Questions relating to that property of verbs which allows them to refer to events in the past, present, or future.

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18
votes
3answers
761 views

How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
17
votes
2answers
797 views

ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました

When thanking someone, what is the rule for using ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました? My sensei taught us to use ありがとうございました when the action you're thanking someone for occurred in the past, but I've heard ...
13
votes
1answer
320 views

Why does the narrator switch tenses here?

I'm currently reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Japanese, but the opening to the story is confusing me a bit. The actual text reads: ...
12
votes
3answers
822 views

Would the plain form of a verb usually be translated as future tense?

In a recent question I asked, this example sentence was offered: 映画を見る。 (I will watch a movie.) What struck me about this was that the translated version was the future tense. However, I always ...
9
votes
2answers
340 views

How do I decide when to use plain or past verb form?

In (1) 明日、家へ帰って、母が作ったおいしい料理を食べます。 why is it 作った when it’s a future event? If I wanted to create a clause meaning 'delicious food my mother makes', it would be 母が作るおいしい料理. Does changing 作った in ...
8
votes
0answers
246 views

How should we understand the plain form when used in novels set in the past?

I am trying to understand how the plain form is used in novels set in the past through the explanations in the paper referenced below. I wonder if someone could explain how we should understand the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is 「たくなった」 a typo or a grammatical structure that is different than I think it is?

I have this sentence in my JLPT exercise book: 彼{かれ}は有名人{ゆうめいじん}ゆえの不自由{ふじゆう}さから逃{に}げたくなった。 The translation offered is: He wanted to get away from the difficulties of being a celebrity. ...
7
votes
2answers
752 views

what is the past tense of お腹が空いた?

if お腹が空いた means "I'm hungry", then what would be the past tense of お腹が空いた since (i think) it's already in the past tense?
7
votes
2answers
555 views

Difference between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから

What is the difference in usage between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから? Is there a sense of sequence implied in one and not the other? In the following examples where would i be buying the book and where ...
7
votes
1answer
358 views

Usage of 忘れる, 忘れた, 忘れている, 忘れていた

Consider this sentence: それは三十年前のことだから、もう[fill in the blank]。 The answer given by the workbook is 忘れた. Choices are: 忘れる (forget) 忘れた (forgot) 忘れている (continued state of forgetting) 忘れていた (had ...
6
votes
2answers
162 views

How to write about something in the future where something will have happened

How could I write about something in the future where something will have happened? That is, I'm writing from the perspective of the current time, about a perspective in the future where something has ...
6
votes
3answers
322 views

What is the significance of the “の” in the sentence “誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。”

In another forum, someone said the difference between 誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。 and 誰が盗んだか、誰か知りませんか。 is that the former has more emphasis on the verb 盗む. Another person said that that's not the ...
6
votes
2answers
527 views

い-Adjective Conjugation: かったです vs でした

When we first studied adjective conjugation in my Japanese class, I kept making the same mistake habitually; I would conjugate the past tense of い-adjectives with でした at the end instead of dropping ...
6
votes
1answer
244 views

Present vs. past tense with certain verbs?

~ことにする vs ~ことにした  ~と思う vs ~と思った What sort of context would you use either of these? Does the past tense imply that you've changed your decisions or thoughts?
5
votes
1answer
112 views

This PSA was written in the past tense. When is it correct to do this?

While riding a train, I read a public service announcement that said: たばこを持つ手は、子供の顔の高さだった。 Underneath, the English translation said: A lit cigarette is carried at the height of a child's ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

“きのう、何をしていた。” vs. “きのう、何をした。”

What is the difference in nuance between きのう、何をしていた。 vs きのう、何をした。? To be fair, I can't really tell the difference between these two english sentences: What were you doing yesterday ? What did you do ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

Attributive form in Japanese narration

I have recently started reading novels as a means to improve my Japanese after reaching a comfortable enough level to do so. I am familiar with the use of the non-past form (dictionary form) in ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

How 聞いてた differs from 聞いた in this context?

I think ていた/ている is often used in the following context. A:Bla Bla Bla A:話、聞いてた? B:ごめん。聞いてなかった。ちょっと、ボーッとしてた Another context A said something to B before he left, but B didn't hear it. ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I say “before” or “used to” in Japanese?

朝、作文を書いた時、疑問に思いました。 How can I say something like: I didn't used to like this band.  Before, I didn't like this band.
3
votes
2answers
250 views

What is なく・ない and why is it used?

This question showed the following: 言わない (negative) 言わなく・ない (negative+negative) 言わなく・なかった (negative+negative+past) I've never seen this conjugation before. Why would you have a negative + ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“How did you know?” and “how do you know?” in Japanese

As explained in this question on the English site, there is a distinction in English between saying "How did you know?" and "How do you know?" When someone makes an assertion, the distinction ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Tense of どういうつもりだ…

The full sentence is: 反撃の機会は幾度もあった… どういうつもりだ… "There were many chances to counter attack... what is your intention". But the event took place in the past so why is it not どういうつもりだった… "What was ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

can あいだ / あいだに be used with non-past tenses

Last week I learned to use あいだ and あいだに to express things that happen at the same time (are parallel) or things that happen while other are occurring. But I noticed that all the examples on the book ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Help with tense/aspect (past vs. non-past in Verb and Verbている)

I'm having difficulty with this sentence: Tense appears inconsistent to me. I need help understanding the correct use of verb forms. 冬休みにずっと九州に [Fill in the blank] おばあさんのうちにいました(past) 住む ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

How can this sentence using 次 be in the past tense?

In my JLPT practise book, the following exchange between a man and a woman is part of a longer exchange in a listening section: 女{おんな}:先日{せんじつ}は町内{ちょうない}集会{しゅうかい}、お疲{つか}れさまでした。 ...
1
vote
1answer
471 views

What suffix do you add to a verb to make it perfective or imperfective?

What suffix would be added to the end of a verb to make as it is being done (I'm eating), or that it has been done (I have eaten, I've ate). For example 私は食べる, or I eat, 食べる would be converted into ...