Wild Nihongo!


~はじめる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 2)

Essential Meaning: Begin to


  • Verb ます-Form + はじめる
    • E.g. はなはじめる [X begins to speak]
    • E.g. はじめる [X begins to eat]


  • ~はじめる means that someone or something begins some action (e.g. “Begin to read“) or begins to be in some state (e.g. “Begin to strengthen“).
  • ~はじめる implies that the subject is beginning some action that will take places over a span of time. Thus, ~はじめる is typically used with durative verbs such as む [To read], く [To write], or る [To see]. However, if the subject is plural, punctual verbs can be used in certain contexts.
    • E.g. *マークが会場かいじょうはじめました。[Mark began to arrive at the meeting room.] “Arrive” is a punctual word; it takes place instantaneously. Therefore, it does not make sense to say that Mark “began to arrive”.
    • E.g. 人々ひとびと会場かいじょうはじめました。[People began to arrive at the meeting room.] Although individuals arrive instantaneously, the plurality of people arrives over a period of time. Thus, this sentence is acceptable.
  • ~はじめる conjugates as a Group 2 verb (i.e. はじめない, はじめます, はじめれば, はじめて, et cetera).
  • ~はじめる can be changed into an honorific form by using お~になる.
    • E.g. Regular Form: 先生せんせいほんはじめた。[The teacher began to write a book.]
    • E.g. Honorific Form: 先生せんせいはごほんをおきになりはじめた。/ 先生せんせいはごほんはじめになった。[The teacher began to write a book.]

Example Sentences:

明日あしたからレポートをはじめる。[I’ll begin writing the report tomorrow.]

わたし八月はちがつから源氏物語げんじものがたりはじめました。[I began reading The Tale of Genji from August.]

日本にほん経済けいざいは1964ねん東京とうきょうオリンピックのころからつよくなりはじめた。[Around the time of the 1964 Olympics, Japan’s economy began to strengthen.]

A: いつからってをあつはじめたんですか。B: 子供こどものときからあつはじめました。[A: Around when did you begin to collect stamps? B: I began to collect stamps when I was a child.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 1:19: きみ全然ぜんぜん全部ぜんぶなくなってりになったって、もうまよわないまたいちからさがはじめる [Even if you completely disappear and get torn to pieces, I won’t lose my way, I’ll start searching for you again from square one]
The first line of this song goes line this: はじめたゆき足跡あしあとして [The snow that has just begun falling is erasing my footprints]

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