Speaking Lesson 8: How to Ask Questions in Japanese Part 1

In this tutorial, I am going to teach you how to ask questions in Japanese. Japanese questions are easy to form. For example, you just add ka at the end of the verb as in the following examples.

Tabemasu ka?

Tabemashita ka?

The first question literally means “Eat?” asks the question if somebody is eating or somebody want to eat. The second question is a past tense which has “Did you eat?” or “Have you eaten?”.

There are also question words such as nani (what), doko (where) and itsu (when). Read the following Sample conversation between Peter san and Yamada san.

Peter San: Konnichiwa. Doko e ikimasu ka? Hi. Where are you going?

こんにちは。どこへいきますか。

Yamada San: Kissaten e ikamasu. I am going to the coffee shop.

きっさてんへいきます。 Continue reading

Speaking Lesson 7: How to Use Desu in a Sentence

In English the equivalent of desu are the verbs is/are/am.  Recall in Introducing Yourself in Japanese post how Peter introduced himself.

Hajimemashite. How do you do? . 

はじめまして。

Watashi wa Peter desu. I am Peter. わたしはペーターです

Watashi no kuni wa Amerika desu. My country is America. わたしのくにはアメリカです

Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. I hope we do well together. どうぞよろしくおねがいします。

In the first and third sentence, desu is used as “am.” In the third sentence it is used as “is.”

Continue reading

Lesson 6: How to Use the Shimasu Verb

In this post I am going to introduce you to one of the important verbs, the  shimasu verb which means “to do.”  Shimasu is very convenient because if you don’t know the Japanese of a word, sometimes you can just say the English word and add shimasu. For instance, to say copy you can say, copy-o-shimasu and many Japanese will understand it.

Shimasu is also usually combined with words foreign to the Japanese as in examples 3-5 below. The tenisu (tennis), jogginggu (jogging), and paatii (party) are foreign words, so shimasu is used.

The dictionary form of this verb is suru. Its masu tenses are shimasu (present-positive), shimasen (present-negative), shimashita (past-positive) and shimasen deshita (past-negative).

Sample Sentences

1. Ashita, kaimono o shimasu. Tomorrow, I will go shopping.

「あしたかいものをします。」 Continue reading

Masu Form of Verb: A Summary

You might be wondering why in all the lessons that we had, the verbs always end in masu. Well, it does not always. This is only one form of the verb, its  base form or  polite form. In Japan, the set of words used for a person of a higher status (senior or superior) is different from the words used for persons of equal or lower status (junior or inferior). For example, you can use the words iku (to go) for juniors, but you must use ikimasu for seniors. The word iku is the dictionary form or plain form of ikimasu.

To a Senior: Ashita Tokyo ni ikimasu. 「あしたとうきょうにいきます。」

To a Junior: Ashita Tokyo ni iku.「あしたとこようにいく。」 Continue reading