I saw ~たのでした in a Japanese storybook. I didn't have any idea about it because I only know ~たのです(~たんです) if I want to say something in the past. I am wondering if ~たのでした(~たんでした) is the concept of past perfect. To make my idea more clear, there is a similar paragraph I made.

喉が乾いたヤギが井戸に通りかかって、キツネがヤギを見て 井戸の底でいていたくせに この井戸の水が美味しいよと言いました。キツネはいつも利口に生きていましたが、まだ井戸に落ちたのでした。 from http://hukumusume.com/douwa/pc/aesop/08/25.htm

I made my own version of the story to highlight what I wanted to ask. Sorry for my bad Japanese. What is ~たのでした ? Isn't ~たのです enough to express the idea that something is in the past?

It made me think of one question about Japanese. When it comes to English, we use past perfect to express the idea that something occurred before another action in the past.

Take the paragraph below for example:

I ran into one of my old friends yesterday. He invited me to get something to eat, and he recommended the new burger king. Actually, I had just had my lunch there. I had just eaten a lot over there. At last, I said "thanks man, maybe next time."

When it comes to Japanese, what should I say to express the same idea?

  • Is that paragraph yours or taken from the story you read? Jun 24, 2015 at 20:00
  • What is a 「乾いたヤギ」? What is 「いていた」? (I have other questions as well.) It is difficult to discuss a grammar point used in a passage that does not make much sense.
    – user4032
    Jun 24, 2015 at 22:51
  • @l'électeur: I have difficulties in understanding too, but... I guess the story might be something of Aesop like this? "A thirsty goat, on approaching a well, noticed a fox was down in the bottom of the well. "What are you doing there?" said the goat. "The water of this well tastes good, so I'm here," said the fox. He actually had fallen into the well, though he was always smart.
    – eltonjohn
    Jun 25, 2015 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


I think both are almost same in terms of the meaning (both express past), but 〜たのでした are mainly used in story (or casual written text).

Taking your paragraph,

2 (more natural):

  • So, basically, 〜たのでした, ~たのです, they are the same(expressing the past). And, we can use もう or ちょうど or ~ところだった or adverbs of time to express the sequence of events, right?
    – vincentlin
    Jun 26, 2015 at 20:17
  • ちょうど can be used to express you've just finished an action (ちょうど食べ終わった), もう is similar to ちょうど (もう食べ終わっている), but it can also emphasize longer time span with other words indicate time (もう3日も前に提出している)。〜ところだった is similar to past perfect + meaning of ちょうど (昨日彼にレストランであったとき、私はちょうど食事を終えたところだった, When I met him at the restaurant yesterday, I had just finished my dish.)
    – user51966
    Jun 26, 2015 at 23:14

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