I found this thread that was really useful, but I'm still have some doubts, especially because this other thread seems to suggest that there isn't significative difference between using one or the other.

The sentence that triggered my interest is the following:


Since it's just an example sentence found in a grammar blog, it may not have much depth of meaning, but I wanted to try. Using the line of thought found in the first linked thread, I interpreted the past form in the relative clause as indicating that the intention of making the building into a certain shape was planned.

If the clause had instead used 〇〇形をする建物, I guess the focus on the intention fades, and the construction just ends up with a round or square building.

  • Does my interpretation make any sense?
  • Is thinking about such choices practical in any way, or, as the second thread linked asserts, there isn't much of a difference between using past or present (in most/many cases)?
  • In what cases do substantial differences arise?
  • in such cases, is the explanation provided in the first cited thread sufficient, or could there be more nuances in some circumstances?

1 Answer 1


You're thinking the other way around. 丸い形をする建物 would mean "a building that will be round (in the future)", which is almost certainly a wrong expression. You need to say either 丸い形をした建物 or 丸い形をしている建物.

Besides, this type of する is just "have (a trait)" in English, and does not involve someone's intention or planning. For example, 赤い色をした葉っぱ is just "red leaves".

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