皆様、こんにちにゃあぁ！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online. We’re your respective 先生, Kiki and Koko. As an individual who may be interested in learning Japanese language and culture in order to communicate in Japanese or to visit Japan or simply to expand your horizons, you probably find yourself focused on the future. Perhaps it’s your future goals on the bright skyline of becoming fluent in Japanese or the short term future goals of at least learning a few useful vocabulary words and grammar. But, looking at the past can be important as well. You can look back at your accomplishments or various milestones. You could even remember a time where you may not have even known a word of Japanese language! Maybe there is an event or experience that you wish to describe. 形容詞, keiyoushi, otherwise known as adjectives, are useful for describing nouns or clauses, of course. However, you can’t rely on other parts of the sentence to show the description is past tense. The utility solely lies with the 形容詞, keiyoushi. Everything won’t be in the present or future forever, as each second that passes becomes the past. So, it’s important to know how to express this past tense through your descriptions. And, today, we’ll be covering how to convert your adjectives into 過去形, kakokei, or past tense/form.
Talking of the past, the previous lessons will be essential to this lesson as it will familiarise you with the train of thought that goes into this sort of modus opperandi of Japanese grammar. Sometimes jumping into this sort of concept takes getting into the mindset to understand how the blocks are much easier to build upon rather than taking one piece from the tower which just leaves you with a mess. So, we definitely recommend having a look at those so you feel more comfortable with the categorisation and identification of different adjectives for conjugation.
While of course, these are essential to understanding adjectives, it’s actually a bit important to become familiar with most of the previous material as it really does assist you in the mindset as well as the pronunciation which is very important. We want to be sure to give you all the tools you need to succeed and to survive and thrive in Japanese language~! And, don’t feel any pressure to rush. Take as long as you need, return as many times as you like. We’re going to be here for as long as you require any hour of the day or night. Perhaps, you already feel comfortable with the lessons if you’ve been with us for a while, but even still, it’s always best to keep it fresh in your mind. You can find a lot of the grammatical groundwork in our section called: Japanese Language Learning Essentials. You’ll also want to pack a few of these in your survival kit: です、は、が、and を, as well as any of the other previous particles. Go ahead, have a leisurely stroll down memory lane or a first look to make some new memories. We’ll be forever waiting in the present tense.
Oh, good, you’ve returned! Welcome back! Or perhaps you’ve always been here? Either way, it’s definitely time to move on with the upcoming concepts of the past.
So, as you may remember, when conjugating, it’s important to identify the type of adjective as each type of adjective will be conjugated differently. Luckily, there are generally only two ways you have to remember to conjugate these. If you are comfortable with the previous conjugations, then this will be second nature. However, do not feel as though you have to be a master at even the previous lessons quite yet. Of course, it’s important to know what you’re doing and to have a good grasp, but it still may take a bit of exposure and practise before it feels natural. And, when it comes to another section we’ll introduce in this, it may be best to feel as though you have more of a grasp due to the advancements that will be made, as sometimes when you find yourself stuck on a previous concept, piling new ones on aren’t as helpful. But, for some, it can be another challenge that puts more pieces into the puzzle such as how these work and the thought process you have to use to conjugate these.
We’re going to go through these and introduce you to the concepts with examples as well as a general how-to. We’ll also answer a couple of commonly asked questions. But, without further ado, let’s jump right into it! Let’s NihonGO!!
I-Adjectives’ Past Tense | イ形容詞の過去形
(+ negative form’s past tense |否定形の過去形)
As you hopefully remember the previous lessons, you’ll recognise the modifier present in these adjectives. Conjugating these are quite different to the upcoming catch-all for na-adjectives. I-adjectives have their own special suffix that you use as a modifier no matter where it’s found in a sentence.
If you can conjugate テ形, tekei, or te form, and 否定形, hiteikei, otherwise known as negative form, then this will feel like a slightly more standard procedure for dealing with these kinds of adjectives. As per usual, you’ll remove the modifier, い, to be left with the stem or base of the word, and you’ll add the suffix かった, katta.
i→ kawai →kawai + katta →kawaikatta
(Cute → was cute)
Now, if you remember from the テ形, tekei, or te form, lesson, then you’ll remember that the negative form is actually a sort of i-adjective itself, even if it’s a na adjective turned negative. So, if you’d like to create a past tense form of an adjective turned to negative form, then you follow the same procedure:
i→ kowakuna →kowakuna+ katta → kowakunakatta
(Not scary → was not scary)
And, let’s have a quick look at one that was originally a na-adjective, but is conjugated as an i-adjective after changing to the negative form, as you’re only conjugating the very last suffix of it.
i→ taikutsu jyana+ katta →taikutsu jyanakatta
Which basically transforms it from ‘(It) is not boring’→ ‘(It) was not boring.’ So, again, things really do start to build upon each other, so if you’re not comfortable with the first conjugation, then you should definitely try to continue to familiarise yourself with it until it feels natural, as it really can be a bit of a leap mentally and conversationally being able to conjugate these in your head in real time. But, no worries, you’ll get there, eventually. It just takes a bit of time and effort. Just using a bit of each day, working on conjugation, can do wonders~! It’s a concept completely different to English, so always be sure to be patient with yourself when trying to absorb these concepts. We’re sure you can do it~!
Na-Adjectives’ Past Tense| ナ形容詞の過去形
So, we want to mention again that this covers ノ形容詞, nokeiyoushi, or no adjectives as well, as they’re treated in the same way as nouns in this case, as well. The procedure for this is different to i-adjectives, as rather than
When you’re creating a the past tense form of a na-adjective, or ナ形容詞, na keiyoushi, then if the modifier な is present, you drop it. Then, if you’re most likely starting with no modifier, you simply add だった, datta, if it is in a circumstance where casual or dictionary form is necessary or でした, deshita, if the basic polite form is necessary.
な）→ 平和+だった→ 平和だった
へいわ(な)→ へいわ+だった→ へいわだった
na) → heiwa + datta → heiwa datta
な）→ 平和+でした→ 平和でした
な)→ へいわ+でした→ へいわでした
na) → heiwa + deshita → heiwa deshita
So, this would mean it was peaceful. This has the benefit of being its own complete sentence due to the noun-like nature of this. In order to give you a bit more insight, these are also simply copula which we’ll discuss further in another lesson, and have introduced in a couple of others. But, basically, when you are practising this form, you’ll also have more practise with past tense basic noun based sentences.
The Special Case of いい
Remember our good friend いい that we explained in the previous lesson: Basics of Japanese Adjectives| | Negative Forms ? Well, they’re back! And, you should pay them some mind because the fact that いい, ii, is conjugated as its original 良い, yoi, will be important to its past tense form. When it comes to the past tense of いい, as well as other expressions containing いい, it has so many meanings that we will certainly have to focus on it in a lesson or two of its own. But, for now, we’re just going to keep things simple and introduce you to the way to conjugate いい.
So, いい, when changed to よい, is still an i-adjective, so it’s conjugated as such. You simply have to remember it in words that are part of this class of adjective which stands on its own such as in clauses and words like かっこいい, kakkoii, meaning cool as in something that looks cool. Let’s take a look at an example:
いい (良い)→よ+かった→ よかった
ii (yoi) → yo+ katta → yokatta
So, if you see it attached in this way, it would become:
い (かっこよ い)→かっこよ+かった→ かっこよかった
い（かっこよ い）→ かっこよ+かった→かっこよかった
i (kakkoyo i) → kakkoyo+ katta → kakkoyokatta
What do you do with multiple adjectives in past tense?
This is where your 「テ形」, tekei, training comes into play! So, when you’re listing adjectives that are negative form, which usually means that the entire list is negative form, according to the way sentences usually function, you actually use te form just as you normally would for non-past tense adjectives however the very last of the set is changed to past tense.
あの休みは 慌ただしくて 短くて つまらなかったです。
あのやすみは あわただしくて みじかくて つまらなかったです。
ano yasumi wa awatadashikute mijikakute tsumaranakatta desu.
That holiday was hurried, short, and useless.
What about Mixing Na-adjectives and I-Adjectives?
Even though this was mentioned in a previous lesson, we figured it was useful for this lesson to mention it in this context. You still adhere to the same rules for connecting multiple adjectives, but it’s just nice to mention that you have to mind the last adjective’s past tense form, as well.
このりょこうは やすらかで たのしくて ゆうちょうでした。
kono ryokou wa yasuraka de tanoshikute yuuchou deshita.
This trip was restful, pleasant, and easy-going.
And, with that, you have the basic tools you need to create some fairly detailed basic sentences! However, simply immediately being able to use these may not be a realistic goal, but rather, after returning and revising/reviewing, as well as practising with them should give you the results of which you are looking. These concepts are obviously quite different to English, so be patient with yourself, and try to look at these from a different perspective. Your future goals can be set now, but soon, they’ll be in the past. And, you should celebrate these past goals to keep the present in perspective, and perhaps even motivate you for the future. Take it one step at a time, and enjoy these steps, because, again, they’ll soon be but a memory, but hopefully a memory you can use to enrich your Japanese language survival skills.
Remember, if you do have any questions about these, feel free to leave a comment! (Or, even practise your past tense adjectives.)
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