Module 12.1 – my diary entry – Plain Form

So far we were looking at sentences ending in -ます or -です (and their negative and/or past form), which we call the “polite form.” We use that form when we talk politely. However, we also use the “plain form” and we use it a lot. Of course as -ます changed to ました, ません and ませんでした, the plain form also has its past, negative and negative past equivalent. The very basic plain form, the plain non-past affirmative form is also called the “dictionary form” as that is the form verbs get listed in Japanese dictionaries.

So this lesson is the introduction of the dictionary form.


All polite form verbs end in -ます in the polite form. So the following video explain how a -ます ending verb changes to its dictionary form.

Summary of the video

Japanese verbs can be divided into 3 groups. (We talked about this in Lesson 10 at the introduction of the てform.) They are:

  • irregular
    • します (to do) =>する
    • きます (to come) =>くる
    • いきます( to go) =>いく
    • あります (to exist, to have) =>ある
  • 1-dan
    • -ます => -る
      • たべます (to eat) =>たべる
      • みます (to see, to watch) =>みる
  • 5-dan
    • -iます=> -u.
      • あいます (to meet, to see) =>あう
      • ききます (to listen to, to hear) =>きく
      • いそぎます (to hurry) =>いそぐ
      • かします (to lend, to let) =>かす
      • まちます (to wait) =>まつ
      • しにます (to die) =>しぬ
      • あそびます (to play, to have a good time) =>あそぶ
      • よみます (to read) =>よむ
      • とります (to take) =>とる

When the sentence ends in -です

-です ending follows a noun, a なadjective or an いadjective. -です sentences can be changed to a plain non-past affirmative form. This is how.

  • noun + です => -だ
    • わたしは きょうし です。=> わたしは きょうし だ。
    • あには いしゃ です。=> あには いしゃ だ。
  • なadjective + です => -だ
    • わたしは しずか です。=> わたしは しずか だ。
    • あには げんき です。=> あには げんき だ。
  • いadjective + です => いadjective。(We do not put anything after the いadjective.)
    • すしは おいしい です。=> すしは おいしい。
    • いもうとは かわいい です。=> いもうとは かわいい。
Course: JLPT N5