The Te form
In Japanese the te form is a well known form of a verb that gets its name from the fact that when you change a verb into this form most of the time it ends in te (sometimes de). This form of verb has multiple uses but in this lesson we will show you two of them.
To conjugate a ichidan verb (ends with eru or iru sound) you drop the final ru and add te (て).
Godan verbs (u ending verbs) have a different conjugation depending on how they end. To make it simple we can break them into 4 different categories.
1. Verbs that end in su (す)
To convert you remove su (す) and add shite (して).
2. Verbs that end in ku (く) and gu (ぐ)
To convert you remove the last kana and add ite (いて).
3. Verbs that end in mu (む), bu (ぶ) and nu (ぬ)
To convert you remove the last kana and add nde (んて).
4. Verbs that end in ru (る), u (う) and tsu (つ)
To convert you remove the last kana and add tte (って).
The te form of a verb can be used to tell someone to do something.
Read this = kore o yonde (これを読んで)
Write (your) name = namae o kaite (名前を書いて)
In polite situations you add kudasai to the end.
Please drink (this) beer = biiru o nonde kudasai
If you add iru to the end of the te form it changes the meaning to currently doing. You can also combine this with other forms of iru to change the tense. Below are examples using the verb taberu.
He is reading newspaper = kare wa shinbun o yonde iru
(He) was writing = kaite ita (書いていた)
(I) am not drinking juice = juusu o nonde inai
In casual spoken Japanese it is very common for the i (い) sound to be removed. When it's removed the word is easier to pronounce.
(I) am reading a book = hon o yonderu (本を読んでる)
He isn't reading the newspaper = kare wa shinbun o yondenai
In a situation where you need to be polite you use imasu and all its tences in the same way.
(I'm) not eatting anything = nani mo tabete imasen
The Ta form
The ta form is used for something you did. To convert a verb into the ta form you do the exact same thing as the te form except you add ta/da so that the verb ends in the a sound.
(She) ate a apple = ringo o tabeta (りんごを食べた)
He read a book = kare wa hon o yonda (彼は本を読んだ)
(I) drank that beer = sono biiru o nonda (そのビールを飲んだ)
To say didn't do something you convert the verb into the negative past form. For godan verbs (end in a u sound) you change the final kana that has a u sound so that it has a a sound and add nakatta (なかった).
For ichidan verbs (end in eru or iru) you drop the final ru (る) and add nakatta (なかった). For verbs that end in u (う) you change it to wa (わ) and add nakatta (なかった).
I didn't eat a meal = boku wa gohan o tabenakatta
(I) didn't read momotaro = momotarou o yomanakatta