The original title of


Sentences with strange/Incorrect(from English point of view) [Time conjunctive][Conclusive verb form] combinations and aspects/nuances reflected?

I read this thread:

How can this sentence using 次 be in the past tense?


As such, it's grammatically possible to say things in Japanese like 昨日起きるところで "yesterday just before I wake up" (the context is yesterday, and the speaker, at the point being described, has not yet woken), or 明日あの本を読みきれた後で "tomorrow after I finished reading that book" (the context is tomorrow, and the speaker, at the point being described, will have finished reading). English doesn't work this way, so just translating word-for-word might get you confused. It took me a while to wrap my head around this difference.

Considering the thread above, does any of these patterns exist? What aspect/nuance does each one reflect?:

  1. [Future time conjunctive][Past tense conclusive verb]:
    Tomorrow I woke up.
    Does something like 明日食べた. exist?

    + その会合は勉強に[ならない]。要するに時間の無駄[だった]。

  2. [Past time conjunctive][Future/Present tense conclusive verb]:
    Yesterday I wake/will wake up.
    Does something like 昨日食べる. exist?
    I found these examples:+ [困った時は]お互いに助け合って[いこうではありません]か。
    + 意見を求められたが、昨日の会議の内容が全然わからないので、答えようがない

  3. [Past time conjunctive][Command form verb]:
    Yesterday, wake up!
    Does something like 昨日食べろ. exist?

what aspect(or nuance) does each of the three cases reflect? Real example sentences are appreciated.

For example i don't know if:
(I) [遅く寝るより、早く寝た方がいいですよ。]= (II) [遅く寝るより、早く寝る方がいいですよ。] .
If they are the same then they have the same aspect(right?)
but in (I) i feel the nuance added is something like:'every time you go late to bed, in that time if you went early to bed it would be better'(right?).

  • Please make your question titles shorter and to the point. The technical details of the question should in the body of the text, not in the title. All your question titles are too long and too wordy. It would be better to have a short title which asks a CLEAR question.
    – kandyman
    Aug 1, 2020 at 17:30
  • @kandyman Could you please give me advantages of doing that for me, askers and responders? I might get more convinced like that. I was going to edit the question or let moderators improve it , once my question get an answer though. :/
    – raruna
    Aug 1, 2020 at 18:03
  • Please refer to the site guidelines on how to ask a question: stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask
    – kandyman
    Aug 1, 2020 at 18:19
  • 4
    Also please check this link: japanese.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask. Several of your questions already had answers and were marked as duplicates.It is common practice to research the site before asking your question, to make sure there is no answer yet.
    – kandyman
    Aug 1, 2020 at 18:32
  • your example sentences don’t all make sense. eg, “tomorrow i woke up”. what’s that supposed to mean? unless you’re a time traveler it really just sounds like someone getting basic english grammar wrong. and the same thing goes for “yesterday i wake up”. where are you getting these sentences from? why do you think they make any sense?
    – A.Ellett
    Aug 2, 2020 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like this question arose from a misunderstanding of tenses in the example sentence

昨日起きるところで (Link example)

from your link's answer.

The key is noticing that 起きる is a relative clause characterising ところで. Thus, this tense is unrelated with the overall sentence tense (which since 昨日 was used, has to be past).

So, do your patterns exist? Well, they do appear together but not in the way you're probably thinking. Let's see how.

  1. (Changed from 食べる to 買う since I couldn't find a meaningful example with the former) 明日買った makes no sense on its own.
    However, if I put it like 明日買った本を読みます it is perfectly fine. Why? Because 明日 is in accordance with 読みます while 買った is a relative clause characterising 本.
    Overall, I'm saying that "I'll read the book, which I bought yesterday, tomorrow."

  2. (I'm assuming you meant 昨日, not 今日. Also, changed the verb for the same reason as above) Again, if I use 昨日出かける on its own it makes no sense.
    But in 昨日出かける時、鍵を忘れてしまいました all is fine. 出かける is characterising 時, and 忘れてしまいました is in accordance with 昨日 so there is no incompatibility in the overall sentence.
    Overall, I'm saying that "When I left yesterday, I forgot my keys".
    Notice how there is no direct translation here. In English, you use "left", but in Japanese you use "出かける" since leaving takes place after forgetting the keys.

  3. Couldn't actually figure out what you meant with this one =(

Finally, regarding I and II, let me start by telling you that II is actually incorrect. According to the Genki textbook, when giving advice in the form ~ほうがいいですよ(normally written in かな) the tense of the advice is a bit peculiar.

When giving affirmative advice, like 早く寝る, the verb must come in the past short form. So, 早く寝たほうがいいですよ is the correct spelling.

Conversely, when advice are in the negative, negative short form is used instead. In your case, this would be 早く寝ないほうがいいですよ。

Hope this helps ^^


Regarding the 昨日出かける時、鍵を忘れてしまいました sentence. Originally, I intended to include an explanation of the tense usage, but was a bit long and not entirely relevant. In any case, detailed information can be found in the Genki II textbook.

To summarise it briefly, in a sentence of the form A 時、B, the tense in A indicates the time at which A took place relative to B. Here are two examples from the book.

I will get the visa issued when I go to Tibet.

When the action in A occurs after the action in B, A is in the dictionary form. In this case, you first take the visa and then go to Tibet.

I will buy oolong tea when I go to China.

Conversely, you use A in the short past when A happens before B. In this case, you first go to China, and then buy the tea.

Note that in both cases, the "overall" tense is given by the verb at the end, which both indicate future in this case. Both sentences can be put in the past (if you've already gone to China/Tibet) by simply changing 取ります into 取りました and 買います into 買いました. However, the relative order between events remains the same, so the tense in A is unchanged.

Regarding the advice, let's break it down fundamentally. First, you identify the particles: in this case, が marks the subject and よ merely adds emphasis at the end. Now, you need a noun before が, in this case ほう. 早く寝た is just a relative clause characterising ほう.

Generally speaking, relative clauses can be in any tense. Japanese writing usually employs really long clauses just to qualify a noun. Simple examples follow:

This is a book that I bought.

There is a person wearing glasses over there.

So, to put it bluntly, 寝た and いいです are not in the same clause. 寝た makes part of a relative clause that adds extra information, but is not necessary. Of course, if I just say ほうがいいですよ this is correct, but you'll probably ask me 何がほうがいいですか? To which I would respond, 早く寝たほうです.

As to why you only use the short past for affirmative advice with ほうがいいですよ, I'm afraid I don't have an explanation. Sometimes, it's just how things are.

  • I'm still not fully convinced about the 昨日出かける時、鍵を忘れてしまいました explanation... I mean why mustn't it be 出かけた時、鍵を忘れてしまいました instead?? ....doesn't 出かけた時 look fine from Japanese perspective?
    – raruna
    Aug 10, 2020 at 17:57
  • Also, in the link I attached, the answerer's sentences, tense markers and verbs seem to be included in the same clause, contrary to what you made them look like.
    – raruna
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:04
  • @Eiríkr Útlendi In 明日あの本を読みきれた後で(the sentence you gave as example) are 明日 and 読みきれた included in the same clause or is 明日 in the clause after 後で??
    – raruna
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:13
  • @Eiríkr Útlendi I hope this thread i made will make your point of view about aspects of strange 'tense mixtures' more clear.
    – raruna
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:19
  • @@Jak [早く寝た][ほうがいいですよ]. 寝た and いいです are in the same clause but use different tenses, what is the reason of this phenomenon?
    – raruna
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .