5

"A: いつごろ切符を予約しましたか。  B: 3か月前です” why should it be です but not でした?

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  • Not sure, but maybe it has something to do with 3か月前に予約したのです
    – DXV
    Aug 29 '18 at 1:37
  • @DXV 3か月前に予約したのです sounds like you are mad that they cancelled the reservation you made three months in advance and gave it to someone who just called yesterday, and you're talking to customer support what happened demading that the situation be rectified.
    – Jun Sato
    May 2 at 23:09
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This is where the two languages slightly differ in the treatment of past/present tenses.

Think of it like, "It is (present tense, not paste tense was) true that the ticket I hold in my hands now was purchased three months ago."

ToddP's answer's actually right. using past tense でした implies something has changed.

This is something you just have to get used to until it's second nature. Just say 3か月前です and get used to it. The implication is that by using present tense, you are alluding to the current validity of the ticket you have, and you are stating the property of the ticket. Like it's beije. Like it's thick. LIke it's from JR. Like it's purchased by you. And the duration of you having it is 3 months. Getting the idea?

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  • 1
    As a learner of Japanese I actually find the present/past tenses in Japanese and English quite different. For example at the end of a post or presentation, people say: 「以上○○でした。」 In English the utterance wouldn't normally be put in the past tense. There are a lot of other similar situations that I have encountered but can't think of off the top of my head.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 30 at 16:21
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Because でした implies that the state (予約した) has changed.

3か月前です means: "Three months ago"

3か月前でした is a bit non-sensical. It means something like this: "I booked it three months ago, but something happened after booking, and now for some reason it is no longer three months ago that it was booked."

でした is used to convey subjective feeling, for example:

Q. 地震はどうでしたか?

A. 大変でした

or

Q. 映画はどうでしたか?

A. 最高でした

For a factual question like: "When did you book your ticket?", there is no room for the subjective feeling that でした implies.

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