Hey Guys, It’s time to dive back into some more Japanese verb conjugation. This time we are looking at “Masu” form tenses which will carry over perfectly from the last lesson. If you remember, in the last online Japanese lesson, we looked at conjugating a plain form verb into the more polite “Masu” form. So now we are going to learn how to conjugate “Masu” form verbs into 3 different tenses.

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Conjugating the Masu form into the past tense

So firstly what we are going to do establish the tenses we are going to change the plain masu form into. Let’s take for example Tabemasu, we are going to learn how to take “To Eat” and change that into the negative, past and past negative tenses. This would equate to; won’t eat, ate and to not eat.

So as you can see these three Japanese verb conjugations of the masu form are really going to help your Japanese progress to the next level for expressing actions in time.

First we are going to look at the Past tense.

To conjugate a Masu form Verb into the past we have to turn Masu ます into Mashita ました

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More Japanese verb on Youtube

Lets look at some examples for this specific Japanese verb conjugation.

To EatTabemasuたべますAteTabemashitaたべました
To BorrowKarimasuかりますBorrowedKarimashitaかりました
To DoShimasuしますDidShimashitaしました
To ComeKimasuきますCameKimashitaきました
To DieShinimasuしにますDiedShinimashitaしにました

Conjugating the Masu form into the negative tense

So as you can see it is pretty easily done. Now lets take a look at conjugating a plain Masu form verb into the negative. To do this we have to turn Masu ます into Masen ません。

Lets now have a look at the next table of verbs in order to understand this in more detail

To Eat TabemasuたべますTo not EatTabemasenたべません
To BorrowKarimasuかりますTo not BorrowKarimasenかりません
To DoShimasuしますTo not doShimasenしません
To ComeKimasuきますTo not ComeKimasenきません
To DieShinimasuしにますTo not DieShinimasenしにません

So this table above shows the negative masu verb form. You can use this to poliently express something you will not do. It really is a simple Japanese verb conjugation.

The last conjugation we are going to learn is the past negative form. This is to express “Did not do”. To do this we have to turn Masu ます into Masen deshita ませんでした。

Lets take a look at the final table to see how we can accomplish this.


Conjugating the Masu form into the past negative tense

EnglishRomajiJapaneseEnglishRomajiJapanese(Past Negative)
To Eat TabemasuたべますDid not EatTabemasen deshitaたべませんでした
To BorrowKarimasuかりますDid not BorrowKarimasen deshitaかりませんでした
To DoShimasuしますDid not doShimasen deshitaしませんでした
To ComeKimasuきますDid not ComeKimasen deshitaきませんでした
To DieShinimasuしにますDid not DieShinimasen deshitaしにませんでした

So now you know how to conjugate Masu form verbs into the past, negative and past negative tenses, well done!

How can I practice these conjugation effectively?

We would suggest writing sentences to practice all of these different verb tenses to ensure they stick so you can use them easily in your continuing Japanese study and communication.

For example write a sentence such as りんごをたべます eat an apple, then try to conjugate the sentence into the past, negative and past negative.

  • りんごをたべました  ate an apple
  • りんごをたべません I will not eat an apple
  • りんごをたべませんでした I did not eat an apple

This technique of writing short basic sentences and conjugating them one by one is by far the most effective way to learn and master the masu form verb conjugations.

Japanese verb conjugations are the foundation for your ongoing progress with Japanese learning, to master the Japanese verb conjugation is to build the foundation for success so ensure that you practice this until you can conjugate in your sleep.

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So … What’s next?

As you have probably gathered, conjugating masu form verbs are extremely easy to do. However conjugating plain form verbs is a completely different story. It is much harder and will take a lot of practice. In the next online Japanese lesson we are going to tackle this subject and ensure that you are able to conjugate both masu form verbs as well as plain form verbs.

We hope you enjoyed today’s online Japanse lesson on verb conjugation, see you in part 3!



Verb Basics Part 1 – Verb Groups & the Masu Form
Japanese verb conjugation chart
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