In this new ebook we list over 1300 verbs that are on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) based on the structure of the verb. Since Japanese verbs change structure at the end of the word, this handbook serves as a reverse-lookup dictionary.
Since most student wordlists are ordered either by frequency or alphabetically, this makes it more of a challenge on the student to draw conclusions from words that share the same structure, and therefore similar grammatical and syntactic structures.
This handbook is intended for the beginner or intermediate student who is actively increasing vocabulary and learning when, where, and how Kanji fit into the verb structure. Since conjugation is a beginner level task and already heavily covered in most publications, this handbook ignores individual verb conjugation.
Why would we want to use a verb list like this? There are several reasons:
- The Kanji associated with them are easier to learn. Since we have already grouped Kanji according to how many syllables are in them, you can start with the smallest group and learn those first. You can use any learning method you prefer, such as putting them into a flashcard or other spaced repetition program.
- A lot of verbs have pairs with slightly different endings (for example intransitive and transitive verbs). With the lists here you can compare verbs with the same endings and the kinds of meanings they carry. We've also included a list of Kanji with multiple entries at the end of this book which shows whether a verb is intransitive or transitive (where applicable).
For example, in English a verb like "pile" can be either transitive or intransitive, meaning that it can either take an object or not: 1) the snow is piling up on the side of the house > snow (topic) + piling (verb); 2) I'm piling books up in the corner of the room > piling (v) + books (obj). In this example, the verb would most often be a reflexive verb in most European languages. However, since our verbs in English don't change, we rarely ever think of any difference existing here at all (unless it's an active/passive pair which also happens to fall into this dichotomy in Japanese). English sometimes does have pairs: something "falls" (by itself) vs. to "drop" something, or the pairs lay/lie and raise/rise. So if you've never noticed a difference, this is something you have to start training yourself to think about. Every time you see a motion, try to think of whether the action is happening on its own or whether it has an agent (subject) conducting the action.
Learn not only the verb appropriate to the action, but also the particles that connect with the verb. If を appears before the verb, it's definitely transitive. So if you're encountering a verb for the first time that follows を, pay attention to the structure of the verb and what vowel appears in the penultimate syllable of the verb (like 纏まる vs 纏める). Make a mental note to connect that を with the め in this particular verb 纏める. Likewise, in sentences that use が, make a mental note to connect it with the ま, again specific to the verb 纏まる in this example.
If you've worked with Japanese conjugation, you may have learned the "causative" before, which in a lot of cases can change an intransitive verb into a transitive verb. For example, 高まる means "(something-が) rises" which is intransitive, and 高める means "to raise (something-を)" which is transitive. The causative of 高まる is 高まらせる which would be to cause something to rise, and therefore is now transitive. There are quite a few verbs in our list that are actually causative counterparts of another verb.
Here is the table of contents of the book:
0 KANJI SECTION (e.g. こぼす to spill)
This section is made up of verbs that have no leading Kanji character and splits up verbs according to the length of the word (by syllable length).
1 KANJI SECTION
These verbs all begin with 1 Kanji character. The sections are split up by how many syllables are in the Kanji character itself.
The okurigana refers to the number of trailing hiragana characters behind the leading Kanji character. In some cases, the single leading Kanji character is preceded by two hiragana characters (e.g. やっつける (やっ付ける) to beat). These are put into their own sections.
1 KANJI + 1 OKURIGANA
1 あう (会う) to meet: 会 = あ
2 おおう (覆う) to cover: 覆 = おお
3 うるおう (潤う) to be moist: 潤 = うるお
1 KANJI + 2 OKURIGANA
1 むかう (向かう) to face: 向 = む
2 そこなう (損なう) to harm: 損 = そこ
3 おどろかす (驚かす) to surprise: 驚 = おどろ
1 KANJI + 3 OKURIGANA
1 はじらう (恥じらう) to feel shy: 恥 = は
2 あまやかす (甘やかす) to spoil: 甘 = あま
1 KANJI + 4 OKURIGANA
1 あてはめる (当てはめる) to adapt: 当 = あ
1 KANJI + 5 OKURIGANA
1 みせびらかす (見せびらかす) to show off: 見 = み
2 KANJI SECTION
These verbs all begin with 2 Kanji characters with at least 2 syllables or more. Each Kanji character in a group may not have the same number of syllables associated with them.
2 KANJI + 1 OKURIGANA
2 であう (出会う) to meet by chance: 出会 = であ
3 つきあう (付合う) to associate with: 付合 = つきあ
4 ひきかえす (引返す) to send back: 引返 = ひきかえ
2 KANJI + 2 OKURIGANA
2 みおとす (見落とす) to overlook: 見落 = みお
3 でむかえる (出迎える) to meet: 出迎 = でむか
4 こころがける (心掛ける) to bear in mind: 心掛 = こころが
5 にゅういんする (入院する) to hospitalise: 入院 = にゅういん (Chinese loan)
2 KANJI + 3 OKURIGANA
2 みあわせる (見合わせる) to exchange glances: 見合 = みあ
2 KANJI COMPOUNDS + 1 OKURIGANA
3 つきあう (付き合う) to associate with: 付き合 = つきあ
4 はなしあう (話し合う) to discuss: 話し合 = はなしあ
5 とりあつかう (取り扱う) to treat: 取り扱 = とりあつか
2 KANJI COMPOUNDS + 2 OKURIGANA
3 ひきおこす (引き起こす) to cause: 引き起 = ひきお
4 さしつかえる (差し支える) to interfere: 差し支 = さしつか
2 KANJI COMPOUNDS + 3 OKURIGANA
3 うちあわせる (打ち合わせる) to knock together: 打ち合 = うちあ
3 KANJI SECTION
3 KANJI + 1 OKURIGANA
3 ごまかす (誤魔化す) to deceive: 誤魔化 = ごまか
3 KANJI + 2 OKURIGANA
3 できあがる (出来上がる) to be finished: 出来上 = できあ
3 KANJI COMPOUNDS + 1 OKURIGANA
6 ひっくりかえす (引っ繰り返す) to turn over: 引っ繰り返 = ひっくりかえ
Verbs ending in -a-u
- おぎなう (補う) to compensate for
- ひきだす (引出す) to pull out
Verbs ending in -i-u
- うちきる (打ち切る) to stop
- かえりみる (省みる) to reflect
Verbs ending in -u-u
- つぐ (次ぐ) to come after
- つくる (造る) to create
Verbs ending in -e-u
- とりけす (取り消す) to cancel
- きりかえる (切り替える) to exchange, convert
Verbs ending in -o-u
- とく (解く) to unfasten, solve
- おとす (落とす) to let fall
KANJI WITH MULTIPLE ENTRIES
- 割り込む (わりこむ) vt
- 割る (わる) vt
- 割れる (われる) vi
VERBS ENDING IN SPECIFIC COMPOUNDS
- さしかかる (差し掛かる)
- ひっかかる (引っ掛かる)
- よりかかる (寄り掛かる)
- おいかける (追い掛ける)