Despite finishing the grammar in the first book, I have to admit that I fell behind because I played too much Idolmaster 2 instead of studying Japanese. Since the spring semester started about three weeks ago, I’m playing catch up and hopefully I can cover lost ground. Either way, this self-study progress will only focus on the short/casual forms.
If you have taken a course on Japanese, most teachers focus their efforts on the polite forms to speed things up. In reality, informal conversations and various Japanese media like music, video games, etc. most often use the short forms in addition to the latter. This makes it difficult for some learners to conjugate the verbs from the dictionary forms, read quotations or anything that doesn’t use polite form. Therefore, it’s very important for learners to learn and know the dictionary forms before conjugating them so you won’t fall in this trap.
As you expect, the short form is different from polite form, not because it’s shorter, but it’s mostly used in casual speak. In short form, です becomes だ 1, questions end with a question mark opposed to adding か and verbs in the present tense keeps it’s dictionary forms. In the list below, it will show how verbs and adjectives in the short form look like:
始める- to begin
- Present – 始める
- Present Negative – 始めない
- Past – 始めた
- Past Negative –始めなかった
歌う- to sing
- Present –歌う
- Present Negative – 歌わない
- Past – 歌った
- Past Negative –歌わなかった
親切な – kind
- Present –親切だ
- Present Negative –親切じゃない
- Past – 親切だった
- Past Negative –親切じゃなかった
痛い – painful
- Present –痛い
- Present Negative – 痛くない
- Past – 痛かった
- Past Negative –痛くなかった
The congregations for the short forms were easy since it’s just adding ない to る verbs and for うverbs, cutting off the うat the end and adding あない 2. The past tense conjugates like the て form, but you add た instead.
Aside from casual speak, short forms has many uses as shown in few of the examples below:
Refraining someone from doing something:
Please don’t eat food here.
I think Miki likes Honey.
My litter sister said that she needs a cake tomorrow.
Because (から、ので – casual)
I won’t go to the park today, because it’s raining.
Aside from the sentences above, there are other uses for the short form I have learned, but won’t explain because there are other sources that explains it better. I just want to show everyone who is currently learning the language that casual forms are just as important as the polite forms. Knowing their existence and learning them will make life easier if you decide to converse with other people, experience Japanese media or study abroad.
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