Has I read in this question What is the meaning of 「読むには読んだ」?, the form vるにはvた is used and correct. However, when speaking with some Japanese friends I noticed that they are more likely to use 読んだには読んだ instead of 読むには読んだ.

Is that a spoken-language usage?

By the way, they perfectly understand what I want to mean if I use 読むには読んだ


読んだには読んだ and 読むには読んだ feel exactly the same to me. I personally feel the latter form is a bit more common, but they're both perfectly natural. Note that the first verb never takes ます when you are speaking politely.

  • 見るには見た。
  • 見たには見た。
  • 見るには見ました。
  • 見たには見ました。
  • [×] 見ますには見ました。
  • [×] 見ましたには見ました。

Regarding formality, this には sounds a bit stiff. When talking with friends, 読むには読んだ is okay, but more casual wordings such as "読みはした" and "読むっちゃ読んだ" tend to be preferred.

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