Lingual Ninja! - Japanese Lessons Online

This blog is for people studying Japanese! I hope this blog helps you study basic Japanese!


Aug 14, 2018

です(desu) and ます(masu)

Hello. I'm Kosuke!

Have you already remembered many Japanese words?

Also, have you improved your skills in the art of the Ninja?

In the previous article, I talked about Japanese seasons!
  Seasons of Japan >>

In this article, I would like to talk about "です (de su)" and "ます (ma su)"!

Have you ever heard these words?

When you listen to a Japanese conversation, you will listen to these words often.

Grammatically, these two words are called "auxiliary verb".

However, you don't need to care about the name here!

This blog is for Japanese beginners.

So I would like to explain a very basic part of grammar.
I will omit the complex topics as much as possible.

The purpose of this article is to allow you to form basic sentences in Japanese!

At first, the most important thing is...

'です(desu)' and 'ます(masu)' are put at the end of sentences when you speak politely.

Also, please see the table below to check the difference between "です(desu)" and "ます(masu)".

Predicate of the sentenceWhich should we use?
Adjective or Adjective verbです

If you can't understand the table above right now, it is OK.
We will discuss the details in this article!

Also, maybe, the past article about 'は and が' will help you understand the table above:

If you don't remember all Hiragana characters, please check this:

First, please let me talk about 'です' here.

If you put 'です(desu)' at the end of the sentence, it makes the sentence polite.

Basic forms are like below:

  ・ [Subject] は [Noun] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective verb] です。

   は : wa
   です : de su

 -> 'A wa B desu' means 'A is B'.

Actually, there is no "adjective verb" in English.
So you can think the "adjective verb" is one kind of adjective.

Sometimes, "adjective verb" is called "na-adjective".

"Adjective verb" includes the word "verb" in its name, but it is not a verb.

You are reading this blog.
So I think you already know English well (probably, better than me hehe).

Basically, English adjective is corresponding to Japanese "adjective" or "adjective verb".

So you can think Japanese "adjective verb" is one kind of adjective!

When I explained about "~は(wa)" before, I used the two examples using 'です(desu)' below:


wa ta shi wa ga ku se i de su

     Meaning :  "I am a student."
わたし (wa ta shi) I
がくせい (ga ku se i) student

a na ta wa shi n se tsu de su

        Meaning :  "You are kind."
あなた (a na ta) you
しんせつ (shi n se tsu) kind

If you don't know the resason why 'は' makes the sound 'wa' instead of 'ha', please check this:

The two examples above are polite sentences because 'です(desu)' is at the end of the sentences.

If you don't need to speak politely, you can use 'だ (da)' instead of 'です (de su)'.

 1. わたし は がくせい
    (I am a student.)

 2. あなた は しんせつ
    (You are kind.)

However, I think you don't need to use 'だ' for now.

It is OK for you to use only 'です(desu)' at first.

Using 'だ' is kind of difficult because it is not so polite.

For example, 'だ' is used when you want to say your opinion strongly.
Also, 'だ' is used when you write a research report to inform readers of facts directly.

In addition to that, there are some cases 'です' can't be replaced by 'だ'. 
(when adjective is used)

So please don't care about 'だ' so much now, and let's use 'です(desu)' instead.

When you read or listen to 'だ', please just remember it is the same as 'です(desu)'.

So for now, let's focus on 'です(desu)'.

As I wrote above, basically, 'です(desu)' is used at the end of the sentence.

Basic forms are like below:

   [Subject] は [Noun] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective verb] です。

  -> 'A wa B desu' means 'A is B'.

Please remember the three basic forms above!

Regarding 'ます(masu)', please just remember the form below:

   [Subject] が [Verb] ます。

Like the form above, 'ます(masu)' is used after a verb.

Basically, [verb + ます] is the last part of the sentence in Japanese.

You can put some special words after [verb + ます], like 'ね(ne)', 'よね(yone)' or 'か(ka)'.
However, please don't care about these here.

Please check the examples to understand it!


sa su ke ga a ru ki ma su

     Meaning :  "Sasuke walks."
さすけ Sasuke
(name of person)

Like the example above, if the predicate is a verb, you should put 'ます(masu)' at the end of the sentence!

However, you need to be careful about one thing when you use 'ます(masu)'.

It is related to あるき and あるく written above.

When you put 'ます(masu)' after the verb, it changes the form.

It's called "Verb conjugation".

There are many types of verb conjugation in Japanese.

Actually, I don't think you need to learn all of them for now.

Even Japanese children learn it in junior high school.

They use it before learning it or understanding the grammar.

You will get used to the patterns by listening to many Japanese conversations.

There are too many verbs and verb conjugations to remember one by one!

I wrote how I got used to studying a language in this:

  Listening or Reading >>


In this article, it is enough if you remember the table below!

Predicate of the sentenceWhich should we use?
Adjective or Adjective verbです

Also, please get used to the forms below!

   [Subject] は [Noun] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective] です。
   [Subject] は [Adjective verb] です。
   [Subject] が [Verb] ます。

Examples of the forms above are below!

   わたし は がくせい です。
           ->(I am a student.)

   わたし は うつくしい です。
           ->(I am beautiful.)

   あなた は しんせつ です。
           ->(You are kind.)

   さすけ が あるき ます。
           ->(Sasuke walks.)

Do you understand how to use です(desu) and ます(masu)?

In the next article, let's study about Japanese particle "の (no)":

I hope this article helps you study Japanese!
Thank you for reading!

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  1. I know this article was written a few years ago, and this comment is irrelevant now, but we do have adjective verbs! Adverbs are what they are called.

    1. Thank you for your comment!
      Adverbs are called "副詞(fukushi)" in Japanese, and adjective verbs are called "形容動詞(keiyoudoushi)" in Japanese! And they are different(;^ω^)
      Adjective verbs are also called na-adjectives in English!