The mizenkei conjugation (未然形) is used for forming negative forms, subjunctive forms, causative forms and passive forms.

Mizenkei conjugations

Group 2 conjugationsto eatto see
Rentaikei食べる taberu見る miru
Mizenkei食べ tabe見 mi
Group 4 conjugationsto writeto buyto waitto lend
Rentaikei書く kaku買う kau待つ matsu貸す kasu
Mizenkei書か kaka買わ kawa待た mata貸さ kasa
Irregular verbsto doto come
Rentaikeiする suru来る kuru
Mizenkeiし、さ、せ shi, sa, se来 ko
Verbal adjectivesto be largeto be new
Rentaikei大きい ōkii新しい atarashii
Mizenkei大きく ōkiku新しく atarashiku
Verbal adjectiveto be good (irregular)
Rentaikeiいい/良い ii / yoi
Mizenkeiよく/良く yoku

Mizenkei + u (う) / + you (よう)

The mizenkei + う (u) and the mizenkei + よう (you) are used to create the subjunctive form. With the subjunctive form you can encourage people to do something. In English this would translate as “Let’s …”, or “Shall we …?”.

The mizenkei + う (u) is used with group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs and the mizenkei + よう (you) is used with group 2 (or nidan katsuyou) verbs.

Contractions with Group 4 verbs

The mizenkei + う (u) of group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs undergoes a contraction.

Here’s how the contractions works:
行か (ika = mizenkei) → 行か+う (ika+u) → 行こう (ikou = subjunctive)

Note: Group 4 verbs where the rentaikei ends on う (u) receive the following contraction:
買わ (kawa = mizenkei) → 買わ+う (kawa+u) → 買おう (kaou = subjunctive)

Irregular verbs

The subjunctive form of 来る (kuru) is formed by placing よう (you) after the mizenkei. The subjunctive form of する (suru) is formed by placing よう (you) after し (shi).

RentaikeiSubjunctive
買う kau買おう kaou
書く kaku書こう kakou
出すdasu出そう dasou
待つ matsu待とう matou
食べる taberu食べよう tabeyou
見る miru見よう> miyou
する suruしよう shiyou
来る kuru来よう koyou

The subjunctive of the ~ます (masu) form

The ~ます (masu) form has an irregular subjunctive form.


Rentaikei
- Subjunctive
行きます ikimasu - 行きましょう ikimashou

チェコに行こう。
Cheko ni ikou.
Let’s go to the Czech Republic.

チョコを食べよう。
Choko wo tabeyou.
Let’s have some chocolate.

テレビを見ましょうか。
Terebi wo mimashou ka.
Shall we watch TV?

だろう (darou) and でしょう (deshou)

だ (da) and です (desu) are contractions of である (de aru) and でございます (de gozaimasu), and have the same contractions.

RentaikeiSubjunctive
である de aru であろう de arou
だ daだろう darou
でございます de gozaimasuでございましょう de gozaimashou
です desuでしょう deshou

だろう (darou) and でしょう (deshou) are, however, not subjunctive forms, but dubitative forms. They should be translated as “it probably is”. だろう (darou) and でしょう (deshou) can be combined with verbal adjectives.

マイク君が来るでしょうね。
Maiku-kun ga kuru deshou ne.
Mike is coming, right?

高いだろう。
Takai darou.
It must be expensive.

寒かったでしょう。
Samukatta deshou.
It must have been cold.

Mizenkei + seru (せる) / + saseru (される)

The mizenkei + せる (seru) and the mizenkei + させる (saseru) are used to create the causative form. The causative form is translated as “let, have, or make somebody do”. This causative form cannot be combined with verbal adjectives.

The mizenkei + せる (seru) is used with group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs and the mizenkei + させる (saseru) is used with group 2 (or nidan katsuyou) verbs.

Irregular verbs

The causative form of 来る (kuru) is formed by placing させる (saseru) after the mizenkei. The causative form of する (suru) is formed by placing せる (seru) after さ (sa).

RentaikeiMizenkei + (さ)せる [(sa)seru]
買う kau買わせる kawaseru
書く kaku書かせる kakaseru
出す dasu出させる dasaseru
待つ matsu待たせる mataseru
食べる taberu食べさせる tabesaseru
見る miru見させる misaseru
する suruさせる saseru
来る kuru来させる kosaseru

When adding (さ)せる [(sa)seru], a Group 2 verb, to the mizenkei the resulting verb is also conjugated as group 2 verbs. For the correct conjugations please check the conjugations page.

The Causative form

The causative form is used to describe that “A” makes “B” do “C”. “A”, is then followed by the particle に (ni), “B”, who performs the actual action, is followed by the subject particle が (ga), and “C” is followed by the object particle を (wo). “B”が”A”に”C”をさせる。 (“B” ga “A” ni “C” wo saseru.)

私が友達に宿題をチェックさせた。
Watashi ga tomodachi ni shukudai wo chekku saseta.
My friend let me check his homework.
My friend had me check his homework.
My friend made me check his homework.

Mizenkei + (さ)せられる [(sa)serareru]

The mizenkei + させる (saseru) can also be combined with the passive form られる (rareru). This combination can have two functions:

  • Being forced to do something.
  • Extremely humble form (used when speaking to the emperor or to gods).
私が母に納豆を食べさせられた。
Watashi ga haha ni nattou wo tabesaserareta.
I was made to eat natto by my mother. / I was forced to eat natto by my mother.

お天皇様がいらっしゃらせられてくださいませんでしょうか。br />
O-Tennou-sama ga irassharaserarete kudasaimasen deshou ka.
Won’t Your Majesty The Emperor please come over?

Mizenkei + zu (ず)

The mizenkei +ず (zu) is the classical negative, and sounds very archaic.

知らず。 (Shirazu.)
I don’t know.

The Mizenkei + ずに (zu ni)

When the mizenkei + ず (zu) is followed by the particle に (ni) it means “without doing”. This form is still often used in modern Japanese. This form can only be used with verbs, not with verbal adjectives.

食べずに来ました。
Tabezu ni kimashita.
I came without having eaten.

Irregular verbs

The mizenkei + ず (zu) of する (suru) is formed by placing ず (zu) after the せ (se) mizenkei conjugation. 来る (kuru) behaves normally. The mizenkei + ず (zu) of ある (aru) is formed by simply placing ず (zu) after the mizenkei conjugation: あらず (arazu).

RentaikeiMizenkei + ず (zu)
ある aruあらず arazu
買う kau買わず kawazu
書く kaku書かず kakazu
出す dasu出さず dasazu
待つ matsu待たず matazu
食べる taberu食べず tabezu
見る miru見ず mizu
する suruせず sezu
来る kuru来ず kozu

Mizenkei +n (ん) / + nai (ない)

The mizenkei + ない (nai) is the negative form. ない (nai) is a verbal adjective. For its correct conjugations please check the conjugations page. In the spoken language ない (nai) after verbs is sometimes abbreviated to ん (n).

雨が降らない。
Ame ga furanai.
It isn’t raining.

バスが高くないです。
Basu ga takakunai desu.
The bus is not expensive.

分からん。
Wakaran.
I don’t understand.

PositiveNegative
書く kaku書かない kakanai
買う kau買わない kawanai
売る uru売らない uranai
入る hairu入らない hairanai
いる iruいない inai
食べる taberu食べない tabenai
出る deru出ない denai
見る miru見ない minai
する suruしない shinai
来る kuru来ない konai
高い takai高くない takakunai
難しい muzukashii難しくない muzukashikunai

Exceptions are the verb ある (aru), である (de aru) and its variations, and the polite verb ます (masu).

ある (aru), meaning “there are” (of inanimate objects), has as negative form ない (nai) and not あらない (aranai).

である (de aru), meaning “to be”, and its variations だ (da) and です (desu) have as negative form ではない(です) (de wa nai (desu)) or ではありません (de wa arimasen). では (de wa) is sometimes contracted to じゃ (ja), resulting in じゃない(です) (ja nai (desu)) or じゃありません (ja arimasen).

ます (masu) has as a negative form ません (masen). This form stems from classical Japanese where the classical negative verb ぬ (nu) was placed after the izenkei conjugation. ません (masen) is placed after the ren’youkei conjugation, the same as ます (masu) is.

PositiveNegative
ある aruない nai
である de aruではない de wa nai
だ daじゃない ja nai
あります arimasuありません arimasen
-ないです nai desu
書きます kakimasu書きません kakimasen
-書かないですkakanai desu
食べます tabemasu食べません tabemasen
-食べないです tabenai desu
来ます kimasu来ませんkimasen
-来ないです konai desu
であります / です de arimasu / desuではありません de wa arimasen
-ではないです de wa nai desu
-じゃありません ja arimasen
-じゃないです ja nai desu
高いです takai desu高くないです takakunai desu
難しいです muzukashii desu難しくないです muzukashikunai desu

Mizenkei + ないで (nai de)

This construction is used to request someone not to do something.

それをしないで。
Sore wo shinai de.
Please don’t do that.

鉛筆で書かないでください。
Enpitsu de kakanai de kudasai.
Please don’t write with a pencil.

Various forms

You may also encounter ない (nai) in different contractions.

なくて (nakute):the て (te) form.
なかった (nakatta): the た (ta) form or past tense
なさそう (nasasou): the ren’youkei + そう (sou)

Mizenkei + reru (れる) / + rareru (られる)

The mizenkei + れる (reru) and the mizenkei + られる (rareru) are used to create the passive form. The passive form is translated as “being done”. This passive form cannot be combined with verbal adjectives.

The passive form has several functions. It can be used as a
  • Passive form
  • Passive form of inconvenience (迷惑の受身)
  • Polite form
  • Potential form
The mizenkei + れる (reru) is used with Group 4 (or yodan katsuyou) verbs and the mizenkei + られる (rareru) is used with group 2 (or nidan katsuyou) verbs. In the spoken language the mizenkei + れる (reru) is sometimes also used with Group 2 (or nidan katsuyou) verbs. This form is officially grammatically incorrect but you may encounter it on occasion.

Irregular verbs

The passive form of 来る (kuru) is formed by placing られる (rareru) after the mizenkei. The passive form of する (suru) is formed by placing れる (reru) after さ (sa) or られる (rareru) after せ (se).

RentaikeiMizenkei + (ら)れる [(ra)reru]
買う kau買われる kawareru
書く kaku書かれる kakareru
出す dasu出される dasareru
待つ matsu待たれる matareru
食べる taberu食べられる taberareru
-(食べれる) (tabereru)
見る miru見られる mirareru
-(見れる) (mireru)
する suruされる sareru
-せられる serareru
来る kuru来られる korareru
-(来れる) (koreru)

When adding (ら)れる [(ra)reru], which is a Group 2 verb, to the mizenkei conjugation, the resulting verb is also conjugated as a Group 2 verb. For the correct conjugations please check the conjugations page.

ソニーのCDプレーヤーは中国で作られます。
Sonii no CD pureeyaa wa chuugoku de tsukuraremasu.
Sony CD-players are made in China.

蚊に刺された。
Ka ni sasareta.
I’ve been bitten by a mosquito.

The Passive form

The passive form is used to describe that “A” is being done by “B”. “A” is followed by the subject particle が (ga), and “B” is followed by the particle に (ni).

手紙が田中さんに書かれました。
Tegami ga Tanaka-san ni kakaremashita.
The letter was written by Mr. Tanaka.

田中さんが手紙を書きました。
Tanaka-san ga tegami wo kakimashita.
Mr. Tanaka wrote the letter.

The Passive form of inconvenience (迷惑の受身 / meiwaku no ukemi)

Like the passive form, the passive form of inconvenience is used to describe that “A” is being done by “B”, but with the connotation that what happened was unpleasant. In this form “A” is followed by the object particle を (wo), and “B” is followe by the particle に (ni). This form can often be translated without having the passive form in the English translation.

宿題を犬に食べられました。 (Shukudai wo inu ni taberaremashita.)
The dog ate my homework.

The Polite form

The polite form maintains the normal construction a normal sentence would. This form is used to heighten the politeness level towards the person you are talking to.

あなたがもう食事を食べられましたか。
Anata ga mou shokuji wo taberaremashita ka.
Have you had dinner yet?

明日、来られますか。
Ashita, koraremasu ka.
Will you come by tomorrow?

The Potential form

The potential form is constructed in the same way as the normal passive form, but the grammatical subject of the sentence is usually separated by the particle は (wa). This form is often used to create a potential form from group 2 (or nidan katsuyou) verbs.

彼は直美ちゃんのことが忘れられない。
Kare wa Naomi-chan no koto ga wasurerarenai.
He can’t stop thinking about Naomi.

Summary:

“A”が”B”にされます。
“A” ga “B” ni saremasu.
“A” is being done by “B”. (passive form)

“A”を”B”にされます。
“A” wo “B” ni saremasu.
“B” does “A” (and I am suffering because of it). (passive form of inconvenience)

“A”が”B”をされます。
“A” ga “B” wo saremasu.
“A” does “B”. (polite form)

“A”は”B”がされます。
“A” wa “B” ga saremasu.
“A” can do “B”. (potential form)