Japanese Grammar – Plain Past Verbs

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Japanese Grammar – Plain Past Form of Verbs – Review Notes

As we learned in our last Japanese grammar lesson, there are 3 types of Japanese verbs.

In today’s grammar lesson, we learned how to change verbs in each of the 3 verb classes from Plain Present to Plain Past, also known as the ta-form.

In these video review notes we will go over today’s Japanese grammar in greater detail and see a list of verbs!

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Today’s Grammar Lesson:

today

 Today we will learn how to change verbs from plain present form to plain past form, also known as た-form (ta-form).

3 types of verbs

 We learned last time that there are 3 classes of Japanese verbs:

 う-verbs (u-verbs)

 る-verbs (ru-verbs)

 irregular verbs

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Changing う-verbs (u-verbs) to た-form

u-verbs

 The first type of Japanese verbs is called う-verbs (u-verbs).

 う-verbs (u-verbs) can end in う (u), つ (tsu), る (ru), む (mu), ぬ (nu), ぶ (bu), く (ku), ぐ (gu), or す (su)

 Depending on which ending the う-verb (u-verb) has, there are different ways to conjugate it.

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う-verbs that end in う (u), つ (tsu) or る (ru)

u-verbs ending in u, tsu, or ru

 For u-verbs that end in う (u), つ (tsu), or る (ru), you should change the ending to った (tta)

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Example 1: Verb ending in う (u)

arau

 洗う (あらう – arau) – wash/will wash – changes to 洗った (あらった – aratta) – washed.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

後でお皿洗うつもりです。

Ato de osara o arau tsumori desu.

I intend to wash the dishes later.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

彼はもう洗ったと思います。

Kare wa mou aratta to omoimasu.

I think he already washed (them).

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Example 2: Verb ending in つ (tsu)

tatsu

 立つ (たつ – tatsu) – stand / stand up – changes to 立った (たった – tatta) – stood / stood up

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

立つな!

Tatsu na!

Don’t stand up!

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

赤ちゃんが立った

Akachan ga tatta.

The baby stood up.

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Example 3: Verb ending in る (ru)

okoru

 怒る (おこる – okoru) – to get angry – changes to 怒った (おこった – okotta) – got angry.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

お母さんはすぐ怒る。

Okaasan wa sugu okoru.

My mom is quick to get angry.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

お父さんが怒った

Otousan ga okotta.

My dad got angry.

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う-verbs that end in む (mu), ぬ (nu), ぶ (bu)

u-verbs that end in mu, nu, or bu

 For u-verbs that end in む (mu), ぬ (nu), or ぶ (bu), you should change the ending to んだ (nda)

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Example 1: Verb ending in む (mu)

yomu

 読む (よむ – yomu) – read/will read – changes to 読んだ (よんだ – yonda) – read (past).

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

私は毎日新聞読む。

Watashi wa mainichi shinbun o yomu.

I read the newspaper every day.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

今週本を3冊読んだ。

Konshuu hon o sansatsu yonda.

I read 3 books this week.

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Example 2: Verb ending in ぬ (nu)

shinu

 死ぬ (しぬ – shinu) – to die/will die – changes to 死んだ (しんだ – shinda) – died.

 It is best to avoid using these words as much as possible. It is better to use the words 亡くなる (なくなる – nakunaru) – pass away – or 亡くなった (なくなった – nakunatta) – passed away.

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Example 3: Verb ending in ぶ (bu)

asobu

 遊ぶ (あそぶ – asobu) – play/will play – changes to 遊んだ (あそんだ – asonda) – played.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

友達と遊ぶ。

Tomodachi to asobu.

I will play with my friend.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

一人で遊んだ

Hitori de asonda.

I played by myself.

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う-verbs that end in く (ku)

u-verbs that end in ku

 For u-verbs that end in く (ku) you should change the ending to いた (ita)

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Example: Verb ending in く (ku)

tsuzuku

 続く (つづく – tsuzuku) – continue/will continue – changes to 続いた (つづいた – tsuzuita) – continued

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

次のページへ続く。

Tsugi no pēji e tsuzuku.

I will continue to the next page.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

雨が降り続いた。

Ame ga furi tsuzuita.

Rain continued to fall.

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う-verbs that end in ぐ (gu)

u-verbs that end in gu

 For u-verbs that end in ぐ (gu) you should change the ending to いだ (ida)

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Example: Verb ending in ぐ (gu)

oyogu

 泳ぐ (およぐ – oyogu) – swim/will swim – changes to 泳いだ (およいだ – oyoida) – swam.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

私は毎日3キロ泳ぐ。

Watashi wa mainichi sankiro o oyogu.

I swim 3 kilometers every day.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

昨日海で泳いだ。

Kinou umi de oyoida.

Yesterday I swam in the ocean.

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う-verbs that end in す (su)

u-verbs that end in su

 For u-verbs that end in す (su) you should change the ending to した (shita)

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Example: Verb ending in す (su)

naosu

 直す (なおす – naosu) – to fix/repair – changes to 直した (なおした – naoshita) – fixed/repaired.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

壊れたテレビを直す。

kowareta terebi o naosu.

I will fix the broken TV.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

私のコンピュータ直した人です。

Kare wa watashi no konpyūta o naoshita hito desu.

He is the person who fixed my computer.

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An Exception to U-verb Rules:

exception iku

 An exception to the rules is the verb 行く (いく – iku) – to go.

 It ends in く (ku) so if you follow the normal rules it would change to 行いた (iita), but this is not correct. The past tense of 行く (いく – iku) is 行った (いった – itta).

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Changing る-verbs (ru-verbs) to た-form

ru-verbs

 The second group of Japanese verbs are called る-verbs (ru-verbs).

 る-verbs (ru-verbs) are always simple.

 To change a る-verb (ru-verb) to Plain Past form, just take off る (ru) and add た (ta)

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Example 1: 見る (miru)

miru

 見る(みる – miru) – to see/watch changes to 見た (みた – mita) – saw/watched

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

私は毎日テレビ見る。

Watashi wa mainichi terebi o miru.

I watch TV everyday.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

その映画はもう見た

Sono eiga wa mou mita.

I already saw that movie.

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Example 2: 教える (oshieru)

oshieru

  教える(おしえる – oshieru) – teach/will teach changes to 教えた (おしえた – oshieta) – taught.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

私は子供日本語教えるつもりです。

Watashi wa kodomo ni nihongo o oshieru tsumori desu.

I intend to teach Japanese to my children.

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

私は子供日本語教えた

Watashi wa kodomo ni Nihongo o oshieta.

I taught Japanese to my children.

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Example 3: 落ちる (ochiru)

ochiru

  落ちる(おちる – ochiru) – to fall – changes to 落ちた (おちた – ochita) – fell.

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Example Sentence Plain Present:

落ちる!

Ochiru!!

I’ll fall!!

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Example Sentence Plain Past:

石が落ちた

Ishi ga ochita.

A rock fell.

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Changing Irregular Verbs to Plain Past

irregular verbs

 There are only 2 irregular verbs in Japanese:

 来る(くる – kuru) which means ‘to come’

 する (suru) which means ‘to do’

shita kita

 来る (くる – kuru) changes to 来た(きた – kita) – came

 する (suru) changes to した (shita) – did

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List of Japanese Verbs in Plain Past Form:

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List of some common う-verbs in た-form:

会った  あった   atta         met

騙した  だました  damashita    tricked

選んだ  えらんだ  eranda     chose

太った  ふとった  futotta    gained weight

頑張った がんばった ganbatta   did (one’s) best

入った  はいった  haitta       entered

話した  はなした  hanashita     talked

払った  はらった  haratta       payed

光った  ひかった  hikatta       shined

買った  かった   katta        bought

聞いた  きいた   kiita         listened

守った  まもった  mamotta      protected

待った  まった   matta         waited

持った  もった   motta         had

泣いた  ないた   naita          cried

思った  おもった  omotta         thought

使った  つかった  tsukatta       used

動いた  うごいた  ugoita        moved

歌った  うたった  utatta         sung

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List of some common る-verbs in た-form:

開けた  あけた   aketa       opened

褒めた  ほめた   hometa   praised

入れた  いれた   ireta      put in

考えた  かんがえた kangaeta   thought

借りた  かりた   karita      borrowed

片付けた かたづけた katazuketa  tidied up

数えた  かぞえた  kazoeta   counted

消えた  きえた   kieta     disappeared

聞こえた きこえた  kikoeta   heard

答えた  こたえた  kotaeta   answered

見せた  みせた   miseta     showed

捨てた  すてた   suteta      threw away

助けた  たすけた  tasuketa    saved/helped

足りた  たりた   tarita    was enough

疲れた  つかれた  tsukareta  got tired

忘れた  わすれた  wasureta   forgot

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Next Grammar Lesson:

next lesson

 Next time we will learn how to make the Plain Negative Past Tense of verbs!

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2 comments

  1. I don’t know when to use this tense. I thought the past tense was formed with 「ました」and 「ませんでした」。I am kinda lost and don’t know when to use which. And uhe た~form has no negative form? can this form be used as a の~adjetive as : 開けたのとびら?Thanks, I appreciate what you do.

    Comment by 花小 on 04/13/2014 at 4:20 am
  2. There is a negative form of the plain past verbs: Instead of た (ta) you use なかった (nakatta). For example 食べた (tabeta – ate) changes to 食べなかった (tabenakatta – didn’t eat). There are many cases when you might use the plain form instead of the polite form (ました and ませんでした). But, if you are just starting out with Japanese grammar, it might be better to stick with the polite form until you are ready.

    Basically, the plain form is used in casual situations and the polite form is used in formal situations. However, you can also make this negative plain form (なかった) into a polite form by adding です to the end. When you do this, it is the same as using ませんでした.

    Check this lesson to learn more about the negative plain form of verbs: https://www.punipunijapan.com/japanese-verbs-plain-past-negative/

    Comment by PuniPuni on 04/14/2014 at 5:26 am

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