How to correctly ask "how long have you been playing drums?" in a forum? I tried to come up with my own question but I don't know if it is grammatically correct and/or polite. Here is what I came up with


Could you please help me with this?

  • You seem to have problems conjugating words: could you double check 叩くている and いるます? Also, do you know about です as politeness marker?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 20:15
  • well I know that 叩くis to play drums and and I tried used て-いる-form to indicate an action that is ongoing and also ます to show politeness
    – GoldeEggs
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 20:28
  • Yes, I figured. Please take a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_verb_conjugations#te_form and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (same page) for how to conjugate verbs. Your attempt is actually pretty good. I imagine the grammar points you're missing are covered in the first few chapters of a basic textbook, which I would recommend you to consult first.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 20:35
  • Yes thank you @Earthliŋ, I found a few mistakes. but also you sugested using です and I cant quite comprehend where to put it.
    – GoldeEggs
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 21:10
  • 2
    I see. I would say ドラムを始めてどのくらいになりますか?
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


You are on the right track, but as someone has commented your conjugations need some work.

However, I'll give you what I would suggest is a natural way to ask this.


I think you could replace 叩き始めて with simply 叩いて, but I think the above is more clear.

Besides your issues with です and ます, you don't need to use 貴方. Often in Japanese it's best not to use any word for "you", as it is implied and each word that means "you" has its own nuance.

If you want to use this for other things, you can just put the action in the "pre-masu" form (i.e. 食べ) followed by this phrase:


This would translate to "How long have you been ~?"

EDIT: Replaced 〜ですか with になりますか

EDIT: Added general pattern

  • Oh ok I had this impresion that to imply something it was suposed to be a live conversation. I gues Im realy green at this. And allso could you explain where in your example time referance is, or it is implied too.
    – GoldeEggs
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 23:42
  • sorry if Im too insistent I just want to squeeze every bit of information that can
    – GoldeEggs
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 23:46
  • 1
    Would be much more natural if you used 「なる」 at the end.
    – user4032
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 1:36
  • @l'électeur: Thanks. I knew that was possible but didn't realize it was that much better. Will fix it.
    – Locksleyu
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:28
  • @GoldeEggs: Yes, this line can be used in a live conversation. I'm not sure what you mean by "time reference". The phrase literally means "how much (time) will it be (since) beginning to play the drums", where the part in parenthesis is implied.
    – Locksleyu
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:30

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