Japanese Verb List You Must Remember! (50 Verbs) : Hey, everyone! It’s time for another day of vocabulary expansion. Today, we have a list of 50 essential verbs that you simply cannot live without! We’ve ordered them alphabetically by English translation, so we recommend that you cover up the English side and memorize the Japanese. At the end, there will be a multiple choice quiz, so study hard and good luck! (The answers will be at the very bottom followed by an English translation.)

JLPT N4 Summary of Japanese Verb Conjugation forms | Learn Japanese online
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About the Japanese Verbs

While some of the translations are self-explanatory, be careful of a few of them. For example, the Japanese “to be” has two words: いる (iru) and ある (aru). いる is used for living things, and ある is used for non-living things. 

鳥がいる。
Tori ga iru. 
There is a bird.
携帯がある。
Keitai ga aru.
There is a cell phone.

Also, take note that the word “play” has two different meanings. 遊ぶ (asobu) is used for children playing or adults hanging out, and 弾く (hiku) is used for playing an instrument. Don’t confuse the two! 

Also, be aware that certain verbs have transitive and intransitive forms. For example, the word for “close” is both 閉める (shimeru) and 閉まる (shimaru). 閉める is a transitive verb, meaning it needs to take a direct object, and this is done by using the particle を (wo). 閉まる, on the other hand, is an intransitive verb, meaning it doesn’t take a direct object. In the below example, 閉める is used because someone is performing an action, and 閉まる is used because the sentence is stating a mere fact without anyone performing an action. 

彼は7時に店を閉める。
Kare wa shichi-ji ni mise wo shimeru.
He will close the shop at 7.
店は7時に閉まる。
Mise wa shichi-ji ni shimaru.
The shop closes at 7.

And, finally, the word 動く (ugoku) means “to move” in a general sense. It does NOT mean “to move to a different address.” That word is 引っ越す (hikkosu). Also, it’s common for Japanese people to use the word 会う when talking about meeting up with friends, family members, etc. 

私は友達と会いました。
Watashi wa tomodachi to aimashita.
I met up with my friends.

50 VERBS YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
1(get) angry怒るokoru
2arrive着くtsuku
3ask/hear聞くkiku
4be/exist (non-living / living)ある/いるaru / iru
5bake焼くyaku
6becomeなるnaru
7begin / be begun始める/始まるhajimeru / hajimaru
8bloom咲くsaku
9blow吹くfuku
10break / be broken壊す/壊れるkowasu / kowareru
11brush/polish磨くmigaku
12buy買うkau
13catch/pull引くhiku
14carry運ぶhakobu
15climb登るnoboru
16close / be closed閉める/閉まるshimeru / shimaru
17commute通うkayou
18fix / get fixed直す/直るnaosu / naoru
19cry泣くnaku
20cut切るkiru
21deceive騙すdamasu
22decorate飾るkazaru
23decrease / be decreased減らす/減るherasu / heru
24die死ぬshinu
25do one’s best頑張るganbaru
26drink飲むnomu
27finish / be finished終わる/終えるowaru / oeru
28enter入るhairu
29fly飛ぶtobu
30get on/ride乗るnoru
31go down下がるsagaru
32go up上がるagaru
33help (out)手伝うtetsudau
34invite誘うsasou
35know知るshiru / wakaru
36laugh笑うwarau
37learn習うnarau / manabu
38live (somewhere)住むsumu
39look for探すsagasu
40make作るtsukuru
41meet会うau
42move (somewhere)動くugoku
43open / be open開ける/開くakeru / aku
44pay払うharau
45play遊ぶasobu
46play (instrument)弾くhiku
47push押すosu
48read読むyomu
49receive貰うmorau
50return (home)帰るkaeru

Quiz

a)彼は私のスーツケースを______。Kare wa watashi no suutsu keesu wo _.

  1. 吹いたfuita
  2. 運んだhakonda
  3. 遊んだasonda

b)彼女は部屋に_。Kanojo wa heya ni .

  1. 入ったhaitta
  2. 払ったharatta
  3. 終わったowatta

c)キムさんは友達と.Kimu-san wa tomodachi to __.

  1. 切りますkirimasu
  2. なりますnarimasu
  3. 会いますaimasu.

d)トムは毎日ギターを______。Tomu wa mainichi gitaa wo _.

  1. 遊びますasobimasu
  2. 咲きますsakimasu
  3. 弾きますhikimasu

e)あの人は日本に_______。Ano hito wa Nihon ni _.

  1. 住んでいますsunde imasu
  2. 始めていますhajimete imasu
  3. 貰っていますmoratte imasu

f)あのドアが_______。Ano doa ga _.

  1. 磨いていますmigaite imasu.
  2. 開いていますaite imasu
  3. 開けていますakete imasu.

g)高橋さんは9時に仕事を_______。Takahashi-san wa ku-ji ni shigoto wo _.

  1. 手伝いますtetsudaimasu
  2. 終わりますowarimasu
  3. 終えますoemasu

h)ボビーはスーパーに_______。Bobii wa suupaa ni _.

  1. あるaru
  2. 笑うwarau
  3. いるiru

i)パーティーは7時半に_______。Paatii wa shichi-ji han ni _.

  1. 始まるhajimaru
  2. 始めるhajimeru
  3. 探すsagasu

j)窓が_______。Mado ga _.

  1. 習っていますnaratte imasu
  2. 壊れていますkowarete imasu
  3. 壊しますkowashimasu

Well, how did you do? Did you ace it? Did you miss a few? Even if you didn’t do well, there is always room for improvement. After all, we learn the most from our mistakes! Just go back, review your answers, see what you did wrong, and it will be a great learning experience! 

Happy studying!

Answers:

a). 2

b). 1

c). 3

d). 3

e). 1

f). 2

g). 2

h). 3

i). 1

j). 2

Answer translations:

a)He carried a suitcase.
b)She went into the room.
c)Kim will meet up with his friend.
d)Tom plays the guitar everyday.
e)That person lives in Japan.
f)That door is open.
g)Takahashi will finish his work at 9:00.
h)Bobby is at the supermarket.
i)The party will start at 7:30.
j)The window is broken.

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