Have you ever heard “potential verbs” in the Japanese language?
They show the possibility of a specific action.
Let’s check how to make them!
Here is a backstory…
I published the video about Japanese particles,
In this video, I explained which particle we should use in this sentence.
Nihongo __ hanashimasu.
After that, I received a question.
Nihongo ga hanasemasu.
But watch out!
They are different.
The verb “はなせます hanasemasu” is called a “Potential verb”
Japanese Potential Verbs
Potential verbs show the ability/possibility of the action.
はなす hanasu (dictionary form)
mean “talk, speak.”
This is a regular verb.
means “can speak, can talk.”
This verb shows the ability to talk/speak.
This type of verb is called a “potential verb.”
Potential verb or potential form?
Some textbooks may mention them as “potential forms,” as you can make them from regular verbs (I will explain it later).
But actually, they are different verbs, and they conjugate.
In fact, the Japanese language dictionaries for native Japanese people treat them as different verbs.
Here is one example. This is a popular Japanese dictionary for Japanese children.
How to make potential verbs
Let’s check how to make potential verbs!
**All the potential verbs are Group 2!**
I sound before “ます masu” changes to an e sound.
はなします hanashimasu: speak
はなせます hanasemasu: can speak
Insert “られ rare” before “ます masu.”
たべます tabemasu: eat
たべられます taberaremasu: can eat
They are irregular!
Just memorize them!
します shimasu: do
できます dekimasu: can do
きます kimasu: come
こられます koraremasu: can come
Are you familier with U-verb/Ru-verb?
**All the potential verbs are Ru-verb!**
Change the ending u sound into the e sound + る ru.
はなす hanasu: speak
はなせる hanaseru: can speak
Insert “られ rare” before “る ru”
たべる taberu: eat
たべられる taberareru: can eat
する suru: do
できる dekiru: can do
くる kuru: come
こられる korareru: can come
Now you are ready to use the Japanese Potential Verb! 😊