Daily Japanese Dive

DJD #1 – Potential Verbs

Potential Verbs

Potential verbs are very important when you go to Japan, so you can ask certain questions like, “Can you speak English?” and be able to respond to, “Can you speak Japanese?” With this lesson you’ll be able to say, “Yes, I can ….” and many other things. Let’s dive into today’s Japanese!


1. Potential Conjugation: -える & -られる

There are two types of verbs in Japanese: ru-verbs and -u verbs. The type of verb you’re conjugating will determine how to conjugate it. For -ru verbs the word will drop the final -ru and replace it with -rareru. For -u verbs, the word will drop the final -u and replace it with -eru. The two exceptions to this rule that I know so far are the irregular verbs: くる & する. くる becomes こられる, and する becomes できる.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s practice -u verbs.

はなす/話す → はなせる/話せる = to lend
いく/行く → いける/行ける = to go
つかう/使う → つかえる/使える = to use
よむ/読む → よめる/読める = to read
やくそくをまもる/約束を守る → やくそくをまもれる/約束を守れる = to keep a promise

Now let’s practice -ru verbs
みる/見る → みられる/見られる = to see
なれる/慣れる → なれられる/慣れられる = to get used to
みせる/見せる → みせられる/見せられる = to show
あきらめる → あきらめられる = to give up
こたえる/答える → こたえられる/答えられる = to answer  

2. Sentence Example

I will pick a few verbs to use in sentences.

-u verbs
Can you read Japanese? = 日本語が読める?
I can read a little. = 少し日本語が読めます。

Can you keep a promise? = 約束を守れますか?
Yes, I can keep a promise. = はい、約束を守れます。

-ru verbs
Can you answer in Japanese? = 日本語で答えられますか?
Yes, I can answer in Japanese! = はい、日本語で答えられます!

Can you give up studying Japanese? = 日本語の勉強をあきらめられますか?
No, I cannot! = いいえ、あきらめられません!



かす → kasu = to lend
いく/行く → iku = to go
つかう/使う → tsukau = to knit
よむ/読む → yomu = to read
やくそくをまもる/約束を守る → yakusoku wo mamoru = to keep a promise
みる/見る → miru = to see
なれる/慣れる → nareru = to get used to
みせる/見せる → miseru = to show
あきらめる → akirameru = to give up
こたえる/答える → kotaeru = to answer

1. Conclusion

Wow! That seems like a lot of studying! I know that by writing out what I’m studying it really helps me to remember it, so this was a great way to study today. The words are wrote in hiragana and Kanji for you on this lesson – If you don’t know hiragana yet let me know and Taka and I will think of a way to teach it. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care,

Japanese Aquarium Co-owner


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