Japanese does not have plurals, uncountable nouns, or articles. For those of you who are not grammar buffs, the English articles are "a/an" and "the," and uncountable nouns are nouns that you can't put "a" or "an" in front of. For example, you can't say "a water" or "a soap." Instead you would say "a cup of water" or "a bar of soap." Needless to say, using nouns in English tends to be a rather challenging experiance for Japanese people.
- English: dog, a dog, dogs, the dog, the dogs
- The Japanese equivalent of all of them: inu
It would be wrong to give you the impression that Japanese is simple. Aside from having two phonetic alphabets and thousands of Chinese characters, Japanese has several levels of politeness.
Meshiagaru, itadaku, and taberu are all different versions of the word "to eat."
- When you are talking with your close friends and family: taberu
- When you are talking with an acquaintance, someone you just met, someone a little higher in the social order, or someone who you're really not sure how you should address, you should use a more polite form of taberu: tabemasu
- When you are talking with someone of higher status about yourself (like if you are saying "I eat"): itadakimasu
- When you are talking with someone of higher status about said person of higher status (like if you are saying "you eat"): meshiagarimasu
If that is just a simple "I/you eat," just imagine what switching between politeness levels is like with more complicated grammar. . .