Japanese Auxiliary Verbs Made Easy For Beginners

Written byIchika Yamamoto

Definition: All auxiliary verbs in Japanese attach to a verbal or adjectival stem form and conjugate as verbs, the auxiliars verbs are different to normal verbs in having no independent meaning as a normal verb. In modern Japanese there are two distinct classes of auxiliary verbs.

Pure auxiliaries - 助動詞 - jodōshiThese auxiliaries Verbs cannot possibly function as an independent verb.

ます (masu)書く (kaku, to write) → 書きます(kakimasu)
られる(rareru)見る (miru, to see) → 見られる (mirareru, to be able to see) 増える (fueru, to increae) → 増えられる (fuerareru, to have the ability to increase)
る (ru)飲む (nomu, to drink/swallow) → 飲める (nomeru, to be able to drink)
させる (saseru)考える (kangaeru, to think) → 考えさせる (kangaesaseru, to cause to think)
せる (seru)思い知る (omoishiru, to realize) → 思い知らせる (omoishiraseru, to cause to realize/to teach a lesson)

Helper auxiliaries - 補助動詞 - hododōshi

These are normal verbs that lose their independent meaning when used as auxiliaries.

ある (aru, to be (inanimate))開く (aku, to open) → 開いてある (aite-aru, opened and is still open)
いる (iru, to be(animate))寝る (neru, to sleep) → 寝ている (nete-iru, is sleeping)
いく (iku, to go)歩く (aruku, to walk) → 歩いていく (aruite-iku, keep walking)
くる (kuru, to come)なる (naru, become) → なってくる (natte-kuru, start becoming)
始める (hajimeru, to begin)書く (kaku, to write) → 書き始める (kaki-hajimeru, start to write)
出す (dasu, to emit)輝く (kagayaku, to shine) → 輝き出す (kagayaki-dasu, to start shining)
みる (miru, to see)する (suru, do) → してみたい (shite-mitai, try to do)
なおす (naosu, to correct/heal)書く (kaku, to write) → 書きなおす (kaki-naosu, rewrite)
あがる (agaru, to rise)

立つ (tatsu, to stand) → 立ち上がる (tachi-agaru, stand up) 出来る (dekiru, to come out) → 出来上がる (deki-agaru, be completed)

得る (eru/uru, to be able)ある (aru, to be) → あり得る (arieru, is possible)
かかる (kakaru, to hang/catch/obtain)溺れる (oboreru, drown) → 溺れかかる (obore-kakaru, about to drown)
きる (kiru, to cut)食べる (taberu, to eat) → 食べきる (tabe-kiru, to eat it all)
消す (kesu, to erase)揉む (momu, to rub) → 揉み消す (momi-kesu, to rub out, to extinguish)
込む (komu, to enter deeply/plunge)話す (hanasu, to speak) → 話し込む (hanashi-komu, to be deep in conversation)
下げる (sageru, to lower)引く (hiku, to pull) → 引き下げる (hiki-sageru, to pull down)
過ぎる (sugiru, to exceed)言う (iu, to say) → 言いすぎる (ii-sugiru, to say too much, to overstate)
付ける (tsukeru, to attach)行く (iku, to go) → 行き付ける (iki-tsukeru, be used to (going))
続ける (tsuzukeru, to continue)降る (furu, to fall (eg. rain)) → 降り続ける (furi-tsuzukeru, to keep falling)
通す (tōsu, to show/thread/lead)読む (yomu, to read) → 読み通す (yomi-tōsu, to finish reading)
抜ける (nukeru, to shed/spill/desert)走る (hashiru, to run) → 走り抜ける (hashiri-nukeru, to run through (swh))
残す (nokosu, to leave behind)思う (omou, to think) → 思い残す (omoi-nokosu, to regret (lit: to have sth left to think about))
残る (nokoru, to be left behind)生きる (ikiru, live) → 生き残る (iki-nokoru, to survive (lit: to be left alive))
分ける (wakeru, to divide/split/classify)使う (tsukau, use) → 使い分ける (tsukai-wakeru, to indicate the proper way to use)
忘れる (wasureru, to forget)聞く (kiku, to ask) → 聞き忘れる (kiki-wasureru, to forget to ask)
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