I was watching an anime and the character said something along the lines of "のど乾{かわ}いたね~".

This would mean something like "I'm thirsty" (looking at the previous dialogues, this was pretty obvious.), but I thought the た at the end would make it past tense, but then it wouldn't make sense making it "I was thirsty" when the character was clearly talking about the present. So I was wondering if the た is a particle and have other meanings other than just making something past tense.

Is this also because the Japanese used doesn't actually translate straight into "I'm thirsty" but more "My throat is dry" if we translate it word for word.

Would be cool if you could give some other examples of how to use this.

1 Answer 1


The verb 乾く describes a change of state (to get dry) rather than a lasting state (to be dry). Therefore, when used in the present tense, it means such a change either happens usually, as opposed to at a specific point of time, or will happen sometime in the future. The た-form in your example indicates that such a change has recently happened and the throat has come into a state of being dry as a result. You can understand this た-form as a marker of perfect aspect.

The literal translation would be:

(lit.) My throat has (just) dried.

If you want to strictly describe a current state, you could use the ている-form.

(lit.) My throat is dry.

However, this doesn’t say you have rencetly come into that state and is probably inappropriate in your scenario.

The usage of the た-form in the following example is similar as the verb わかる also describes a change of state (of mind).

I understand.
(lit.) I have (just) understood.

The following sentence with the ている-form, in contrast, sounds as if you are telling the speaker they don’t have to tell what they are telling because you already know it.

I know.


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