Japanese Verb Conjugation - Perfective


The perfective aspect, on the other hand, has a specific suffix. The basic pattern is the -ta (or -da) ending, but various phonetic changes are made, depending on the verb's last syllable. These phonetic changes are known as 音便 onbin "euphony", and the resulting form as 音便形 onbinkei "euphonic form" – see Euphonic changes (音便 onbin). The perfective is broadly equivalent to English past tense, and is often called past tense in treatments of Japanese grammar, but it is not restricted to any single tense:

Type of verb Perfective Examples Perfective
Irregular verbs
する suru (do) した shita (no others)
来る kuru (come) 来た kita (no others)
da (copula) だった datta (no others)
です desu (copula, polite) でした deshita (no others)
行く iku (go) 行った itta (no others)
-ます -masu (polite suffix) -ました -mashita 行きます ikimasu (go ) 行きました ikimashita
Regular 五段動詞 godan doushi (consonant stem) (v5) verbs / type I verbs
-う -u -った -tta 使う tsukau (use) 使った tsukatta
-う -u (See Usage) -うた -uta, -ota 問う tou (ask) 問うた tōta
-く -ku -いた -ita 焼く yaku (grill) 焼いた yaita
-ぐ -gu -いだ -ida 泳ぐ oyogu (swim) 泳いだ oyoida
-す -su -した -shita 示す shimesu (show) 示した shimeshita
-つ -tsu -った -tta 待つ matsu (wait) 待った matta
-ぬ -nu -んだ -nda 死ぬ shinu (die) 死んだ shinda
-ぶ -bu -んだ -nda 呼ぶ yobu (call) 呼んだ yonda
-む -mu -んだ -nda 読む yomu (read) 読んだ yonda
-る -ru -った -tta 走る hashiru (run) 走った hashitta
aru special class (v5aru)
-る -ru -った -tta いらっしゃる irassharu (be, go ) いらっしゃった irasshatta
いらした irashita
Regular 一段動詞 ichidan doushi (vowel stem) (v1) verbs / type II verbs
-る -ru -た -ta 見る miru (see)

食べる taberu (eat)

見た mita

食べた tabeta

-い -i -かった -katta 安い yasui (cheap)

安いです (polite)

安かった yasukatta

安かったです (polite)

-な -na -だった -datta 簡単 kantan na/da (easy) 簡単だった kantan datta

N.B.: A verb not ending in -iru or -eru in its Latin transcription is not an ichidan verb, and it follows that it is then either godan or irregular.


  • Non-exhaustive list of actions (like AやB is used for non-exhaustive lists of objects): 本を読んだり、テレビを見たりした hon o yondari, terebi o mitari shita (I read a book, watched TV, etc.)

Note that the perfective conjugation for verbs ending in -う more commonly follows the second pattern listed above for speakers of Western Japanese. The う in the perfective ending -うた may be pronounced either as an u or as an o depending on the preceding vowel, according to regular Japanese phonological rules. Consequently, in Kansai, one may hear forms such as つかう tsukau → つこうた tsukōta, or いう iu → いうた iuta.

Usage of the perfective aspect follows the same pattern as the imperfective aspect. For example, 日本に行く nihon ni iku (I go to Japan) becomes 日本に行った nihon ni itta (I went to Japan).

Read more about this topic:  Japanese Verb Conjugation

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