Verb Confusion - Reviews Don't Clarify Type Of Verb

How am I supposed to determine that this is a うverb based on the part before the arrow? I’m tying to learn vocab and grammar in parallel, so I don’t have the base form for a lot of the verb examples learned yet.

会わない → 会いません 。
(casual to formal)

If I’m understanding your question correctly, う always translates to negative form as わない, so if you see something spelt ~わない then you know the verb in its plain form is ~う.
Have a look at this video that explains verb conjugation really simply:

Part of my issue is that る verbs can have other hiragana before the る (such as in 食べる) and those persist in negative conjugations ( 食べ ない). Can I assume that if a hiragana exists between the kanji and ない that ends in the a sound, that it’s an う verb? The “う verb” grammar point seems to cover all non-る verbs that end in u, not just う, I’m assuming because る appears to be the only one that loses the r. But the chart in the above video suggests that る verbs should end up with ら in their negative conjugation, which isn’t the case in the る verb grammar point. After reading up on this further, I think I need to find a good source that explains how to tell the difference between う, る, and irregular verbs.

OK so firstly, all verbs end in an ‘u’ sound.

Secondly, if there is a hiragana before the final hiragana (like the example you gave of 食べる) it is totally irrelevant to the way you conjugate, so don’t worry about that at this stage. For now, only look at the final kana.

We group verbs into three categories:

Group 1
This covers most verbs you will encounter and corresponds to the video I posted above. You take the final ‘u’ sound and replace it with ‘anai’
Here are some examples:
む→まない (to drink)
およぐ→およがない (to swim)
あそぶ→あそばない (to play)
く→かない (to write)
はなす→はなさない (to speak)

Group 2
All group 2 verbs end in る. They all either end in ~eru or ~iru.
The rule for these verbs is simple - just remove the るand add ない.
The tricky part is working out which these verbs are. As I said, if they end in an ~eru or ~iru sound, they are most likely group 2 verbs.
Here are some examples:
る→ない (to see)
べる→べない (to eat)
ける→けない (to hang)
こえる→こえない (to be able to hear)
る→ない (to acquire)

However, there are some exceptions and unfortunately these are ones you just have to learn. As in, verbs that end in ~eru or ~iru but are in fact group 1. You’ll be surprised how quickly these exceptions come naturally to you though.
Here are some examples:
かえる→かえらない (to return)
すべる→すべらない (to slip/slide)
はいる→はいらない (to enter)
る→らない (to know)

Group 3
These are 3 exceptions that you just have to learn separately:
する→しない (to do)
る→ない (to come)
ある→ない (to be - only for non-living things)

Hope this helps!


Thanks!! That helps straighten things out.


Oh I’m glad you understood. I tried to make it as simple as I could but unfortunately when learning rules with a lot of exceptions like this it’s not always particularly straightforward :joy:


That is actually one of the best る/う verb rule descriptions I’ve seen. Thanks!


That helps a bit. In the lessons the explanations don’t really seem to explain it well and have me wondering how I’m supposed to know the rule.