So i came across this question and I can’t seem to get my head around it! Sorry if it’s obvious. I learned that the progressive form for a verb (-ing ) is the ーて form + (-いる/-います) .

So I am eating is たべています//たべている

How do you say I was eating ? Past tense .

To say , I haven’t don’t soemthing (yet) I learned it’s -て+(いない/いまぜん)

So the positive version would be the same as the progressive form, correct ?

So basically haven’t yet (past tense) and the progressive form (present) are the same ? How would yo I make a progressive form past tense ?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


To form the past progressive form (was ~ing), just change the います/いる to the past tense.

食べています。 / 食べている。
I am eating (now). [present progressive]

食べていました。 / 食べていた。
I was eating (at that time in the past). [past progressive]

Japanese ている/ていた is indeed tricky because it can express both the progressive form (is/was ~ing) and the perfect aspect ((already) have/had done, have/had not done (yet)). (Don't mix past tense and perfect aspect. "I did not do it" is (negative) past tense, and "I haven't done it yet" is (negative present) perfect aspect.) You can tell the meaning from the verb choice and the context. Instant state-change verbs (aka punctual verbs) like 死ぬ and 割れる almost always mean "have done" when coupled with ている, whereas many action verbs like 寝る and 食べる can mean both.

(もう)食べています。 / (もう)食べている。
I have (already) eaten. [present perfect]
*(もう)食べました is more common. See this question.

(まだ)食べていません。 / (まだ)食べていない。
I have not eaten (yet). [negative present perfect]

(もう)食べていました。 / (もう)食べていた。
I had (already) eaten. [past perfect]

For details, please read the following questions (the first one is the most important):

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