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I'm writing about a group of people disliking the act of choir.

I guess that my question generally would be talking about a certain thing from someone else's perspective; I think it could be [person] は [thing] が好きじゃいでした。

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  • What was the reason for choosing でした as the end of the sentence?
    – Leebo
    May 17 at 3:56
  • でした:a way for me to portray a past tense form.
    – Nick Lai
    May 17 at 4:09
  • @Chocolate I was asking because it doesn't seem to relate to the offered English sentence's grammar.
    – Leebo
    May 17 at 4:17
  • @Leebo ですよね。。 @Nick, what makes you think you need to use "a past tense form" here?
    – Chocolate
    May 17 at 4:19
  • "好きじゃいでした" looks like a typo to me, is that how you really intended?
    – Jun Sato
    May 17 at 4:51
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As you can see here, http://www.coelang.tufs.ac.jp/mt/ja/gmod/contents/explanation/036.html

negative form of ~です is ~ではありません
negative form of ~でした is ~ではありませんでした

In other words,

past tense form of ~です is ~でした
past tense form of ~ではありません is ~ではありませんでした

Alternatively, there are forms:

negative form of です is ~ではないです
negative form of でした is ~ではなかったです (not ではないでした)

So, if you want to say "[person] did not like [things]" in the polite form (丁寧体):

「[person]は[thing]が好きではありませんでした。」
「[person]は[thing]が好きじゃありませんでした。」(a bit more casual)
「[person]は[thing]が好きじゃなかったです。」(less common in formal situation)

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How should I express “somebody else is good at/bad at/dislikes/likes XYZ”?

As in, for example, "cats generally don't like getting wet"? Literally trasnlated, it would go something like: ふつう、猫は濡れることを好まない。

However, 苦手(にがて)may be the word you are looking for. The same can be said as:

猫は、ふつう泳ぐのが苦手だ。 Generallys speaking, cats don't swin well.

as an aside(since you mentioned "like"), 得意(とくい)is the opposite of 苦手 and they are frequently used together as bullet items.

犬は、ふつう泳ぐのが得意だ。 Generally speaking, dogs swim well.

得意科目は、算数です。 苦手科目は、英語です。

得意・苦手 are often used to describe how someone posess or lacks a particular skill set. In a conversation among violinists, one might say pizzicato is his/her 得意 or 苦手。

バイオリンは一応弾けますが、ピチカートは苦手です。 I play the violin but I'm not good at pizzicato.

嫌い(きらい) is also a candidate for your original question. Compared to 苦手、it implies dislike. にんじんは嫌い、注射は嫌い、etc. (I don't like carrots, I don't like shots)

猫は、濡れるのを嫌う。 猫は、濡れるのが嫌いだ。 Cants hate getting wet.

Here is a good disambiguation between 嫌い and 苦手。 I think this will help you.

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  • So just to recap, does ほんどクワーヤのメンバーはクワーヤが好きじゃないでした work in a similar way in a proper structure?
    – Nick Lai
    May 17 at 6:19
  • I guess it'd be gramatically correct, but something doesn't sound right to me. I can imagine someone saying 好きじゃないです。spkeaing about himself or herself, but In the past tense, about someone else, I can't pinpoint it, but 好きじゃないでした sounds horribly wrong to me. I'd suggest a rephrasing vs direct translation here, like this; 合唱団の中で、好きでやってる人なんてほとんどいなかった。 "In the choir, almot nobody was doing it because they liked it." Also, Choir is listed as クワイア、クワイアー、コワイア on Wikipedia. I suggest クワイア、or、合唱団。(合唱団)
    – Jun Sato
    May 17 at 11:30

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