I'm familiar with the てもいい form to ask for permission to do something in the future. For instance:

Is it okay if I eat the candy?


How would I ask if something I did already in the past was permitted? I thought to change いい to よかった but wasn't sure if that would have the right meaning. For example, I'd like to say:

Was it okay that I ate the candy?

3 Answers 3



Was it okay to eat the candy?

This is already grammatically correct, but it says nothing about whether the speaker actually ate it or not. If you need to tell you actually ate it, you can say something like:


Also note that いいか, よかったか and so on without です/ます are unrealistically blunt and impolite. Avoid it unless you can behave like a tyrant. In casual settings, you should use the rising intonation ("いい?" or "よかった?") instead of か.

  • 婉曲して言ったほうが日本人っぽくない?「お菓子を食べたんですが、ダメでしょう?」とか。
    – istrasci
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 2:09
  • 1
    @istrasci ダメでしたか is equally fine (neither is more euphemistic). 食べたんですがダメでしょう sounds stronge because it means you ate it knowing it was not allowed.
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 3:06

For the sake of this answer, your sentence

Was it okay that I ate the candy?

can be rephrased as

Was I allowed to eat the candy?

It doesn't change the meaning of the original sentence. You want to ask if eating candy was permissible.

The only grammar construction I can think of that suits your needs is [V-causative]+くれる. When you use this construction, it conveys the nuance that someone allowed/let you do something. For example, if you want to say that someone allowed you to eat, you say


Now back to your question, "Was I allowed to eat the candy?" can be understood in Japanese as


Hope it helps.

  • 5
    OP's intuition is more correct than this answer. You could arguably try to justify this construction from a grammatical POV, but the truth is 菓子を食べさせてくれた? sounds really really weird, and doesn't mean what you think it does. It's hard to explain, but some blind-folded bondage S&M food fetish situation comes to mind. The natural phrasing does in fact involve using よかった. Something like "ごめん… お菓子を食べてよかったのかな?"
    – Will
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 12:50
  • 1
    ...or the slightly "safer" version: お菓子を食べない方がよかったかな?
    – Will
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 12:58
  • It looks like I'm not qualified to answer this question at all since I don't have much experience. Should I delete my answer?
    – Jimmy Yang
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 17:44
  • @Will wouldn't that be お菓子を食べなった方がよかったかな? Such as, if you had actually eaten the candy and then thought "oops, maybe I shouldn't have".
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 19:39
  • @A.Ellett Not really. Or rather, both are possible, and mean the exact same thing. Interesting huh? See this survey result regarding そんなに飲まなかったほうがよかったのに! versus そんなに飲まないほうがよかったのに!
    – Will
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 6:23

As you suggested in your question, the past form of ~て(も)いい can be formed using the よかった. For example,

When I was I child, I was allowed to drink coffee.

So, I don't see a reason why this shouldn't work for your example.

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