Recognising verbs

I had thought it a useful rule that if a word ends in a ‘u’ sound it is a verb, but then i met 早く which I am told is an adverb.

Is ‘my’ rule rubbish or is this an exception?

hoping someone can help

Angela

1 Like

I started writing but then saw Leebo answering so I might as well give up.

28 Likes

Yeah, it might not be the most helpful rule, since it’s actually not that common to see plain verbs in their dictionary form anyway. Usually they’ll be conjugated into some other form.

早く is itself conjugated from 早い, which is an adjective. That’s a standard conjugation from い adjective to adverb. So 大きい can be 大きく, おもしろい can be おもしろく, etc.

Not to mention other words that are other parts of speech that can end in う sounds as well.

6 Likes

It’s true that the dictionary forms of verbs end in an ‘u’ sound. (I haven’t found any exceptions yet. Please tell me if anyone else has.) But the best way to recognise verbs is really just to recognise what’s usually next to a verb. Verbs tend to be at the end of phrases/clauses/sentences and preceded by adverbs, objects etc (most of the other parts of speech). You can find the dictionary form in front of nouns as well when the verb somehow describes the noun (a so-called ‘relative clause’). It’ll probably make more sense once you get more used to Japanese sentence structure.

2 Likes

Fortunately, this is one of the exceptions to the “All rules have exceptions” rule - all verbs end in a u-sound, no exceptions.

12 Likes

All verbs in Japanese end with an ‘u’ vowel, but not all words that end with an ‘u’ vowel are verbs.

5 Likes

Now I feel like starting to use 豆腐, 迷惑, and 魅力 as if they were verbs.

5 Likes

Just like any living language, this happens! An example I’ve been told of is disu (to diss/disrespect). We coined one in our taiko group; our leader used to shout out una mas! (Spanish for “one more time!”), so we started saying unamashou! (let’s go again!).

6 Likes

Well, that’s a bit different. You are not using a noun as a verb, you are making a new verb based on the noun (e.g., サボる from サボタージュ or ディスる from ディス to take your example). I guess the new verb looks kinda the same if the original word ends in る to begin with (e.g., ダブる).
But I was talking about using those words as if they were verbs directly, without any further step.

2 Likes

大丈夫・だいじょうびます・だいじょうばない is my favorite one.

7 Likes

My girlfriend’s name ends in り and I sometimes joke around with various versions as though it’s the stem for a verb ending in る.

10 Likes

だいじょうばせる = to cause or let someone be okay.

8 Likes

How would you conjugate the ふ? Pretend it’s a ぶ or make a new class of conjugations like とんた or とひます?

3 Likes

I’d conjugate it like 宣ふ.
yes I know it’s cheating.

So would that be 宣ひます or 宣ふぃます? :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

Wikipedia says it would be 宣ひます.

Historically, anyway. We live in a shining new era, with shining new verbs. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Like 豆ふ :ok_hand: :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

whut?
Screenshot from 2020-05-10 12-06-21
So I can’t even trust hiragana anymore? :sob:

7 Likes

ふ is the classical spelling for う verb endings. I don’t know all the details though. I don’t think the sound actually changed though.

If you look up an う verb in the dictionary, it’ll show you the classical spelling after it.

image

3 Likes