1

If I use the plain past tense of a verb before とき, do I have to use the plain past tense in the sentence that comes after it, or is it okay to use the polite past tense? For example, I'm trying to say, "When I went to Japan, I did not ride the shinkansen."

日本に行ったとき、新幹線に乗らなかった。

vs.

日本に行ったとき、新幹線に乗りませんでした。

Are they both correct? If so, which one is preferred? There's an example on this page that uses the polite past in the sentence that comes after とき.

日本へ行ったとき、カメラを買いました。
5

They're both correct, it just depends on the context in which the sentence appears.

For example, if it were in a speech you would most likely say:

日本に行った時、新幹線に乗りませんでした。

However, perhaps in casual conversation with a friend you'd be more inclined to say:

日本に行った時、新幹線に乗らなかった。

Hope that helps!

  • 6
    This is basically correct, but probably the most important information for the OP is that the existence of 〜とき clause does not affect whether the main clause should be in the polite form or not. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 11 '16 at 7:14
  • 1
    Yes you're exactly right :) – Faolan Jan 11 '16 at 7:15

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