Is this sentence correct?


  • 3
    We don't do bulk translation checks. You should at least give the original English sentence, and clarify why you thought this sentence may be incorrect.
    – naruto
    Jan 19 '16 at 8:43
  • 1
    This looks like a great sentence. But what would the word correct mean to you?
    – oldergod
    Jan 19 '16 at 9:12
  • 6
    ^ "This looks like a great sentence." >> すいません、どういう意味でgreatとおっしゃっているのでしょうか… マギー先生 のように「✖ 私は去年、京都に行ったことがあります。Instead, you would use the simple past. ⇒ 私は去年、京都に行った/行きました。」という意見もあるようですが・・・
    – Chocolate
    Jan 19 '16 at 14:59
  • @choco 妥当性を評価しているわけではなく、その文が素晴らしいとの事。
    – oldergod
    Jan 20 '16 at 5:58


If I had to label this sentence as either 'correct' or 'incorrect' and nothing in between , I would certainly go with 'incorrect'. At least, this is not a sentence that a careful native speaker or writer would produce in a natural setting.

Problem #1: 「去年

To use 「は」 correctly with a time word, you need to be comparing two or more time frames. If you are talking about where you went last year and where you went the year before, for instance, you can use this 「は」.

Another correct usage of 「去年」 is when you want to topicalize "last year" and list the things that you did within that particular year.   

For simply stating "I went to (place) last year.", however, we normally would not use 「去年は」. We would just use 「去年」.

Problem #2: 「行ったことがある」

「ことがある」 expresses one's past experience in doing something. The time frame is between your birth and the present moment. In English, one might say "I have been to China twice.", "Have you eaten crocodile meat before?", etc. That is the general feeling of 「~~たことがある」.

To simply state that you did something, for instance, 'yesterday' or 'last year', you would not use 「~~たことがある」. Instead, you would use the simple past tense as in 「行った」,「[食]{た}べた」,「[見]{み}た」, etc.

So, the "correct" sentence meaning "I went to Japan last year." would be:

「去年日本に(or へ)行きました。」


Native speakers occasionally DO USE 「~~たことがある」 in retrospect with a time word when talking about something that one did at least a few years ago.

We might say: 「10[年前]{ねんまえ}にハワイに行ったことがありますが、とてもよかったです。」, and not many people would think anything of it.

But only a very small group of people would say: 「去年ハワイに行ったことがあります。」

Practically no one would say 「去年ハワイに行ったことがあります。」. That would just sound so unnatural coming from a native speaker.

  • Also to be noted, ~たことがある means "to have done". So quite literally, your original sentence reads: I have gone to Japan last year. Maybe it does to you, but that makes no sense to me at all in neither Japanese nor English.
    – Pleiades
    Jan 20 '16 at 3:51

Saying [動詞の過去形+ことがある] pretty much means "I have {verb} before"

Your sentence is akin to saying "Last year I have {verb} before" which doesn't make sense, as "done {verb} before" is a generic past tense phrase that doesn't refer to any specific point or period

It's the same in Japanese. You're essentially using a specific point in time or time period which refers to the past in a general way.

Hopefully that makes some sense :P

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.