Ichidan / godan verbs. Any tips how to remember which type applies to which verb?

WK is wonderful tool for practicing kanji and vocab recognition, no doubt about that. But WK does not check if users actually remember if a verb is ichidan or godan verb, since user just need to provide dictionary form.
E.g. I know that 帰る means to return. If I want to use it I will need to remember its godan verb so I can conjugate it as e.g 帰ります and not as 帰ます. But I almost always blank on that since WK does not quiz me about it. It becomes a guess game basically ლ(¯ロ¯"ლ).

And now my question to you guys, my lovely Crabigators;
How do you remember which verb ending in る is ichidan or godan? Do you have any personal mnemonics? Or you use just plain old rote learning?
I guess learning a verb and conjugating that verb with て form and past tense helps me remember, but I feel it’s not enough.
Maybe introducing colours when imagining a story from WK would help? Like e.g. imagine everything in pink colour if its ichidan and green if it’s godan? Just thinking out loud

I saw some threads about ichidan and godans but I didn’t find an answer for my question.

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Ichidan verbs always have い or え sound before る. That’s why JFZ (and perhaps some other resources) calls them -いる/-える verbs. There are some exceptions - godan verbs ending with いる or える such as 帰る or 切る, but there aren’t that many. And you can be sure, that if verb ending with る has any other vowel before る (あ、う、お), it’s godan.


I wouldn’t worry about verbs like 帰る and 入る being tricky to remember as godan despite being “eru” or “iru” at their ends. They are so common that you can’t avoid them. It’s not the end of the world to guess wrong on a rarer verb, and then look it up later.


This video made me a lot happier about dealing with these than I used to be (the list of exceptions at the timestamp in particular)



Basically, in addition to what @adamstan has said

if the verb is an ーいる/ーえる verb; however it only has one Kanji before the final mora such as 知る、帰る、散る etc, most likely it is a godan verb.
There are exceptions of course such as 着る.

If it has an additional kana before the final mora such as 食べる、掛ける、占める、then it is 100% an Ichidan Verb to the best of my knowledge, unless @Leebo might know some that don’t follow this rule.

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And, perhaps the most common one - 見る :wink:

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Common, but not an exception :wink:

They’re saying it’s an exception to the “rule” that verbs with no additional kana between the kanji and る tend to be godan despite ending in ~いる・~える. Like 入る, 帰る, and 知る are godan verbs.


It’s ichidan despite having no additional kana before る, which makes it an exception to @sinkiepwnsinkie’s rule that such verbs tend to be godan :wink:

混じる / 交じる
せびる (to demand money; to extort)

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Ah yes, good shout.

That makes sense, I didn’t notice it before. Thanks Adamstan!

Sometimes the verb is いる and it is Ichidan, and then sometimes it magically is Godan, which of course is better than when you see える and find out it is actually Nidan.

And then sometimes you look at かえる and while you’re trying to figure out if it is Ichidan or Godan you realize it is just a noun and you’re in a biblical plague.


Oh, so you’re saying it’s an exception to the rule for the exception of the rule? That hit me… somewhat unprepared :exploding_head: Sorry!

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I’m not sure I quite understand. There’s a rule that was proposed (If a verb has no kana between the the kanji and the る, then it’s godan) and 見る is an exception to that proposed rule, because it has no kana between the kanji and the る but it’s ichidan.

So no double exception, right?

Well, my thinking was:

If we call this the rule

…then this is the exception of the rule

…and that’s the rule for the exception of the rule

…which takes us to the exception to the rule for the exception of the rule.


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Ah okay… I see why you framed it that way, but I wouldn’t call 知る being godan an exception to the rule, because the “rule” was “ichidan verbs have い or え before る” and not “if a verb has い or え before る it is an ichidan verb.” Kind of the inverse of the wording that was actually written.

An exception to what you called “the rule”, to me, would be an ichidan verb that doesn’t have い or え sound before る, of which there are truly none, definitionally.

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iru, eru ending verbs are ichidan verbs is a very good rule. You’d be right more than 99.99% of the time at minimum. Your first law is not an adequate guideline, it isn’t a rule but a reality.

Edit: I’m really only pointing this out because you seem to be acting very disagreeable over something that made a lot of sense in general. That is, why someone would wonder what was being excepted. If you want the last word you can have it, because I’m definitely not replying after this. It’s just, … you might want to reflect.

I guarantee you @NicoleRauch isn’t going to be upset about what I said. There was nothing argumentative about our exchange.

I think you might have misread or misinterpreted what I wrote.


Maybe it’s that someone on level 3 is correcting someone on level 41. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, in the end, always remember the golden rule in Japanese: All Rules Have Exceptions, Including This One.