I'm having trouble understanding the difference between 何かあるのですか。and 何かあったのですか。Are they both the same? Initially I thought that the former was present tense and the latter was past tense but I really don't know. It's confusing to me. Please explain...

  • 1
    Why do you think they are the same?
    – sundowner
    Aug 16, 2021 at 8:49
  • Do you understand the difference between ある and あった? Would you have understood the difference between 何かありますか and 何かありましたか? Tell us something about what you're able to make of this otherwise this question will most likely get flagged as a translation request.
    – A.Ellett
    Aug 16, 2021 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


あった is the past form of ある, so the difference is simple:

  • 何かあるのですか。
    Is there something?
    Is something going on?
    Will something happen?
    (Very literally: Is it that something exists?)
  • 何かあったのですか。
    Was there something?
    Did something happen?
    (Very literally: Is it that something existed?)

のですか/んですか/のか/の at the end of a question is for seeking clarification (known as explanatory-no). See this article and this question. のだ/のです/etc itself won't be in the past form even when you're talking about something in the past.

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