1

If

あの子どもは、それを口に入れるや、吐き出した

is correct, is

あの子どもは、それを口に入れたや、吐き出した

also correct? If yes, has the meaning changed at all?

1

(Updated to fold in feedback from Chocolate in the comments.)

The や here appears to be a shortening of is equivalent to the や in the set construction ~や否【いな】や (~ ya ina ya, "as soon as ~"). The single や means roughly the same thing ("when ~, at the time of ~"). The や construction grammatically requires that the preceding verb be in the 連体形【れんたいけい】 (rentaikei, "attributive form" used to modify a noun), which in modern Japanese is identical to the so-called "plain form", "dictionary form", or 終止形【しゅうしけい】 (shūshikei, "terminal or conclusive form" used predicatively, such as at the end of a sentence).

Consequently, your second sample sentence would not be considered correct grammar.

When translating into English, we would indeed use the past tense form of the verb, such as "No sooner had that kid put it in his mouth, when he threw up." or, "That kid stuck it in his mouth and immediately puked.", etc.


Please comment if the above does not address your question.

| improve this answer | |
  • @Eirikr Could you give me more rules where a verb before some grammatical expression/in some grammatical pattern MUST be conjugated in the present even if it means the past(at least in English translation)???? I hope the question makes sense. – raruna Jul 30 at 0:57
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    @raruna, there are many of these, but I don't have them to mind -- nor can I think of an easy way to search for them. One example is ところ: if you're just about to do something, it's するところ; in the middle of doing it, it's しているところ; just finished doing it, it's したところ. Regardless of whether it's today, yesterday, or tomorrow. See also this other answer which goes into aspect (completedness of the action, within the temporal context of the sentence) versus tense (when the action occurred relative to the present). – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 30 at 6:42

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