How to use volitional form in Japanese: V(よ)う

「この公園でちょっと遊んでいこうよ。」

= Chotto kono kouen de chotto asonde ikou yo.

= Why don’t we play in this park a little?

 

 

Hi everyone!

Today’s guest teacher is, Penny Sensei who came to Japan all the way from the U.S..

****

みなさん、はじめまして!Pennyです。

= Minasan, Hajimemashite! Penny desu.

= Nice to meet you, I am Penny! 

みんなのためにがんばって日本語を教えます。

= Minna no tame ni ganbatte nihongo wo oshiemasu.

= I will do my best to teach Japanese for all of you.

We are going to study how to use volitional form in Japanese. 

How to form a volitional form:

* ru-verb

*Delete  ( = ru) and add よう ( = you)

Ex. 見る = みる = miru = to see/watch/look

1) Delete  ( = ru)

 =  = mi 

2) Add よう ( = you)

見よう = みよう = miyou

Ex. 出る でる = deru

→ 出 で = de

 出よう でよう = deyou 

Ex. 寝る = ねる= neru = to sleep

→  =  = ne

→ 寝よう =  ねよう = neyou 

Ex. 着る = きる = kiru = to put on/to wear

→   = ki

→ 着よう = きよう = kiyou 

Ex. 考える かんがえる = kangaeru = to think

→ 考え かんがえ = kangae

→ 考えよう = かんがえよう = kangaeyou

*  u-verb

Pay attention to the romaji, OK?

1) Change the last “u” sound to “o” and add  ( = u)

Ex. *yom”u” → yom”o” +  ( = u) → yomou 

読む よむ = yom”u” = to read 

→ 読も = よも = yom”o” 

→ 読もう よもう = yom”ou”

Ex. kak”u” →kak”o” +  ( = u) → kakou

書く = かく= kak”u” = to write

→ 書こかこ = kak”o” 

 書こう = かこう = kak”ou”

Ex. hanas”u” → hanas”o”  +  ( = u) →hanasou 

話す= はなす = hanas”u” = to talk/ speak

→ 話そ= はなそ = hanas”o” 

→ 話そう= はなそう = hanas”ou”

Ex. kaer”u” →kaer”o” +  ( = u)→kaerou 

帰る = かえる = kaer”u” = to return 

 帰ろ かえろ = kaer”o” 

→ 帰ろう かえろう = kaer”ou”

Note: 帰る = かえる( = kaeru ) ends with  ( = ru) but it actually belongs to “u-verb”

Some verbs which ends with  ~ iru /  ~ eru are classifieds as “u-verbs”

切る きる = kir”u” = to cut

 切ろう きろう = kir”ou” 

知る しる = shir”u” = to know / to find out

→ 知ろう しろう= shir”ou”

入る = はいる= hair”u” = to enter

 入ろう = はいろう = hair”ou”

走る = はしる = hashir”u”= to run

→ 走ろう = はしろう = hashir”ou”

*変わる かわる = kawar”u” = to change

→ 変わろ かわろ = kawar”o” 

→ 変わろう かわろう = kawar”ou”

* Irregular

する = sur”u” = to do

→ しよう  = shiy”ou”

来る = くる = kur”u” = to come

→ 来よう = こよう = koy”ou”

Note: You can also use passive form or causative form in volitional form.

* ほめられる = homerareru = to be praised

→ ほめられよう = homerareyou 

*させる = saseru = to make someone do something

Ex. させよう = saseyou 

But you can’t make a volitional form with the potential form:

飲める = nomeru = to be able to drink

飲めよう = nomeyou 

****

Polite form

verb masu-stem + ましょう

Ex. 食べる = たべる = taberu = to eat

(masu form) 食べます = たべます= tabemasu 

(masu stem) 食べ = たべ = tabe

→ + ましょう ( = mashou) 食べましょう たべましょ= tabemashou

Ex. 読む よむ = yomu = to read 

(masu form) 読みます よみます = yomimasu 

(masu stem) 読み よみ= yomi

→ + ましょう ( = mashou)  読みましょう よみましょう= yomimashou

Ex. する = suru = to do

(masu form) します = shimasu

(masu stem)  = shi

→+ ましょう ( = mashou) しましょう = shimashou

******

How to use:

1) When you suggest someone to do something together: Let’s do something / Why don’t we do ~

Ex. 帰り一緒にタクシーに乗ろうよ。

= Kaeri issho ni takushii ni norou yo.

= Why don’t we share a taxi on the way back home?

Ex. 明日、みんなで集まろうよ。

= Ashita, minna de atsumarou yo.

= Let’s get together tomorrow.

Ex. 「なんか、食べに行こうか?」

= Nanka, tabeni ikou ka?

= Do you want to go grab something to eat?

「行こう!行こう!」

= ikou! ikou! 

= Yes, let’s!

Ex. まだ彼には何も言わないでおこうね。

= Mada kare niwa nani mo iwanai de okou ne.

= Let’s not say anything to him yet, OK?

Ex. 「サキちゃんの誕生日、何を買おうか。」

= Saki chan no tanjoubi , nani wo kaou ka.

= What should we buy for Saki for her birthday?

「お花は?」

= Ohana wa?

= How about flowers?

「いいね、そうしよう!」

= iine, soushiyou!

= That sounds good. Let’s do that.

Ex. いやなことは忘れて飲もうよ!

= iyana koto wa wasurete nomou yo! 

= Let’s drink taking off from troubles.

Ex. もう帰ろうよ。

= Mou kaerou yo.

= Let’s go home already! 

Ex. 一緒に遊ぼうよ。

= issho ni asobou yo.

= Let’s play together (for children)

= Let’s hang out together. (for adults)

Note: You use the verb  遊ぶ ( = asobu) not just “play” but also “hang out and do something fun” in Japanese.

2) When you offer someone to do something for them. 

Ex. それでは私が彼に話しましょう。

= Sore dewa watashi ga kare ni hanashimashou.

= In that case, let me talk to him.

Ex. 地図を描きましょう。

= Chizu wo kakimashou.

= I will draw you a map.

Ex. ここは私が払おう。

= Koko wa watashi ga haraou.

= I will pay for things here. 

Note:  It sounds a bit rough if women use it. 

3) volitional form +  ( = ka): When you ask someone if they want you to do something. 

Ex. 明日、僕が車で迎えに行こうか。

= Ashita, boku ga kurumade mukae ni ikou ka.

= Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow?

Ex. 何か手伝おうか。

= Nani ka tetsudaou ka.

= Do you want me to help you?

Ex. お酒をつぎましょうか。

= Osake wo tsugimashou ka.

= Let me pour you some sake.

Ex. コピーあと3部、取りましょうか?

= Kopii wo ato sanbu, torimashou ka?

= Would you like me to make another three copies for you?

Ex. 肩、揉もうか?

= Kata, momou ka?

= Do you want a shoulder massage?

Ex. 起きたら、電話しましょうか。

= Okitara, denwa shimashou ka.

= Shall I call you when I get up?

4) When you tell someone to do something. / When you encourage someone to do something.

Ex. 明日までに宿題をしましょう。

= Ashita made ni shukudai wo shimashou.

= You should do your homework by tomorrow.

sounds softer than:

Ex.明日までに宿題をしなさい。

= Ashita made ni shukudai wo shinasai.

= Do your homework by tomorrow.

This might sound tricky but when you say:

「がんばりましょう」

= Ganbarimashou

It could mean, “Let’s do our best (together)!” / “We should work harder (together)!”

or

you could be telling someone, “Hang in there!” / “Work harder!” / “Do your best!” 

So you have to figure out what the speaker meant by the context.

Parents or school teachers use this type of speech when they talk to their small children/students. So don’t say that to someone superior.

Ex. 手をきれいに洗いましょう。

= Te wo kirei ni araimashou.

= Please wash your hands well. 

Ex. おはようの挨拶をしましょう。

= Ohayou no aisatsu wo shimashou.

= You should say good morning. 

You also see this form in a sign board.

Ex. 芝生に入らないようにしましょう。

= Shibafu ni hairanai you ni shimashou.

= Keep off the grass.

Ex. ゴミはゴミ箱にすてましょう。

= Gomi wa gomibako ni sutemashou.

= Put the garbage in the trash can. 

5)  When you declare or express what you are going to/ trying to do something. (It could be used when you are talking to yourself.)

Ex. タバコは体に悪いからもうやめよう。

= Tabako wa karada ni warui kara mou yameyou.

= Smoking is bad for you so I’m going to stop smoking (now). (←when talking to yourself)

or it might mean: 

= Smoking is bad for you so you should stop smoking (now). (←when talking to someone else)

Ex. あ~ああんな男はもう忘れよう。(talking to oneself)

= Ah-ah, anna otoko wa mou wasure you.

= Oh well, I will just forget about that guy. (←when talking to yourself)

or it might mean: 

= Oh well, forget about that guy. (←when talking to someone else)

Ex. 無理はしないでおこう。

= Muri wa shinai de okou.

= Let’s not do too much / work too hard. 

Ex. みんなに追いつこうと努力しています。

= Minna ni oitsukou to doryoku shiteimasu.

= I am doing my best to catch up with you all. 

* Conversational form: Volitional form + っと ( = tto) 

You can add っと ( = tto) at the end to express what you are going to do. It doesn’t matter if someone is listening to you or not. You just say that when you talk to yourself. 

How to form:

volitional form + っと ( = tto) 

する = suru = to do

→ しよう ( =  shiyou ) 

→add っと ( = tto)

しようっと ( = shiyoutto) 

variation:

(1)  Drop  ( = u) at the end of a volitional form and add  っと ( = tto) 

→ しよう ( =  shiyou ) 

Drop  ( = u) → しよ ( = shiyo)

Add っと ( = ttto) →しよっと ( = shiyotto)

(2)  Drop  ( = u) and replace it with  ( = o) 

→ しよう ( =  shiyou ) 

しよおっと ( = shiyootto) 

Ex. さあ、勉強しよっと。勉強しよおっと 

= Saa, benkyou shiyoutto. / benkyou shiyootto 

= OK, now it’s time to study.  / I am going to study English now.

Ex. もう帰ろっと。

= Mou kaerotto.

= I guess I am going home now.

Ex. そろそろ寝よっと。

= Sorosoro neyotto.

= OK, it is time to go to bed now.

Ex. まだ寝ているからこのまま寝せておこっと。

= Mada nete iru kara konomama nesete okotto.

= He/She is still sleeping so I guess I will just let him/her sleep like this.

6) Volitional form + かな ( = kana)

When you are deciding / wondering what do do.

Check this lesson how to use かな  ( = kana) 

 

Ex. 何を食べようかな。

= Nani wo tabeyou kana.

= Let’s see.  What should I eat…

Ex. 本でも読もうかな。

 Hondemo yomou kana.

= I guess I am going to read a book or something.

Ex. 明日はどこへ行こうかな。

= Ashita wa doko e ikou kana.

= Where should I go tomorrow.

Ex. 車で行こうかな。

= Kuruma de ikou kana.

= Should I drive there?

7)  Volitional form + と思う ( = to omou )  / 思います = omoimasu) 

* When you declare what you are going to do. 

Note: The subject should be the first person.

(1) Volitional form + と思う ( = to omou ) / 思っている ( = omotte iru) /

masu form:  思います  = omoimasu) / 思っています ( = omotte imasu)

Ex. 次の試験はもっとがんばろうと思います。

= Tsugi no shiken wa motto ganbarou to omoimasu.

= I think I am going to try harder for the next exam.

Ex. 彼と別れようと思っている*

= Kare to wakare you to omotte iru.

= I am thinking about breaking up with him. 

Note: You can also say 考えている ( = kangaete iru) 

Ex. 次の日本語能力試験を受けようと思っています。

= Tsugi no nihongo nouryoku shiken wo ukeyou to omotte imasu.

= I am thinking about taking the next JLPT exam.

(1) Volitional form + と思った ( = to omou ) 思っていた ( = omotte ita) /

masu form思いました ( = omoimashita) / 思っていました ( = omotte imashita) 

Ex. どうして日本に行こうと思ったの?

= Doushite nihon ni ikou to omotta no?

= Why did you want to go to Japan? / Where did you get the idea of going to Japan?

Ex. もっと親を大切にしなくてはいけないと思いました。

= Motto oya wo taisetsu ni shinakute wa ikenai to omoimashita.

= I thought I should take care of my parents more.

Note: It is often followed by the conjunctions such のに  ( = noni) /  けど  ( = kedo) /    ( = ga)  / でも ( = demo)  = but….

 :rrrr: S was/were going to do something but ~

 :rrrr: S was/were about to do something but ~ 

Ex. 「宿題やりなさい!」

= Shukudai yarinasai!

= Do your homework already!

「今、やろうと思ったのに。」

= Ima, yarou to omotta noni!

= I was about to do it now!

Ex. カレーライスを作ろうと思ったが材料がなかった。

= Kareeraisu wo tsukurou to omotta ga zairyou ga nakatta.

= I was going to cook curry and rice but I didn’t have ingredients. 

Note:  ( = ga) is for written form. You use けど( = kedo) for conversation. 

カレーライスを作ろうと思ったけど材料がなかった。

= Kareeraisu wo tsukurou to omotta kedo zairyou ga nakatta.

Ex. 「どうしてずっと連絡してくれなかったの?」

= Doushite zutto renraku shite kurenakatta no?

= How come you haven’t contacted me for a long time?

「何度も電話しようと思ったよ。でも忙しかったんだ。」

= Nando mo denwa shiyou to omotta yo. Demo isogashikattan da.

= I kept thinking I have to call you. But I was so busy.

Ex. あのジャケット、買おうと思ったのにもう売れちゃった。

= Ano jaketto, kaou to omotta noni mou urechatta.

= I was going to buy the jacket but it was sold already. (→Someone bought it already.)

You can also use this form in conditional form:

Ex. 出かけようと思っていたら雨が降ってきた。

= Dekake you to omotte itara amega futte kita.

= It started to rain when I was about to leave.

Ex. 日本語を上達させようと思ったらマギー先生のサイトに来なくちゃ*

= Nihongo wo joutatsu saseyou to omottara Maggie Sensei no saito ni konakucha!

= You know, if you want to improve your Japanese, you have to come to Maggie Sensei’s site.

(* 来なくちゃ ( = konakucha) is a casual way to say 来なくてはいけません・なりません( = konakute wa ikemasen/narimasen.) You have to come) 

Ex. 何かやろうと思うと邪魔が入る。

= Nanika yarou to omou to jama ga hairu.

= Whenever I want to do something, I get interrupted.

***

8) Volitional form + とする (  = to suru) /としている( = to shiteiru) /  past tense: とした ( = to shita) / としていた ( = to shit eita) 

(1) about to do / about to happen 

Something hasn’t happened yet but it is about to happen /It will start to happen soon.

You don’t usually use volitional form for things you can’t control.

For example 

雨が降る = ame ga furu = It rains 

雨が降ろう = ame ga furou

雨が降ろうとしている = ame ga furou to shiteiru

You say 雨が降りそうだ = Ame ga furisou da.

However, even if it is something you can’t control, you sometimes use volitional form if you are somehow involved in the event.

You often use this pattern to describe some change that involves you — especially in written form or a formal announcement. 

Ex. 今、まさに新しい時代が始まろうとしています。

= Ima, masa ni atarashii jidai ga hajimarou to shiteimasu.

= At this very moment, a new era is about to begin.

Ex. 小さかった娘も、20歳になろうとしている。

= Chiisakatta musume mo hatachi ni narou to shite iru.

= My little daughter ( = My daughter who used to be little) is turning 20 now.

Ex. 長かった旅行も終わろうとしていた。

= Nagakatta ryokou mo owarou to shiteita.

= The long journey is coming towards an end. 

(2) trying to do something

Ex. 彼女に告白しようとしたら話をそらされた。

= Kanojo ni kokuhaku shiyou to shitara hanshi wo sorasareta.

= Just when I was about to ask her to go out with me, she changed the subject. 

Ex. なんとか彼に私の気持ちをわかってもらおうと手紙を書いた。

= Nantoka kare ni watashi no kimochi wo wakatte moraou to tegami wo kaita.

= I wrote a letter to him trying to make him understand my feelings somehow. 

Ex. 電車に乗ろうとしたらドアが閉まった。

= Densha ni norou to shitara doa ga shimatta.

= Just as I was trying to get on the train, the door shut. 

Ex. 今、私の携帯覗こうとしたでしょ。

= Ima, watashi no keitai nozokou to shita desho.

= You were just trying to peek my cellphone, weren’t you?

Ex. 地下鉄でお年寄りに席を譲ろうとしたら断られた*

= Chikatetsu de otoshiyori ni seki wo yuzurou to shitara kotowarareta.

= When I was tried to give my seat to an elderly person, he/she declined. 

Note: Actually 断られた ( = kotowarareta)  is a passive form “I was declined”

Ex. 息子は目を合わせようとしない。

= Musuko wa me wo awaseyou to shinai.

= My son is trying to avoid eye contact. 

(3) force something/someone to do something/ let someone to do something 

Ex. 彼を説得しようとしたが無駄だった。

= Kare wo settoku shiyou to shitaga muda datta.

= I was trying to persuade him but it didn’t work out.

Ex. 子供を歯医者に連れていこうしたら泣き出した。

= Kodomo wo haisha ni tsurete ikou to shitara nakidashita.

= I was trying to take my child to the dentist but he/she started to cry. 

With causative form

Ex. お子さんの食欲がないときは無理に食べさせようとしないでください。

= Okosan no shokuyoku ga nai toki wa muri ni tabesaseyou to shinai de kudasai.

= When your child doesn’t have any appetite, try not to force him/her to eat something.

***

マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Penny先生、ありがとう!

= Penny Sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Penny Sensei!

さて、今日は何をして遊ぼうかな?

= Sate, kyou wa nani wo shite asobou kana.

= OK,  what should I do for fun today?

***

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8 Comments

  1. マッギ先生が全部レッシュンをしにありがとうな!
    日本に帰ったから日本語を勉強している。そのうえ、4コマ漫画を訳している。だから、マッギ先生のレッシュンはとても便利だよ。
    それだけに書きたかった。も1回ありがとうございます :D

    1. こんにちは、Eudald

      4コマ漫画を訳しているの?すご〜い! がんばってね!
      私のレッスン (”レッシュン”の方がかわいいね💕)が、役に立てれば嬉しいです。😊

  2. ここからもありがとうございました!
    さすが非常に役立ちます。

    しかし、小さな間違うを見つけました:
    「電車 」ー>「Denwa」と書きました。
    ;)

    1. ありがとう、Marvin.
      間違いを直しました。
      「電話」には乗れないですね。 (笑) 😝

      (Note for you: 小さな間違う→小さな間違い ☺️)

  3. Hello!

    Tabako wa karada ni warui kara MOU yameyou.

    and

    Tabako wa karada ni warui kara yameyou.

    what’s the difference? it’s only emphasis?
    many thanks

    1. Hi bernard

      1) Tabako wa karada ni warui kara MOU yameyou.
      2) Tabako wa karada ni warui kara yameyou.

      Yes, 1) emphasizes one’s stronger feelings.
      When you add もう (= mou), you can add the feelings such as “I had enough” / I have been smoking but it is time to quit smoking NOW.”

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