Suru and Shimasu – Complete Guide – Creating Japanese Verbs

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One of the most important verbs in the Japanese language is called suru [する] which means to do, perform or cause. It is often used to turn any noun into a verb, and is one of the most important elements of the Japanese language.

This raises a lot of questions, are there any rules to transform words into verbs with suru? give to use suru followed by a verb? In this complete guide we will answer these and other questions about suru in the Japanese language.

As the article is huge, I'll leave an index below to help you navigate through the article without getting lost:

Conjugations of the verb Suru and Shimasu

Suru [する] is an irregular verb meaning “to do” and in its polite (formal) form become shimasu [します] and can be conjugated in the following ways:

Responsive Table: Scroll the table to the side with your finger >>
 Dictionary するsuru 
 Formalします shimasu 
 Informal Past したshita 
 Formal Past しましたshimashita 
 Negative Informal しないshinai 
 Negative Formal しませんshimasen 
 Informal Negative Past しなかったshinakatta 
 Formal Past Negative しませんでしたshimasendeshita 
 Form – TE – て してshite 
 Conditional  すればsureba 
 Volitional しようshiyou 
 Passive されるsareru
 Causative させるsaseru 
 Potential できるdekiru 
 Imperative しろshiro 
Despite being mostly written in hiragana, the suru has a kanji [為る] that means to do, change, certify, benefit, be useful, achieve, try, practice, serve as, result and advantage. 

Different ways to use the verb suru

The verb する is one of the most used verbs in the Japanese language. One of its main functions is precisely to transform words into verbs. As in the case of marriage"kekkon” [結婚] who becomes married “kekkonsuru” [結婚する].

In addition to turning words into verbs and meaning to do, the verb suru ends up having several other meanings depending on the way it is used. There are numerous uses that we will list below:

1 ) You can use [する] after a-adjectivei [い] in its adverbial form to say that it is doing something, for example:

adjective of [big] ooki [大き] becomes an adverb by adding the ku [く]. 
ookiku [大きく] means to increase.
ookikusuru [大きくする] means I'm turning it up (eg cell phone volume).

If it's an adjective-na [な] you just change the na [な] by no [に].

2 ) You can use the verb [する] to choose some alternative, when you are in a restaurant you can say koohi ni shimasu [コーヒーにします] which means “I am going to have a coffee“.

Suru and shimasu – complete guide – creating verbs in Japanese

3 ) The verb する can be used to talk about the length of time (lapse) in subordinate sentences and also about cost and values. Example: kore wa ichimanen shimashita [これは一万円しました] which means “it cost 10,000 yen“.4) When used with phrases related to appearance it can mean to appear.

4 ) The expression nisuru [にする] is used to indicate a change that happened by someone or something. Unlike [なる] which indicates that something has been transformed or changed by itself.

5 ) When used with words that emitem the senses such as smell, sound and taste, suru can cause the idea of the sense. For example, the phrase ii nioi ga suru [いい匂いがする] which means “smells good“. The same is true of words related to appearances.

AND) Some する verbs composed of only one kanji can be written without the [る]. An example is the verb aisuru [愛する] which can be written aisu [愛す] or the verb tassuru [達する] which can be written tassu [達す].

A する verb can be transitive or intransitive depending on context and usage.

Can any noun become a verb with suru [する]?

There is a class of nouns called “verbal nouns” where most are Chinese words written in kanji or foreign words written in katakana. in fact even onomatopoeia Japanese words can become verbs [する].

Virtually any noun can be turned into a verb using the suru [する], there are no rules regarding this, but you need to have knowledge and common sense for your conversation to make sense. 0

Suru [する] literally means to do, so no matter what noun you use, the listener will understand that you want to make that noun an action. It's just that there are words that are already verbal, so you won't speak utasuru [歌する] if it already exists wow [歌う].

Suru and shimasu – complete guide – creating verbs in Japanese

Most of the time, nouns that do not have a verbal version are written with two or more characters. If you use suru [する or shite [して] in a word that doesn't make sense, you're saying you want to do that.

Even if you take a word of Chinese or foreign origin, you need to find out if there isn't already some Japanese verb ending in [う] that is more popular and well-known. Don't go around turning any word into a verb, even if that's possible.

The potential form of verbs suru is formed by adding dekiru instead of suru (I can do it)! 

List of popular suru verbs

Now that you know that most Japanese words can become a kind of suru verb, let's list the most popular verbs in this category below. Words that are unlikely to have verb alternatives [う].

One way to know if the verb you are creating exists in Japanese is to write it in! 
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frighten, surpriseびっくりするbikkurisuru
compare, contrast比較するhikakusuru
drive, driveドライブするdoraibusuru
ask questions質問するshitsumonsuru
make meal食事するshokujisuru
Going shopping買い物するkaimonosuru
to wash洗濯するsentakusuru
to stroll散歩するsanposuru
book, make ceremonyえんりょするenryosuru
request, make requestちゅうもんするchumonsuru
to telephone電話するdenwasuru

Here's a list of more verbs or words that are transformed when using suru or shimasu:

Onomatopoeia + Suru

  • yukkuri suru [ゆっくりする] – stay a long time;
  • katto suru [かっとする] – set fire, set fire;
  • zotto suru [ぞっとする] – tremble, scare
  • bonyari suru [ぼんやりする] – get distracted;
  • niko niko suru [ニコニコする] – smile;
  • waku waku suru [ワクワクする] – to be excited, excited;

English words + Suru

  • doraibu suru [ドライブする] – drive;
  • taipu suru [タイプする] – type;
  • kisu suru [キスする] – kiss;
  • nokku suru [ノックする] – beat;
  • pasu suru [パスする] – pass;
  • hitto suru [ヒットする] – hit;

I hope you enjoyed this article about suru and shimasu verbs, that you understood the creation of verbs and their function. If you liked the article share with your friends, any suggestion, addition or question, leave it in the comments.

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