Japanese Verb Conjugation - i Form

i Form

The i form, or ren'yōkei, is very regular, and in almost all cases it is formed by replacing the u with i (and making any necessary phonetic changes: す su to し shi, and つ tsu to ち chi).

Type i form Examples i form
Irregular verbs
する suru (do) shi 勉強する benkyō suru 勉強し benkyō shi
来る kuru ki
da であり de ari
Regular consonant stem (v5) verbs
-う -u -い -i 使う tsukau (use) 使い tsukai
-く -ku -き -ki 焼く yaku (grill) 焼き yaki
-ぐ -gu -ぎ -gi 泳ぐ oyogu (swim) 泳ぎ oyogi
-す -su -し -shi 示す shimesu (show) 示し shimeshi
-つ -tsu -ち -chi 待つ matsu (wait) 待ち machi
-ぬ -nu -に -ni 死ぬ shinu (die) 死に shini
-ぶ -bu -び -bi 呼ぶ yobu (call) 呼び yobi
-む -mu -み -mi 読む yomu (read) 読み yomi
-る -ru -り -ri 走る hashiru (run) 走り hashiri
aru special class (v5aru)
-る -ru -い -i ござる gozaru ござい gozai
Regular vowel stem (v1) verbs
-る -ru 見る miru (see)

食べる taberu (eat)


食べ tabe


The i form has many uses, typically as a prefix. These include:

  • To form polite verbs when followed by the -ます -masu ending: 行く iku → 行きますikimasu, 使う tsukau → 使います tsukaimasu.
  • To express a wish when followed by the ending -たい -tai: 食べたい tabetai: "I want to eat it", 行きたい ikitai: "I want to go". (The -tai ending conjugates as an -い -i adjective.)
  • To express a strong negative intention when followed by -はしない -wa shinai: 行きはしないよあんな所 iki wa shinai yo, anna tokoro "no way I'm going someplace like that".
  • To form a command when followed by
    • -なさい -nasai: これを食べなさい kore o tabenasai: "eat this", あそこへ行きなさい asoko e ikinasai: "go over there".
    • -な -na: 真っすぐ帰りな massugu kaerina "go straight home": 仲良く遊びな nakayoku asobina "play nice". (Used with children, etc.)
  • To express that something is easy or hard when followed by -易い -yasui or -難い -nikui: したしみ易い shitashimiyasui: "easy to befriend": 分かり難い wakarinikui: "hard to understand".
  • To express excessiveness when followed by the verb -過ぎる -sugiru: 飲み過ぎる nomisugiru: "to drink too much". (sugiru can also be used with the stems of adjectives.)
  • To express doing something in conjunction with something else. When followed by the suffix -ながら -nagara, the verb becomes an adverb that means doing something while doing something else.
    • 歩きながら本を読んだ arukinagara hon o yonda: "I read a book as I walked."
  • When followed by the verb -やがる -yagaru in yakuza speech, to express affronted contempt (a conjugation of opposite polarity to the honorifics) showing disrespect in the form of hatred combined with haughty/macho disdain for the doer/subject of the action/verb: 殺しやがる koroshiyagaru: "to have the gall to kill ___" (e.g. without my permission). (The te form can be substituted for the i form.)

The i form also has some uses on its own, such as:

  • To express purpose, with に ni: 食べに行きました tabe ni ikimashita: "I went there to eat". This is called the infinitive of purpose.
  • In formal honorifics such as お使い下さい o tsukai kudasai: "Please use this".
  • In conjunctions in formal writing.

For some verbs, the i form also forms part of related words in ways that are not governed by any general rules. For example:

  • The i form of 食べる taberu (to eat) can prefix 物 mono to form 食べ物 tabemono (food). Similarly with 飲む nomu (to drink) and 買う kau (to buy).
  • The i form of 賭ける kakeru (to bet) is a word on its own: 賭け kake, which means "a bet".
  • 離す hanasu (to separate) can be suffixed to the i form of kiru (to cut) to form 切り離す kirihanasu (to cut off).

Read more about this topic:  Japanese Verb Conjugation

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