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Language Renyoukei

By JREF, Mar 6, 2012 | |
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    The Renyoukei conjugation (連用形 ren’yōkei), also called the continuative form, is used to combine verbs. It is the basis for most extensions like the -te form and the past tense. It has quite a lot of contraction which is why the ren’yōkei is often hard to identify. If you cannot identify the conjugation from the five main conjugations, chances are that it is a contraction with the ren’yōkei.

    The ren’yōkei can also be used to make nouns out of verbs and to combine two sentences.

    引く ひく hiku to pull
    出す だす dasu to take out
    引き出し ひきだし hikidashi a pull and take out → a drawer

    弟は琢郎と言い兄は太郎と言います。
    Otouto wa Takurou to ii ani wa Tarou to iimasu.
    My younger brother is called Takuro and my older brother Taro.

    Group 2 conjugationsto eatto see
    Rentaikei食べる taberu見る miru
    Ren'youkei食べ tabe見 mi
    Group 4 conjugationsto writeto buyto waitto lend
    Rentaikei書く kaku買う kau待つ matsu貸す kasu
    Ren'youkei書き kaki買い kai待ち machi貸し kashi
    Irregular verbsto doto come
    Rentaikeiする suru来る kuru
    Ren'youkeiし shi来 ki
    Irregular conjugationsto speakto giveto do
    Rentaikei 仰るossharu 下さるkudasaru為さる nasaru
    Ren'youkei仰い osshai下さい kudasai為さい nasai
    R
    Irregular conjugationsthere is/are / to come / to go (living beings)there is/are (objects)
    Rentaikeiいらっしゃる irassharu御座る gozaru
    en'youkeiいらっしゃい irasshai御座い gozai
    Verbal adjectivesto be largeto be new
    Rentaikei大きい ōkii新しい atarashii
    Ren'youkei大きく ōkiku新しく atarashiku
    Verbal adjectiveto be good (irregular)
    Rentaikeiいい/良い ii / yoi
    Ren'youkeiよく/良く yoku

    Special combinations with the ren’youkei and other verbs

    When combined with certain verbs special meanings are associated to the main verb.

    Ren’youkei + 込む (komu): to insert

    書き込む かきこむ kakikomu to fill out (a form) (書く kaku = to write)
    取り込む とりこむ torikomu to be busy (取る toru = to take)
    乗り込む のりこむ norikomu to board (a train) (乗る noru = to ride)
    振り込む ふりこむ furikomu to transfer (money) (振る furu = to shake)
    Ren’youkei + 過ぎる (sugiru): “too” or to overdo something

    飲み過ぎる のみすぎる nomisugiru to drink too much (飲む/nomu = to drink)
    高すぎる* たかすぎる takasugiru to be too expensive (高い/takai = to be expensive)
    * Note that when combining sugiru with verbal adjectives the い (i) is dropped instead of using the ren’youkei.
    Ren’youkei + 過ごす (sugosu): to do something too long

    寝過ごす ねすごす nesugosu to oversleep (寝る/neru = to sleep)
    乗り過ごす のりすごす norisugosu to miss your stop (乗る/noru = to ride)
    Many more exist, when encountering combinations of verbs you should always consult a dictionary.

    The Ren’youkei and extensions

    The ren’youkei can be combined with the following extensions. In some cases contractions occur. See the most important combinations below.

    Ren’youkei + eru (える)

    The ren’youkei + える (eru) is the short potential form and is translated as “to be able to” or “to can”. The ren’youkei + える (eru) can only be used with group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs. This combination further results in a contraction where the final “i” from the ren’youkei form is dropped. Group 2 verbs add ことができる (koto ga dekiru) to the rentaikei conjugation to achieve the potential form, this form can also be applied to group 4 verbs.

    The contraction works as follows:

    買い (kai = ren’youkei) → 買い+える (kai +eru) → 買える (kaeru = short potential form)


    Ren'youkei
    Ren'youkei + える (eru)

    買い (kai) 買える (kaeru)
    書き (kaki) 書ける (kakeru)
    泳ぎ (oyogi) 泳げる (oyogeru)
    出し (dashi) 出せる (daseru)
    待ち (machi) 待てる (materu)
    死に (shini) 死ねる (shineru)
    遊び (asobi) 遊べる (asoberu)
    飲み (nomi) 飲める (nomeru)
    入り (hairi) 入れる (haireru)

    The addition える (eru) comes from the verb 得る (eru), meaning “to acquire”. The combination of 書く (kaku), meaning “to write”, and 得る (eru), meaning “to acquire”, would translate to “to acquire the writing” or “to be able to write”. When adding 得る (eru), a group 2 verb, to the ren’youkei the resulting verbs are also conjugated as group 2 verbs.

    日本でアメリカの車を買えますか。
    Nihon de Amerika no kuruma wo kaemasu ka.
    Can you buy American cars in Japan?

    ペンがあったら書けた。
    Pen ga attara kaketa.
    If I had a pen I would have been able to write it.

    There are a few verbs where no contractions occur:
    あり得る (arieru) and 起こり得る (okorieru)

    それがあり得ない!
    Sore ga arienai!
    That can’t be! / That’s impossible!

    君にも起こり得る。
    Kimi ni mo okorieru.
    It can happen to you too.

    Ren’youkei + sou (そう)

    The ren’youkei + そう(な) (sou na), often followed by a form of “de aru” (da / desu) is one of several ways of describing an impression you have. It can be translated as “it looks like”.

    雨が降りそうだ。
    Ame ga furisou da.
    It looks like it’s going to rain.

    雨が降りそうな気がします。
    Ame ga furisou na ki ga shimasu.
    I have the feeling it will rain.

    Verbal adjectives

    When combining そう(な) (sou na) with a verbal adjective the く (ku) is dropped:
    濃く (koku = ren’youkei) → 濃くそう(な)(koku +sou na) → 濃そう(な) (kosou na)

    新しそうだ。 (Atarashisou da.)
    It looks new.

    おいしそうなさしみです。
    Oishisou na sashimi desu.
    It’s tasty looking sashimi.

    Two exceptions exist among the verbal adjectives: ない (nai), meaning “there isn’t” and いい (ii), meaning “to be good”. With these two verbal adjectives the く (ku) is replaced with さ (sa):

    なく (naku = ren’youkei) → なくそう(な)(naku +sou na) → なさそう(な) (nasasou na)
    よく (yoku= ren’youkei) → よくそう(な)(yoku +sou na) → よさそう(な) (yosasou na)

    田中君が来なさそうだ。
    Tanaka-kun ga konasasou da.
    It looks like Tanaka won’t be coming.

    よさそうな辞書だ。
    Yosasou na jisho da.
    The dictionary looks like it’s a good one.

    Note: そう (sou) is a “na-nominal” or non-conjugated adjective. To find out more about conjugated and non-conjugated adjectives check the adjectives page.

    Note: do not confuse the “ren’youkei + そう(な)” (sou na) with the “rentaikei + そう (sou)”, or the demonstrative pronoun “そう”.

    Ren’youkei + ta (た)

    The ren’youkei + た (ta) describes an action which has been completed, which, for all practical purposes, can be translated as the past tense. The resulting verb is considered to be, and used as, a rentaikei conjugation.

    ゴキブリを見た。
    Gokiburi wo mita.
    I saw a cockroach.

    怖かった。
    Kowakatta.
    It was scary.

    もう潰しました。
    Mō tsubushimashita.
    I’ve squashed it already.

    Contractions with group 4 verbs and verbal adjectives

    The ~た (-ta) form, as it is also known, of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs, undergoes contractions in many cases. For verbal adjectives the ren’youkei is combined with the verb あった (atta) to achieve the past tense. This combination also undergoes a contraction.

    Here’s one example of how the contractions work:

    買い (kai = ren’youkei) → 買い+た(kai +ta) → 買った (katta = past tense)


    Ren'youkei ends on:
    -ta form: example:

    ~い (i) → ~った (tta) 買う (kau) buy → 買った (katta) bought
    ~き (ki) → ~いた (ita) 書く (kaku) write → 書いた (kaita) wrote
    ~ぎ (gi) → ~いだ (ida) 泳ぐ (oyogu) swim → 泳いだ (oyoida) swam
    ~ち (chi) → ~った (tta) 待つ (matsu) wait → 待った (matta) waited
    ~に (ni) → ~んだ (nda) 死ぬ (shinu) die → 死んだ (shinda) died
    ~び (bi) → ~んだ (nda) 遊ぶ (asobu) play → 遊んだ (asonda) played
    ~み (mi) → ~んだ (nda) 飲む (nomu) drink → 飲んだ (nonda) drank
    ~り (ri) → ~った (tta) 入る (hairu) enter → 入った (haitta) entered
    There is only one exception:
    行き (iki = ren’youkei) → 行き+た(iki +ta) → 行った (itta = past tense)

    Present tense: Past tense:
    行く (iku) go → 行った (itta) went

    All other group 4 verbs and all group 2 verbs are regular, and so are the irregular verbs する (suru) and 来る (kuru).


    Present tense
    Past tense

    買う kau 買った katta
    書く kaku 書いた kaita
    泳ぐ oyogu 泳いだ oyoida
    出す dasu 出した dashita
    行きます ikimasu 行きました ikimashita
    待つ matsu 待った matta
    死ぬ shinu 死んだ shinda
    遊ぶ asobu 遊んだ asonda
    飲む nomu 飲んだ nonda
    入る hairu 入った haitta
    いる iru いた ita
    食べる taberu 食べた tabeta
    出る deru 出た deta
    見る miru 見た mita
    する suru した shita
    来る kuru 来た kita
    行く iku 行った itta
    だ (da)

    The past tense of だ (da) is だった (datta). だった is a contraction of であった (de atta).


    Present tense
    Past tense

    ある aru あった atta
    である de aru であった de atta
    だ da だった datta
    です desu でした deshita

    Verbal adjectives

    The ~た (-ta) form of verbal adjectives is formed by adding あった (atta) to the ren’youkei conjugation. This combination then undergoes the following contraction:
    なく (naku = ren’youkei) → なく+あった(naku +atta) → なかった (nakatta = past tense)


    Present tense
    Past tense

    高い takai 高かった takakatta
    大きい ōkii 大きかった ōkikatta
    新しい atarashii 新しかった atarashikatta
    小さい chiisai 小さかった chiisakatta

    Negatives and the ren’youkei + た (ta)

    The auxiliary verb for the negative form ない (nai) is also a verbal adjective. Therefore, as shown in the example above, the negative form of verbs and verbal adjectives undergo the same contraction as other verbal adjectives.


    Present tense negative
    Past tense negative

    買わない kawanai 買わなかった kawanakatta
    行かない ikanai 行かなかった ikanakatta
    食べない tabenai 食べなかった tabenakatta
    大きくない ōkikunai 大きくなかった ōkikunakatta

    Polite forms and the ren’youkei + た (ta)

    The auxiliary verbs for the politeness です (desu) and ren’youkei + ます (masu) behave normally when conjugated into the ~た (-ta) form. However, in combination with verbal adjectives and negative forms some erratic behaviour occurs.

    To put the negative form ~ません (-masen) in the past tense, the past tense of the verb です (desu) is added behind it. To put the polite form of verbal adjectives in the past tense, the verbal adjective is put in the past tense while です (desu) remains unchanged.


    Present tense
    Past tense

    買います kaimasu 買いました kaimashita
    です desu でした deshita
    買いません kaimasen 買いませんでした kaimasen deshita
    書きません kakimasen 書きませんでした kakimasen deshita
    食べません tabemasen 食べませんでした tabemasen deshita
    来ません kimasen 来ませんでした kimasen deshita
    大きいです ōkii desu 大きかったです ōkikatta desu
    大きくないです ōkikunai desu 大きくなかったです ōkikunakatta desu
    買わないです kawanai desu 買わなかったです kawanakatta desu
    買いたいです kaitai desu 買いたかったです kaitakatta desu

    Ren’youkei + tai (たい)

    The ren’youkei + たい (tai) means “to want”, and expresses the desire of the “first and second person”: I, you, or we. The auxiliary verb たい (tai) is a verbal adjective like ない (nai) and is conjugated accordingly.

    Unlike with extensions like ren’youkei + て (te) and ren’youkei + た (ta), there are no contractions with たい (tai). The ~たい (-tai) form cannot be used with verbal adjectives.

    見たい。
    Mitai.
    I want to see it.

    読みたいです。
    Yomitai desu.
    I want to read it.

    Interestingly both が (ga) and を (wo) can be used for the object of desire.
    何が食べたいですか。
    Nani ga tabetai desu ka.
    What would you like to eat?

    何を食べたいですか。
    Nani wo tabetai desu ka.
    What would you like to eat?

    The version with を (wo) is more common, but both are equally correct. There are however instances where が (ga) cannot be used:

    When combined with compound verbs:
    ページが印刷したい。
    Peeji ga insatsu shitai. (incorrect!)
    ページを印刷したい。
    Peeji wo insatsu shitai.
    I want to print the page.

    When the object indicates a point of departure or the location of an action:
    この通りが歩きたい。
    Kono tōri ga arukitai. (incorrect!)
    この通りを歩きたい。
    Kono tōri wo arukitai.
    I want to walk along this street.

    When the object isn’t placed directly in front of the main (or closing) verb:
    家が来年買いたい。
    Ie ga rainen kaitai. (incorrect!)
    家を来年買いたい。
    Ie wo rainen kaitai.
    I want to buy a house next year.

    When the sentence is an expression or saying:
    足が洗いたい。
    Ashi ga araitai. (incorrect!)
    足を洗いたい。
    Ashi wo araitai.
    I want to leave the life of crime. (Literally: I want to wash my feet.)

    In combination with certain constructions:
    スーツケースが置いておきたい。
    Suutsukeesu ga oite okitai. (incorrect!)
    スーツケースを置いておきたい。
    Suutsukeesu wo oite okitai.
    I want to put the suitcases down.

    When using verbs that describe inflicting damage or harm:
    骨が折りたくない。
    Hone ga oritakunai. (incorrect!)
    骨を折りたくない。
    Hone wo oritakunai.
    I don’t want to break any bones.

    Ren’youkei + たい (tai) and the polite form

    The ren’youkei + たい (tai) can only be made polite by adding です (desu) to it. You cannot add たい to the polite verb ます (masu).
    インドに行きましたい。
    Indo ni ikimashitai. (incorrect!)
    インドに行きたいです。
    Indo ni ikitai desu.
    I want to go to India.

    Ren’youkei + たい (tai) and the negative form

    The ren’youkei + たい (tai) can only be made polite by adding ない (nai) to the mizenkei conjugation of たい (tai). You cannot add たい to the ren’youkei conjugation of ない (nai).

    あれを食べなくたい。
    Are wo tabenakutai. (incorrect!)
    あれを食べたくない。
    Are wo tabetakunai.
    I don’t want to eat that.

    Ren’youkei + tara (たら)

    The ren’youkei + たら (tara) is one of several conditional forms, translated as “if” or “when”. Besides its conditional function, it is often used to describe an assumption, usually referring to a specific situation, or to an action which has been completed.

    The ren’youkei + たら (tara) can also be used to describe an observation or conclusion. In this case it can be translated as “Now that I…” (often encountered as ren’youkei + てみたら (te mitara)), or as “when” or “while”, describing a coincidence or one-off occurance).

    Other uses of the ren’youkei + たら (tara) are asking for permisson or giving recommendations, while on occasion it can be translated as “how about…”.

    The ren’youkei + たら is never found at the end of a sentence. It always ends the conditional clause, followed by the main clause.

    高かったら買わない。
    Takakattara kawanai.
    If it’s expensive I won’t buy it.

    説明を読んでみたらすぐ分かります。
    Setsumei wo yonde mitara sugu wakarimasu.
    When you’ve read the instructions you will understand.

    このようにやったらどうですか。
    Kono yō ni yattara dou desu ka.
    How about if you do it like this?

    どうしたらいいでしょうか。
    Dō shitara ii deshou ka.
    What would be the best way to do this? (Literally: If I do it how, will it be ok?)

    Contractions with group 4 verbs and verbal adjectives

    The ren’youkei + たら (tara) of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs, undergoes contractions in many cases. For verbal adjectives the ren’youkei is combined with the verb あったら (attara). This combination also undergoes a contraction.

    Here’s one example of how the contractions work:
    買い (naku = ren’youkei) → 買い +たら (kai +tara) → 買ったら (kattara)

    Ren'youkei ends on: -tara form: example:

    ~い (i) → ~ったら (ttara) 買う (kau) buy → 買ったら (kattara) when you buy
    ~き (ki) → ~いたら (itara) 書く (kaku) write → 書いたら (kaitara) when you write
    ~ぎ (gi) → ~いだら (idara) 泳ぐ (oyogu) swim → 泳いだら (oyoidara) when you swim
    ~ち (tsi) → ~ったら (ttara) 待つ (matsu) wait → 待ったら (mattara) when you wait
    ~に (ni) → ~んだら (ndara) 死ぬ (shinu) die → 死んだら (shindara) when you die
    ~び (bi) → ~んだら (ndara) 遊ぶ (asobu) play → 遊んだら (asondara) when you play
    ~み (mi) → ~んだら (ndara)
    飲む (nomu) drink

    → 飲んだら (nondara) when you drink
    ~り (ri) → ~ったら (ttara) 入る (hairu) enter → 入ったら (haittara) when you enter

    There is only one exception:行き (iki = ren’youkei) → 行き +たら (iki +tara) → 行ったら (ittara)


    Present tense:
    Past tense:

    行く (iku) go → 行ったら (ittara) when you go
    All other group 4 verbs and all group 2 verbs are regular, as are the irregular verbs する (suru) and 来る (kuru).


    Present tense
    Conditional form

    買う kau 買ったら kattara
    書く kaku 書いたら kaitara
    泳ぐ oyogu 泳いだら oyoidara
    出す dasu 出したら dashitara
    行きます ikimasu 行きましたら ikimashitara
    待つ matsu 待ったら mattara
    死ぬ shinu 死んだら shindara
    遊ぶ asobu 遊んだら asondara
    飲む nomu 飲んだら nondara
    入る hairu 入ったら haittara
    行く iku 行ったら ittara
    いる iru いたら itara
    食べる taberu 食べたら tabetara
    出る deru 出たら detara
    見る miru 見たら mitara
    する suru したら shitara
    来る kuru 来たら kitara
    だ (da)

    The conditional form of だ (da) is だったら (dattara). だったら is a contraction of であったら (de attara).


    Present tense
    Conditional form

    ある aru あったら attara
    である de aru であったら de attara
    だ da だったら dattara
    です desu でしたら deshitara

    Verbal adjectives

    The ~たら (-tara) form of verbal adjectives is formed by adding あったら (attara) to the ren’youkei conjugation. This combination then undergoes the following contraction:
    なく (naku = ren’youkei) → なく +あったら (naku +attara) → なかったら (nakattara)


    Present tense
    Conditional form

    高い takai 高かったら takakattara
    大きい ookii 大きかったら ōkikattara
    新しい atarashii 新しかったら atarashikattara
    小さい chiisai 小さかったら chiisakattara

    Ren’youkei + tari (たり)

    The ren’youkei + たり (tari) is used to describe alternating actions. This form can be translated as “sometimes I do this, sometimes I do that”, “off and on” or “what with…”.

    When there is only one occurance of the ren’youkei + たり (tari) in the sentence, then the verb to which it is attached is representative for a series of similar actions.

    The ren’youkei + たり (tari) is used as a noun. To give it the function of a verb the last occurance is followed by a form of the verb する (suru), meaning “to do”.

    本を読んだりテレビを見たりします。
    Hon wo yondari terebi wo mitari shimasu.
    Sometimes I read books and sometimes I watch TV.

    雨が降ったり止んだりした。
    Ame ga futtari yandari shita.
    It rained off and on.

    仕事をしたりで外国へ行く時間がない。
    Shigoto wo shitari de gaikoku e iku jikan ga nai.< br />What with work and all I don’t have the time to go abroad.

    安かったり高かったりして困る。
    Yasukattari takakattari shite komaru.
    Then it’s cheap, then it’s expensive, I just don’t know anymore.

    Contractions with group 4 verbs and verbal adjectives

    The ren’youkei + たり (tari) of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs, undergoes contractions in many cases. For verbal adjectives the ren’youkei is combined with the verb あったり (attari). This combination also undergoes a contraction.

    Here’s one example of how the contractions work:
    買い (naku = ren’youkei) → 買い +たり (kai +tari) → 買ったり (kattari)



    Ren'youkei ends on:
    -tara form: example:

    ~い (i) → ~ったり (ttari) 買う (kau) buy → 買ったり (kattari) alternately buy
    ~き (ki) → ~いたり (itari) 書く (kaku) write → 書いたり (kaitari) alternately write
    ~ぎ (gi) → ~いだり (idari) 泳ぐ (oyogu) swim → 泳いだり (oyoidari) alternately swim
    ~ち (tsi) → ~ったり (ttari) 待つ (matsu) wait → 待ったり (mattari) alternately wait
    ~に (ni) → ~んだり (ndari) 死ぬ (shinu) die → 死んだり (shindari) alternately die
    ~び (bi) → ~んだり (ndari) 遊ぶ (asobu) play → 遊んだり (asondari) alternately play
    ~み (mi) → ~んだり (ndari) 飲む (nomu) drink → 飲んだり (nondari) alternately drink
    ~り (ri) → ~ったり (ttari) 入る (hairu) enter → 入ったり (haittari) alternately enter
    There is only one exception:
    行き (iki = ren’youkei) → 行き +たり (iki +tari) → 行ったり (ittari)


    Present tense:
    Past tense:

    行く (iku)
    go → 行ったり (ittari)
    alternately go
    All other group 4 verbs and all group 2 verbs are regular, as are the irregular verbs する (suru) and 来る (kuru).


    Present tense
    Alternating form

    買う kau 買ったり kattari
    書く kaku 書いたり kaitari
    泳ぐ oyogu 泳いだり oyoidari
    出す dasu 出したり dashitari
    行きます ikimasu 行きましたり ikimashitari
    待つ matsu 待ったり mattari
    死ぬ shinu 死んだり shindari
    遊ぶ asobu 遊んだり asondari
    飲む nomu 飲んだり nondari
    入る hairu 入ったり haittari
    行く iku 行ったり ittari
    いる iru いたり itari
    食べる taberu 食べたり tabetari
    出る deru 出たり detari
    見る miru 見たり mitari
    する suru したり shitari
    来る kuru 来たり kitari
    だ (da)

    The ren’youkei + たり (tari) form of だ (da) is だったり (dattari). だったり is a contraction of であったり (de attari).


    Present tense
    Alternating form

    ある aru あったり attari
    である de aru であったり de attari
    だ da だったり dattari
    です desu でしたり deshitari

    Verbal adjectives

    The ~たり (-tari) form of verbal adjectives is formed by adding あったり (attari) to the ren’youkei conjugation. This combination then undergoes the following contraction:
    なく (naku = ren’youkei) → なく +あったり (naku +attari) → なかったり (nakattari)


    Present tense
    Alternating form

    高い takai 高かったり takakattari
    大きい ōkii 大きかったり ōkikattari
    新しい atarashii 新しかったり atarashikattari
    小さい chiisai 小さかったり chiisakattari
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    Ren’youkei + ppanashi (っぱなし)

    The ren’youkei + っぱなし (ppanashi) describes leaving something in its current state.

    コートを着っぱなし寝た。 (Kooto wo kippanashi neta.)
    I slept with my coat still on.

    This form occurs mostly in the spoken language. For more formal uses and the written language the rentaikei + まま (mama) is used.

    コートを着るまま寝ました。 (Kooto wo kiru mama neta.)
    I slept with my coat still on.

    Ren’youkei + tarou (たろう)

    The rentaikei + たろう (tarou) is the past tense of the subjuncitive form, with the function of the dubitative form. In normal English it should be translated into “probably did”.

    花を買ったろう。
    Hana ga kattarou.
    He’s probably bought the flowers.

    新しかったろう。
    Atarashikattarou.
    It was probably new.

    雨が降りましたろう。
    Ame ga furimashitarou.
    It has probably rained.

    赤かったろうです。
    Akakattarou desu.
    It was probably red.

    Contractions with group 4 verbs and verbal adjectives

    The ren’youkei + たろう (tarou) of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs, undergoes contractions in many cases. For verbal adjectives the ren’youkei is combined with the verb あったろう (attarou). This combination also undergoes a contraction.

    Here’s one example of how the contractions work:
    買い (naku = ren’youkei) → 買い +たろう (kai +tarou) → 買ったろう (kattarou)


    Ren'youkei ends on:
    -tara form: example:

    ~い (i) → ~ったり (ttari) 買う (kau) buy → 買ったろう (kattarou) He probably bought.
    ~き (ki) → ~いたり (itari) 書く (kaku) write → 書いたろう (kaitarou) He probably wrote.
    ~ぎ (gi) → ~いだり (idari) 泳ぐ (oyogu) swim → 泳いだろう (oyoidarou) He probably swam.
    ~ち (tsi) → ~ったり (ttari) 待つ (matsu) wait → 待ったろう (mattarou) He probably waited.
    ~に (ni) → ~んだり (ndari) 死ぬ (shinu) die → 死んだろう (shindarou) He probably died.
    ~び (bi) → ~んだり (ndari) 遊ぶ (asobu) play → 遊んだろう (asondarou) He probably played.
    ~み (mi) → ~んだり (ndari)
    飲む (nomu) drink

    → 飲んだろう (nondarou) He probably drank.
    ~り (ri) → ~ったり (ttari) 入る (hairu) enter → 入ったろう (haittarou) He probably entered.

    There is only one exception:
    行き (iki = ren’youkei) → 行き +たろう (iki +tarou) → 行ったろう (ittarou)


    Present tense:
    Past tense:

    行く (iku) go → 行ったろう (ittarou) He probably went.
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    All other group 4 verbs and all group 2 verbs are regular, as are the irregular verbs する (suru) and 来る (kuru).


    Present tense
    Dubitative form past tense

    買う kau 買ったろう kattarou
    書く kaku 書いたろう kaitarou
    泳ぐ oyogu 泳いだろう oyoidarou
    出す dasu 出したろう dashitarou
    待つ matsu 待ったろう mattarou
    死ぬ shinu 死んだろう shindarou
    遊ぶ asobu 遊んだろう asondarou
    飲む nomu 飲んだろう nondarou
    入る hairu 入ったろう haittarou
    行く iku 行ったろう ittarou
    いる iru いたろう itarou
    食べる taberu 食べたろう tabetarou
    出る deru 出たろう detarou
    見る miru 見たろう mitarou
    する suru したろう shitarou
    来る kuru 来たろう kitarou
    だ (da)

    The conditional form of だ (da) is だったろう (dattarou). だったろう is a contraction of であったろう (de attarou).


    Present tense
    Conditional form

    ある aru あったろう attarou
    である de aru であったろう de attarou
    だ da だったろう dattarou
    です desu でしたろう deshitarou

    Verbal adjectives

    The ~たろう (-tarou) form of verbal adjectives is formed by adding あったろう (attarou) to the ren’youkei conjugation. This combination then undergoes the following contraction:

    なく (naku = ren’youkei) → なく +あったろう (naku +attarou) → なかったろう (nakattarou)


    Present tense
    Conditional form

    高い takai 高かったろう takakattarou
    大きい ōkii 大きかったろう ōkikattarou
    新しい atarashii 新しかったろう atarashikattarou
    小さい chiisai 小さかったろう chiisakattarou

    Ren’youkei + te (て)

    The ren’youkei + て (te) is used to combine verbs and verbal adjectives, and to create subordinate clauses. When using the ren’youkei + て (te) to combine verbs or create clauses て can be used for successive and simultaneous actions, and can also indicate a causal relation.

    お風呂に入って寝る。
    O-furo ni haitte neru.
    I’m going to take a bath and go to bed.

    寿司を食べて日本酒を飲んだ。
    Sushi wo tabete nihonshu wo nonda.
    He ate sushi and drank sake.

    車が高くて買わなかった。
    Kuruma ga takakute kawanakatta.
    The car was expensive, so I didn’t buy it.

    The tense of the ren’youkei + て (te) is the same as the tense of the main (or closing) verb.

    The ren’youkei + て (te) is one of the most common grammatical Japanese forms, and can adopt many special functions when combined with particles or certain verbs.

    Combinations with particles

    ~te kara ~te wa ~te mo

    Combinations with verbs and verbal adjectives

    ~te ageru ~te inai ~te kuru ~te hoshii
    ~te aru ~te iru ~te kureru ~te miru
    ~te itadaku ~te oku ~te shimau ~te morau
    ~te iku ~te kudasaru ~te nai ~te yaru

    Contractions with group 4 verbs

    The ~て (-te) form, as it is also known, of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs, undergoes contractions in many cases.

    Here’s one example of how the contractions work:
    買い (kai = ren’youkei) → 買い +て (kai +te) → 買って (katte)


    Ren'youkei ends on:
    -te form: example:

    ~い (i) → ~って (tte) 買う (kau) buy → 買って (katte) buying
    ~き (ki) → ~いて (ite) 書く (kaku) write → 書いて (kaite) writing
    ~ぎ (gi) → ~いで (ide) 泳ぐ (oyogu) swim → 泳いで (oyoide) swimming
    ~ち (tsi) → ~って (tte) 待つ (matsu) wait → 待って (matte) waiting
    ~に (ni) → ~んで (nde) 死ぬ (shinu) die → 死んで (shinde) dying
    ~び (bi) → ~んで (nde) 遊ぶ (asobu) play → 遊んで (asonde) playing
    ~み (mi) → ~んで (nde)
    飲む (nomu) drink

    → 飲んで (nonde) drinking
    ~り (ri) → ~って (tte) 入る (hairu) enter → 入って (haitte) entering
    There is only one exception:
    行き (iki = ren’youkei) → 行き +て (iki +te) → 行って (itte)

    Present tense: Past tense:

    行く(iku) go → 行って(itte) going
    All other group 4 verbs, all group 2 verbs, and all verbal adjectives are regular, and so are the irregular verbs する (suru) and 来る (kuru).

    Rentaikei -te form

    買う kau 買って katte
    書く kaku 書いて kaite
    泳ぐ oyogu 泳いで oyoide
    出す dasu 出して dashite
    行きます ikimasu 行きまして ikimashite
    待つ matsu 待って matte
    死ぬ shinu 死んで shinde
    遊ぶ asobu 遊んで asonde
    飲む nomu 飲んで nonde
    入る hairu 入って haitte
    行く iku 行って itte
    いる iru いて ite
    食べる taberu 食べて tabete
    出る deru 出て dete
    見る miru 見て mite
    する suru して shite
    来る kuru 来て kite
    高い takai 高くて takakute
    大きい ookii 大きくて ookikute
    新しい atarashii 新しくて atarashikute
    小さい chiisai 小さくて chiisakute
    だ (da)

    The -te form of だ (da) is で (de).


    Rentaikei
    -te form

    ある aru あって atte
    である de aru であって de atte
    だ da で de
    です desu で de

    Combinations with particles

    Ren’youkei + てから (te kara)

    The ren’youkei + てから (te kara) means “after”.

    部屋を掃除してから買い物をします。 (Heya wo souji shite kara kaimono wo shimasu.)
    After I have cleaned my room, I’m going shopping.

    Ren’youkei + ては (te wa)

    The ren’youkei + ては (te wa) is one of several conditional forms. It should be translated as “if” or “when”. Ren’youkei + ては (te wa) can only be used in situations where, if something does or doesn’t happen, the result is negative or one gets into trouble.

    お金がなくてはあんたに払えません。
    O-kane ga nakute wa anta ni haraemasen.
    If I don’t have any money I can’t pay you.

    彼が来なくては困る。
    Kare ga konakute wa komaru.
    If he doesn’t show up I don’t know what to do.

    Special combinations with ては are the ren’youkei + てはならない (te wa naranai) or the ren’youkei + ては行けない (te wa ikenai). These combinations form a prohibitive, and are translated as “mustn’t”. When using the double negatives mizenkei + なくてはならない (nakute wa naranai) or mizenkei + なくては行けない (nakute wa ikenai) these combinations form an imperative, and are translated as “must” or “have to”.

    そのような本を読んでは行けない。
    Sono you na hon wo yonde wa ikenai.
    You mustn’t read a book like that.

    すぐ行かなくてはならない。
    Sugu ikanakute wa naranai.
    I must leave soon.

    なくてはならない(nakute wa naranai) is often contracted to なきゃならない (nakya naranai) or even to simply なきゃ (nakya).

    勉強しなきゃならない。
    Benkyō shinakya naranai.
    I must study.

    もう行かなきゃ。
    Mō ikanakya.
    I have to go.

    Ren’youkei + ても (te mo)

    The ren’youkei + ても (te mo) means “even if”, or “even though”.

    お金を貯めても金持ちにならない。
    O-kane wo tamete mo kanemochi ni naranai.
    Even though I save money, I don’t get rich.

    払わなくてもいい。
    Harawanakute mo ii.
    Even if you don’t pay, it’s alright. / You don’t have to pay.

    Combinations with verbs and verbal adjectives

    Ren’youkei + てあげる (te ageru)

    The ren’youkei + てあげる (te ageru) is translated as doing something for someone else. 上げる (ageru) is a humble verb, meaning to give to someone higher than yourself. This construction shows respect towards the person you are doing it for.

    手紙を送ってあげます。
    Tegami wo okutte agemasu.
    I will send the letter for you.

    Ren’youkei + てある (te aru)

    The ren’youkei + てある (te aru) is used to describe a result, and can only be used in combination with transitive verbs. It is translated as the grammatical perfect in English.

    手紙が書いてある。
    Tegami ga kaite aru.
    The letter has been written.

    Ren’youkei + ていただ< く (te itadaku)

    The ren’youkei + ていただく (te itadaku) is translated as someone doing something for you. 頂く (itadaku) is a humble verb, meaning to receive from someone higher than yourself. This construction shows gratitude and respect for the person who has done this for you.

    手紙を送っていただきました。
    Tegami wo okutte itadakimashita.
    She posted the letter for me.

    Ren’youkei + ていく (te iku)

    The ren’youkei + ていく (te iku) can mean “to do something and then go” or it can describe a process that “get’s away from you”. Sometimes it can even simply describe the way you are going.

    コーヒーを飲んでいこう。
    Koohii wo nonde ikou.
    Let’s drink some coffee and then leave.

    年を取っていく。
    Toshi wo totte iku.
    I’m getting older (and there’s nothing I can do about it).

    歩いていく。
    Aruite iku.
    I’m going on foot.

    Ren’youkei + ていない (te inai)

    The ren’youkei + ていない (te inai) describes an action that has not yet taken place.

    手紙を書いていない。
    Tegami wo kaite inai. (transitive)
    I haven’t written the letter yet.

    日本に行っていない。
    Nihon ni itte inai. (intransitive)
    I haven’t been to Japan yet.

    Ren’youkei + ている (te iru)

    When the ren’youkei + ている (te iru) is combined with an intransitive verb it describes a result or a state, which is translated as the grammatical perfect, or an action in progress, which is translated as the -ing form or gerund. When the -te form is combined with a transitive verb it can only describe an action in progress and is always translated as the gerund.

    手紙を書いている。
    Tegami wo kaite iru. (transitive)
    I’m writing a letter.

    日本に行っている。
    Nihon ni itte iru. (intransitive)
    He’s going to Japan (underway).

    日本に行っている。
    Nihon ni itte iru. (intransitive)
    He’s in Japan (after having gone there).

    The ren’youkei + ている (te iru) can also describe a habit. This function is more or less the same as the rentaikei’s function of stating a fact. There is only a slight difference in nuance.

    朝はいつもお茶を飲んでいます。
    Asa wa itsumo o-cha wo nonde imasu.
    I always drink tea in the morning.
    It’s a habit I have.

    朝はいつもお茶を飲みます。
    Asa wa itsumo o-cha wo nomimasu.
    I always drink tea in the morning. (It’s something I do.)

    In the spoken language ~ている (-te iru) is often abbreviated to ~てる (-teru).

    手紙を書いてる。
    Tegami wo kaiteru.
    手紙を書いてます。
    Tegami wo kaitemasu.

    Ren’youkei + ておく (te oku)

    The ren’youkei + ておく (te oku) means to do something and leave it that way, or to do something before the need arises.

    皿はテーブルに置いておいた。
    Sara wa mou teeburu ni oite oita.
    I put the dishes on the table (and left them there).

    手紙を書いておきます。
    Tegami wo kaite okimasu.
    In the meantime I will write the letter.

    In the spoken language ~ておく (-te oku) is often abbreviated to ~とく (-toku).

    手紙を書いとく。
    Tegami wo kaitoku.
    手紙を書いときます。
    Tegami wo kaitokimasu.

    Ren’youkei + てくださる (te kudasaru)

    The ren’youkei + てくださる (te kudasaru) is translated as someone doing something for you. 下さる (kudasaru) is an honorific verb, meaning to give to someone lower. This construction shows respect towards the person who is doing this for you.

    The ren’youkei + てください (te kudasai) is a polite request, and is normally translated as “please”.

    手紙を送ってくださいます。
    Tegami wo okutte kudasaimasu.
    She will mail the letter for me.

    手紙を送ってください。
    Tegami wo okutte kudasai.
    Please mail the letter for me.

    Ren’youkei + てくる (te kuru)

    The ren’youkei + てくる (te kuru) can mean “to do something and come back” or it can describe a process that “comes upon you”. Sometimes it can even simply describe the way you are coming.

    買い物をしてくる。
    Kaimono wo shite kuru.
    I’m going to go shopping (and come back afterwards).

    分かってきた。
    Wakatte kita.
    I’ve come to understand it. / I understand it now.

    歩いてくる。
    Aruite kuru.< br />He’s coming on foot.

    Ren’youkei + てくれる (te kureru)

    The ren’youkei + てくれる (te kureru) is translated as someone doing something for you. くれる (kureru), meaning to give to someone lower, is, unlike 下さる (kudasaru), not honorific. It is therefore only used in situations where there is no difference in level between you and the person who is doing this for you. For more information check the polite forms page.

    The ren’youkei + てくれ (te kure) is a request, but, unlike ren’youkei + てください (te kudasai), lacks any form of politeness. This form is preferably abbreviated to ren’youkei + て (te), even when using it among friends, because it sounds more friendly than ren’youkei + てくれ.

    手紙を送ってくれる。
    Tegami wo okutte kureru.
    She will mail the letter for me.

    手紙を送ってくれ。
    Tegami wo okutte kure.
    Mail the letter for me.

    手紙を送って。
    Tegami wo okutte.
    Mail the letter for me, will you?

    Ren’youkei + てしまう (te shimau)

    The ren’youkei + てしまう (te shimau) translates as “to do something completely”, but often has the connotation that you are not happy with the result.

    全部食べてしまった。
    Zenbu tabete shimatta.
    I ate everything (and now there’s nothing left / and now I have a stomachache).

    手紙を書いてしまいたい。
    Tegami wo kaite shimaitai.
    I want to finish writing the letter first.

    In the spoken language ~てしまう (-te shimau) is often abbreviated to ~ちゃう (-chau), and ~てしまった (-te shimatta) to ~ちゃった (-chatta).

    全部食べちゃった。
    Zenbu tabechatta.
    I ate everything (and now there’s nothing left / and now I have a stomachache).

    Ren’youkei + てない (te nai)

    See ren’youkei + ていない (te inai)

    Ren’youkei + てほしい (te hoshii)

    The ren’youkei + てほしい (te hoshii) is translated as “I want you to …”. This function is identical to ren’youkei + てもらいたい (te moraitai).

    帰ってほしい。
    Kaette hoshii.
    I want you to come home.

    Ren’youkei + てみる (te miru)

    The ren’youkei + てみる (te miru) is translated as “to try” or “to try something on for size”. Literally it translates as “to do something and see how it turns out”.

    ふぐを食べてみる。
    Fugu wo tabete miru.
    I’m going to try the blowfish.

    彼の日本語を聞いてみると・・・
    Kare no nihongo wo kiite miru to…
    You should hear his Japanese…

    Ren’youkei + てもらう (te morau)

    The ren’youkei + てもらう (te morau) is translated as someone doing something for you. 貰う (morau), meaning to receive from someone higher than yourself, is, unlike 頂く (itadaku), not humble. This construction shows gratitude but no respect for the person who has done this for you. It is therefore only used in situations where there is no difference in level between you and the person who is doing this for you. For more information check the polite forms page.

    手紙を送ってもらった。
    Tegami wo okutte moratta.
    She mailed the letter for me.

    The ren’youkei + てもらいたい (te moraitai) is translated as “I want you to …”. This function is identical to ren’youkei + てほしい (te hoshii).

    帰ってもらいたい。
    Kaette moraitai.
    I want you to come home.

    Ren’youkei + てやる (te yaru)

    The ren’youkei + てやる (te yaru) is translated as doing something for someone else. 遣る (yaru), meaning to give to someone higher than you, is, unlike 上げる (ageru), not humble. It is therefore only used in situations where there is no difference in level between you and the person who you are doing this for. For more information check the polite forms page.

    手紙を送ってやる。
    Tegami wo okutte yaru.
    I will mail the letter for you.

    Ren’youkei + na (な)
    The rentaikei + な (na) is an imperative form. In other words, you use this form to give orders.

    勉強しな。
    Benkyou shina.
    Study!

    食べな。
    Tabe na.
    Eat!

    This version works similar to ren’youkei + なさい (nasai), but, due to the lack of the honorific verb なさる (nasaru), it is more direct. The imperative can be softened a bit by adding the honorific お (o) prefix to the ren’youkei conjugation, or if it’s combined with a compound verb by adding it to the compound verb.

    お勉強しな。
    O-benkyō shina.
    Study!

    お食べな。
    O-tabe na.< br />Eat!

    Note: Be careful not to confuse “ren’youkei + な” with “rentaikei + な”.

    飲みな。
    Nomi na.
    Drink!

    飲むな。
    Nomu na.
    Don’t drink!

    Ren’youkei + nagara (ながら)

    The ren’youkei + ながら (nagara) describes two actions being performed simultaneously by the same person and is translated as “while”. With this form no contraction occurs, and it cannot be used with verbal adjectives.

    寝ながら本を読んでる。
    Nenagara hon wo yonderu.
    I’m reading a book while lying down.

    手紙を書きながらラジオを聞きます。
    Tegami wo kakinagara rajio wo kikimasu.
    I listen to the radio while writing a letter.

    Note: Both actions have to be performed by the same person.

    In some cases the ren’youkei + ながら (nagara) can also be translated as “though”:

    体に悪いと知りながらタバコをやめることはできない。

    Karada ni warui to shirinagara tabako wo yameru koto wa dekinai.
    Though I know it’s bad for the health, I can’t give up smoking.

    Ren’youkei + masu (ます)

    The ren’youkei + ます (masu) is the neutral polite form. This auxiliary verb can only be combined with verbs, not with verbal adjectives. Verbal adjectives are made polite by adding です (desu) to the rentaikei conjugation.

    The ren’youkei + ます (masu) is conjugated to create the past tense, the subjunctive form, and the negative form. This form can normally only be used for the main (or closing) verb. The only occasion where the ren’youkei + ます (masu) is as the main verb of the coordinate clause, or as the main verb of the quoted sentence in direct speech.

    明日、します。
    Ashita, shimasu.
    I’m going to buy it tomorrow.

    日本に行きますか。
    Nihon ni ikimasu ka.
    Are you going to Japan?

    The past tense is constructed by adding た (ta) to the i>ren’youkei conjugation of ます (masu).

    もうやりました。
    Mō yarimashita.
    I’ve already done it.

    The subjunctive form of ます (masu) is irregular. It is constructed as ましょう (mashou).

    始めましょう。 (Hajimemashou.)
    Let’s begin.

    The negative form is of ます (masu) is a leftover from Classical Japanese when the negative verb ぬ (nu) was added to the izenkei conjugation. The negative form is therefore ません (masen). To put the negative form in the past tense でした (deshita) is added after ません (masen).

    ガソリンスタンドで灯油を売りませんね。
    Gasorinsutando de touyu wo urimasen ne.
    They don’t sell kerosine at gasstations, do they?

    分かりませんでした。
    Wakarimasen deshita.
    I didn’t understand.
    CptGuapo likes this.

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  1. CptGuapo
    "Very informative article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 18, 2016
    Pros - Very detailed; well explained

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