Japanese Language and Culture

Potential

Production Rules:

Rule Meaning
Infinitive (Plain Nonpast Indicative) Ichidan: [root] + られる
[root] + rareru
Godan: [え-stem] + る
[e-stem] + ru
be able to [do]; can [do]

Inflection Examples:

Infinitive (Plain Nonpast Indicative)
食べる
taberu (to eat)
食べられる
taberareru
話す
hanasu (to speak)
話せる
hanaseru
歩く
aruku (to walk)
歩ける
arukeru
泳ぐ
oyogu (to swim)
泳げる
oyogeru
呼ぶ
yobu (to call)
呼べる
yoberu
飲む
nomu (to drink)
飲める
nomeru
死ぬ
shinu (to die)
死ねる
shineru
作る
tsukuru (to make)
作れる
tsukureru
待つ
matsu (to wait)
待てる
materu
洗う
arau (to wash)
洗える
araeru

Irregulars:

Infinitive (Plain Nonpast Indicative)
する
suru
(to do)
できる *
dekiru
くる
kuru
(to come)
来られる
korareru

* Note the change to a different verb.

Usage Notes & Examples:

  1. Conjugating to the potential form results in the creation of a new ichidan verb (even if the starting verb was godan). This resulting verb can be conjugated to give negatives, past tenses, presumptives, provisionals, polite forms, etc., just as any other ichidan verb. Of course, you must be careful, as there are conjugations that wouldn't make logical sense for a verb in the potential form.
  2. There is a colloquial form of the potential for ichidan verbs only whose rule is [root] + reru. For "taberu", this would result in "tabereru".

Copyright © 2010-2011 Collin McCulley. All Rights Reserved.

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