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I've just started learning Japanese, and I'm very confused by how 困る is used. For example, we had a sample dialogue that went (in response to some bad news):

A:「全然良くないですねえ。」

B:「ええ、困りましたねえ。」

I'm confused because since the news has just been delivered to B, why wouldn't the imperfective 困ります be used instead? My reasoning is that B "has a problem" now, but there was no problem earlier. Even if there was a hidden problem earlier, it's still there now (i.e. not over/completed yet).

I asked the instructor, who said something about the problem itself occurred in the past, so either one could work; I'm not quite convinced because I thought ~ました referred to completed occurrences only.

Is there a clearer explanation for why they used the perfective aspect? Or is my understanding of 困る incorrect?

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  • This is a good question, but it has been asked and answered multiple times here. – l'électeur Jan 23 '17 at 9:20
  • I did search before asking, but perhaps not well enough; forgot to indicate what I tried. – éclairevoyant Jan 23 '17 at 12:29
  • I searched 困る and 困ります. Generally, though I understand ~ました for other verbs, but I was worried that either this verb was a special case, or that I was misunderstanding its meaning (which is why I didn't search for other verbs). – éclairevoyant Jan 23 '17 at 12:37
  • As mentioned in the comments, there's already a very good explanation of the modal 'ta' here - japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/21347/… – geekly Jan 24 '17 at 13:31
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You are correct. ました is for completed occurrences. Something bad happened and therefore you are troubled.

If something bad is happening, you will use ます.

Examples

車が壊れた->困りましたね。
自分で料理できない->困ります。

To some extent, both can be used for most cases depending on how you formulate it. It's just like in English when you want to say "I am troubled by this news", "This news is troubling", "This event will cause me troubles".

  • How is this the best answer? – l'électeur Jan 23 '17 at 23:56
  • @l'électeur 他に選択肢ないからですかね・・・ close voteも入ってへんみたいやし・・・模範解答4649 – Chocolate Jan 24 '17 at 15:47

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