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Lesson 28: Group 1 verbs, direct and indirect objects

Group 1 verbs

In Japanese, all verbs end in an u sound. Most verbs can be divided into two groups, called Group 1 and Group 2. In this lesson we will focus on Group 1 verbs and in the next lesson we will look at Group 2 verbs.

In the table below you can see four verbs from Group 1, both in the form in which you will find them in the dictionary, and in their more polite long form. You will learn all verbs in their dictionary form first, since this will help you later on when you need to conjugate them in different ways. However, while making sentences we will start by using the long form, because you can more safely use neutral speech in a wide variety of circumstances.

As you can see, converting verbs in Group 1 into the long form is easy and consists of two steps:

  1. Replace the ending u sound with an i sound to obtain the stem.
  2. Add ます to the end.
English Dictionary form (casual) Stem Long form (neutral/formal)
to buy

to drink

to enter はい
to meet, to see


The verbs in the table above are in the non-past tense. They refer to habitual actions or to actions that will happen in the future. You can compare this to a combination of the present simple and the future tense in English. Soon after this, you will learn about the past tense. Later in this course you will learn the progressive tense to talk about things that are happening right now, comparable to the English present continuous.

Direct and indirect objects

The verbs and go together with a direct object, whereas はい and go together with an indirect object. Direct objects are often directly affected by an action in the sense that the action is performed on the direct object. Indirect objects are less directly affected, and there is often a sense of movement toward the indirect object.

Direct objects are often followed by the direct object particle , whereas indirect objects are often followed by the indirect object particle . The particle is pronounced as o.

English Japanese
I will buy a car. くるまいます。
kuruma wo kaimasu.
I will drink water. みずみます。
mizu wo nomimasu.
I will enter the river. かわはいります。
kawa ni hairimasu.
I will meet you tomorrow. したあなたにいます。
asita anata ni aimasu.
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