Japanese verbs are completely different from English verbs. They can be conjugated into several different forms, each one expressing something different. You can state a lot of information just by saying one verb. You can say I want to eat in Japanese with just one verb.
The Japanese verbs (doushi) are divided into 3 different groups.
godan (五段) - These verbs all end in u
ichidan (一段) - These verbs end in the sound eru or iru
irregular - These verbs have their own rules
There are also verbs that end in the sound iru or eru but are still u ending verbs and there is no way to tell them apart other than memorizing them.
Taberu (食べる) means eat. Remember, you can express a whole sentence with just one verb. Pronouns are removed in sentences where its already understood by the context.
In Japanese there is no separate verb for future tense. This form of verb is used to show both do something or will do something. How you tell which meaning someone is trying to say depends on the context.
I eat = ore wa taberu (俺は食べる)
Tomorrow, (I will) eat = ashita, taberu (明日、食べる)
Itadakimasu (いただきます) is a phrase that is said before you eat. It's purpose is to give thanks to the person who cooked the meal for you. You can also say this to yourself. It is said before you eat the food that's in front of you.
Parents generally encourage their children to say this while growing up, though it is not a phrase that everyone says every time. If you are eating at a Japanese person's house as a guest, you should say this as it would be rude not to say this.
Gochisousama (ごちそうさま) is a phrase that is said after you finished eating. It's a way to thank the person who made the food for you, but you can also say it to yourself. People also say this when they are exiting a restaurant. This lets the cooks know that you had enjoyed the meal.
The word gochisou means feast or a nice meal.
Today is good meal = kyou wa gochisou desu (今日はご馳走です)
In situations where you need to be polite you can use the polite form of this phrase gochisousama deshita (ごちそうさまでした).
Nomu (飲む) means drink. The same rules apply to this verb as they do every other verb, it can mean either drink or will drink depending on the context.
John will drink = jon-san wa nomu (ジョンさんは飲む)
Today we will drink = kyou, watashitachi wa nomu
It is very important to remember that this form of verb does not mean that you are currently doing something. We will learn how to say that in another lesson.
Kanpai (乾杯) is a word that means cheers in Japanese. It is used the exact same way as the English phrase and gesture is used.
The negative form
To express doesn't or will not you need to convert the verb into the negative form. If a verb is an ichidan verb (ends in eru or iru) you drop the final ru and add nai to make it negative.
If the verb is a godan verb (ends in u sound) you change the final kana that has a u sound so that it has an a sound and add nai. This means if the last kana is mu, you change mu to ma and add nai.
Verbs that end in the u (う) kana have a different rule. You change u (う) to wa (わ) and then add nai.
I don't eat = watashi wa tabenai (私は食べない)
Cats don't drink = neko wa nomanai (ネコは飲まない)
In other lessons we will cover more information on adjectives, in this lesson we will show you two basic adjectives that you can use to describe food or drinks.
Delicious = oishii (美味しい)
Gross = mazui (まずい)