Vocabulary grammar patterns based on endings

I saw some uncommon endings in my vocabulary lessons today (極めて and 痛み止め) and it got me wondering what the patterns are.

Correct me if I’m wrong about these points or if there are important nuances or caveats:

  1. 〜く can turn nouns adjectives into adverb-like things: 近く 仲良く
  2. 〜する turns some nouns into verbs: 期待する
  3. 〜に implies ‘moving towards’ the idea: 特に 初めに 現に
  4. [い]-stem of verbs creates a noun: 読み 望み 感じ 集まり

I have other questions:

  1. 〜て is some kind of modifier or set phrase? 初めて 極めて 全て 傘立て
    I know about 〜ている and conjunctive 〜て but I have seen in games verbs ending in て used as a single word. What does this て signify? Is something else implied when used alone?
  2. 〜め I can only find two examples of this so far: 予め 痛み止め
    Is this a pattern of something or does it fall into the next category?
  3. other oddball endings: 売り上げ 態と 豊か 腰抜け 頑張れ
    Are these verb forms, ‘usually written in hiragana’ kanji, or something else?

I feel like I missed an important explanation somewhere, like when I found out about transitive/intransitive verb pairs, kanji phonetic components and the first appendix about verb forms in Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar blew my mind. Even if the rules are ‘sometimes this works but be careful’, I’d still like to know!


Watch cure dolly, first few episodes explain all of this, and it’s very logical

Btw, about する, it means “to do”, so “to do cooking” for example

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くturns adjectives to adverbs.
に turns nouns to adverbs.
Cutting る off of an ichidan verb (like 止める) turns it into a noun.
For all other verbs, replacing the う sound with い (as in く→き つ→ち) turns it into a noun.


You’ve grouped them by what they end with, but 傘立て is more in the same category as 痛み止め than 初めて.

The て in 初めて is based on the て form you might have heard of (though it’s fossilized like this).

The て in 傘立て is from the verb 立てる having the る clipped off to make it a noun.


Now that I’m in a device that’s easier to type on I’ll go through some of the other words you were asking about.

売り上げ uses 上げる with the る removed to make it a noun.
腰抜け is the same case with 抜ける.

売り on its own is the い stem of 売る, which is often used to connect two verbs into a compound verb as the one above.

頑張れ is the imperative form of the verb 頑張る. It’s a command.

豊か is what some people call a な adjective, it behaves mostly like a noun but can be attached to a word with な to describe it. A lot of them end in か, which I don’t know the history of.

予め and 態と are just nouns, not any kind of modified structure. I don’t know the history of these either, but they’re not following any specific grammatical rules in modern Japanese.


Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like a good portion of my confusion is that the ‘endings’ often come from verbs being noun-ified, but then wind up looking like something else, perhaps leaving a dangling て that has nothing to do with て-form. Or it’s a verb form or linguistic oddity that I’m unfamiliar with and trying to make up bogus rules for.

Are there rules for verbs when you can and cannot snip off/alter the -う to get a noun?

Yes. There are two classes if verbs: ichidan and godan.
Ichidan only have one stem (hence the name 1dan). You remove る to have the stem.
eg: あげる > あげ

Godan have stems that use all five vowels (hence the name 5dan);
what you call い-stem is one of them.

You should search for a grammar site to explain you those in more detail.

Note also that some non declinable words have okurigana (kana after the kanji) only to disambiguate different words using the same kanji.
for example 全て【すべて】 and 全く【まったく】

Thanks for the pointer to okurigana. I had a vague idea of what it was, but it’s good to learn about it more. It’s even in the word: 送り仮名!

As for the verbs, I meant to ask if there are verbs that you can’t turn them into nouns via ます-stem, due of meaning, convention or some other rule. (My question was poorly phrased, as I think of the ます-stem as the い-stem, and what I meant by dropping/altering the final う sound, was changing it to the correct form.)

It’s more that the ones where it’s “allowed” have already been converted to nouns that way. You generally cannot produce a new noun like that if it doesn’t already exist.

There are grammar points that involve the ます stem, like [stem]に行く “to go [verb]”, but they require that precise construction and can’t exist on their own for noun uses.

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Technically that is turning them into the 連用形 (conjunctive form) of the verb.
That form is not limited to “turning into a noun”, and has several other grammatical purposes (mainly, as the name implies, to allow joining to suffixes or making compounds. Technically the -て and -た conjugation suffixes add to that form; but it is a bit blurred by the fact that extra sound change happens, so they are more usually referred to te-form and ta-form)

The 連用形 has some parallels to the “gerund” in English (the form ending in -ing of verbs), particularly in the “turning into a noun” case.

All verbs have a 連用形 form I think (at least, all that conjugate the usual way, I don’t know if there are some ones fixed in only some archaic forms); but the result isn’t always considered “a noun” (that is, have a well defined meaning and appear as an entry on dictionaries, etc).
For example, みる, to see, being an 1-dan verb has a 連用形 of み. That indeed has the meaning of “seeing”, and can combine to make compound verbs or nouns, as in ける or はな; but I don’t think that み alone would be considered as a noun.

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Well, I stand corrected!
全く actually comes from a 形容詞 (i-adjective) of 全い according to Jisho (the adjective seems quite unusual however, none of my Japanese input IME offers it).
An adverb ending in く should have rang a bell…

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