables and easier to pronounce is preferable. That’s why the forms used in casual speech are the shortest, and even dictionary forms get modified to become easier to say. It’s why 行く is usually pronounced as いく instead of ゆく. In English, a becomes an before a word starting with a vowel sound because that is easier to say, contractions are easier to say, casual speech uses lazy pronunciation, slang is shortened versions of words or words blended together. In Italian, twenty is venti and one is uno but 21 is ventuno, eight is otto but 28 is ventotto, but numbers that begin with a consonant use venti. Water is l’acqua instead of la acqua, vowels are omitted to make pronunciation easier and the same happens in French. Or how about that in Mandarin when you have two words in a row with the third tone, the first word changes to a different tone because it’s easier to pronounce? Should I go on? The point is, languages have developed to be easy to pronounce.

承る? Wow, a humble verb that I’ve never heard in 7 years of listening to Japanese songs, 4 years watching anime and 3 years learning Japanese? Clearly that’s very common. Polite forms are longer and more complicated than regular speech. And when a verb gets to that length it sounds like two groups of sounds so it sounds fine. Please, look down on me more Syphilis-先輩. You don’t need to be condescending to people who just joined the site just because you’re level 60- not making a good impression. This is why I don’t talk to people. If you genuinely want to educate people who you believe know less than you, then there are better ways to do so.

Yes, it is a homonym. Therefore it can’t “sound wrong.”

I never heard the word “utilize” in a Looney Toons Cartoon therefore no one ever uses it.

That’s 殿 to you.

Yea, I educated the other guy in this thread and got to see an extremely autistic outburst from you. I’d say this has been a pretty good day all around.


承る isn’t common? Jisho says otherwise


Also It’s worth pointing out this is taught in grade 5

Edit: This should actually be taken with a grain of salt, since Jisho isn’t always 100% up to date with usage. Also I don’t know what the original argument was about, this was just a note on usage