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得る [うる] (uru)
    Meaning: able to do
    Example: All I can think of
    JLPT Level: 2
    Category: grammar
    Author: dc

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
得る means to obtain/to acquire 
[Note negative form is enai えない] 
Strictly speaking, the conjugations of 得る are:
- negative: えない
- masu form: えます
- te form: えて
- terminal form (i.e. at the end of sentences, or when attaching to べき): える/うる
- attributive form (i.e. akin to such things as すきな for すき; used when attaching to nouns): うる
- conditional form: うれば

It is the only 二段 (nidan) verb from old Japanese that hasn't fully become an 一段 (ichidan) verb in modern Japanese. (える/うる in old Japanese was う, so it has changed a little already.)

In summary, although うる is a more archaic way of saying える, the only time you can choose between える/うる is when it comes at the end of the sentence, or when attaching to べき (in which case, however, うる is also preferable due to the also archaic nature of べき). This means one should say for example うるために, うるように, うること, うるところ and so on. Additionally, ありうる is never ありえる.

However, in practice, the "wrong" forms are still somewhat often used.

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ex #83   考え得る方法は全部試してみたが、どれも失敗に終わった 
I tried everything I can think of, but everything failed.  
ex #3041   そのようなことをしても得るべきものはなにもない。 
There is nothing whatever to be gained by resorting to such move.  
ex #4458   これらのガスは地球規模の温暖化をもたらし得る 
These gases can lead to global warming.  
ex #4459   そういう事故は時折起こり得る事だ。 
Such accidents can happen from time to time.  
ex #4463   勤勉さが経験不足を補うこともあり得る 
Diligence may compensate for lack of experience.  
ex #4464   計画を立てる前に、あまり慎重にし過ぎると、計画そのものがひっくり返ることも、時にはあり得るだろう。 
Sometimes being overcautious in planning could upset the apple cart.  
ex #6482   彼女はオリンピックでメダルを獲得しうる 
She can win a medal in the Olympics.  

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  See Also:  
[ Add a See Also ]
your nameNote that Edict examples presently include える and うる in the same list. 
AmatukaTry not to get confused with える (same kanji /generally/ different meaning).  
AmatukaA verb-suffix 得る will generally have this meaning and /usually/ be pronounced うる but I hear that it's increasingly common for that usage to /also/ be pronounced える 
AmatukaIn summary : This is a pig of a word(s) ;-) 
bamboo4うる is archaic or 文語体 whereas える is modern. However,うる is still used, e.g., 考えうる、成しうる, etc.  
ixtli#6482 should say "medal in THE Olympics" and should have a period at the end. 

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