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Masu form : Check out the Japanese formal speech style

Written by Kaori sensei

In JapanIn Japanese, people speak politely using “desu” and “masu” when meeting someone for the first time or when speaking to a superior. In particular, verbs are spoken using the ” Masu form”.In contrast, the masu form is not used, then Dictionary form and Negative form are spoken in informal situations.

Today, I will introduce the negative of Masu form and the past tense.In addition, here are some expressions based on Masu form.

Masu form conjugation

See the table below. First, the horizontal is divided into past tense and non-past. Then, vertically, it is divided into affirmative and negative tenses.

Masu form conjugation
Masu form conjugation

Unlike other conjugated forms, there is no difference by verb group.

PAST AffirmativePAST Negative
get upおきます
oki masu
oki mashita
oki masendeshita
tabe masu
tabe masshita
tabe masendeshita
nomi masu
nomi mashita
nomi masendeshita
mi masu
mi mashita
mi masendeshita
asobi masu
asobi mashita
asobi masendeshita
iki masu
iki mashita
iki masendeshita

go to sleep
ne masu
ne mashita
ne masendeshita
Masu form conjugation

Masu form expressions for beginners

Masu form is often used alone, but it is sometimes used in conjunction with The form that is removed “Masu”.

1. ~たい (want to)

: Talk about your desires.

来年(らいねん)、日本 へ いきたい です。

I want to go to Japan next year.

*いきます → いきたい

2. ~に 行(い)きます ( go to ~ )

: Talk about the purpose of the destination

渋谷(しぶや) へ 本(ほん) を 買(か)い に 行(い)きます。

I will go to Shibuya to buy the book.

*かいます → かい に いきます

3. ~ませんか (would like to ~?)

: To invite, suggest someone

明日(あした)、映画(えいが) を 見(み)ませんか?

Would you like to go to watch the movie?

*みます → み ませんか

4. ~ましょう (let’s~)

: Actively solicits

さあ、食(た) べましょう!

Now, let’s eat.

*たべます → たべ ましょう

5. ~ましょうか (shall I ~? )

: To offer something for other party


Shall I help you?

*てつだいます → てつだい ましょうか

6. ~かた (how to )

: talk about the method and process

切符(きっぷ) の 買(か)い 方(かた) を おしえてください。

Please teach me how to buy the ticket.

*かいます → かい かた

More about Japanese verbs

Additionlaly,if you want to master Japanese verbs, this is the book for you. Verbs are very important in any language. Let’s master them and learn to speak them!

600 Basic Japanese Verbs

Please check other verb conjugation, Dictionary form and Negative form. These are also verb conjugations to be mastered at the beginner level! Check them out.

About the author

Kaori sensei

Japanese online teacher, live in Kamakura, Japan. She is currently working as a language teacher and online Japanese experience host to introduce Japanese culture to the world. She originally worked as an engineer at a Japanese company, so she is familiar with Japanese business culture too.

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