Negative Form of Japanese Verbs and ない-Form

To study this grammar point, please make sure you understand the following:

In English, you may simply use the word not to negate the meaning of a verb. But in Japanese, it is done by modifying the suffix of the verb.

Negative Plain Form of Japanese Verbs

To derive the negative plain form, you need to identify the ない-stem of the verb by identifying if it is a う-verb, る-verb, or an irregular verb.

ない-Stem of a Japanese Verb

  • る-verb: Remove る to get the stem
  • う-verb: If the last kana is う, change it to わ; Otherwise change the last kana from う-column (the 3rd column) to あ-column (the 1st column)
  • する-verb: The stem is し
  • くる-verb: The stem is こ

The negative plain form of a verb is to add ない at the end of the ない-stem.

There is one exception for the verb ある (to exist).

The negative plain form of the verb ある is simply ない.

Examples (more)

Plain Form ない-Stem Negative Plain Form
る-verbs 食べる 食べ 食べない
いる いない
起きる 起き 起きない
寝る 寝ない
う-verbs 行く 行か 行かない
飲む 飲ま 飲まない
書く 書か 書かない
買う 買わ 買わない
する-verb する しない
くる-verb 来る(くる) 来(こ) 来ない(こない)
Exception ある ない

Negative Polite Form of Japanese Verbs

See polite form of Japanese verbs.

Related Grammar Points