These are just some of the cool sentences we are going to learn today, all in the past tense in Japanese.
Today we are going to be looking creating sentences in the past tense as well as This lesson will be split up into 4 separate sections.

 BondLingo - YouTube Premium MemberShip

How to use past tense in Japanese

  • The Vocab
  • The Grammar
  • Sentences
  • Summary

The Vocabulary

  • せんしゅう Senshuu – Last week
  • きょねん Kyonen – Last Year
  • せんげつ Sengetsu – Last Month
  • とぶ Tobu – To Fly
  • ころす Korosu – To Kill
  • およぐ Oyogu – To Swim
  • まつ  Matsu – To wait
  • いう  Iu – To say
  • すわる  Suwaru – To sit
  • おどる Odoru – To dance

So first we are going to look at turning a simple “am” or “is” sentence into a “was” sentence.

So first you need to remember that

Desu です – becomes – Deshita でした
Da だ – becomes – だった

Let’s take a look at a sentence example.

This is my pen 
Kore wa boku no pen desu
This was my Pen 
Kore wa boku no pen deshita
Shota Sensei is a friend
Shouta sensei wa tomodachi da
Shota sensei was a friend.
Shouta sensei wa tomodachi datta

The Grammar

So its really easy to turn is and am sentences into past.
However, it’s not so easy to turn verbs into past tense in Japanese. Lets try and tackle this now. So as you may remember from the last lesson, Japanese verbs are split into 3 groups.

  • Group 1 : IRU/ERU Verbs – Verbs that end in IRU いるand ERUえる
  • Group 2 : Verbs in group 2 end with syllables ku (く), gu (ぐ), su (す), mu (む), nu (ぬ), bu (ぶ), u (う), tsu (つ), or ru (る). 
  • Group 3 : Is made up of only 2 verbs, Suruする and Kuru く

So depending on the group, the verb will conjugate differently into the past form. All duictionary form past verbs end with an “A” sounds so be mindful of this
We will start with the easiest group, group 1 – Iru + Eru verbs
To change this groupt to past tense in Japanese all you do is take off the “ru” and add “ta

(Eat) Taberu becomes (Ate) Tabeta
(See) Miru becomes (Saw) Mita

It’s that easy. However group 2 is much more difficult so we will come back to that and move to group 3 – suru and kuru
(Do) Suru becomes (Did) Shita
(Come) Kuru becomes (Came) Kita
For this group you only have to remember these 2 verbs, these guys are the exceptions.

Now onto group 2. As you know the endings are made up of many different U characters:
ku (く), gu (ぐ), su (す), mu (む), nu (ぬ), bu (ぶ), u (う), tsu (つ), ru (る).
Each of these characters have their own rules that you have to remember,

ku (く) becomes ita (いた)  eg - kiku – kiita = asked 
gu (ぐ) becomes ida (いだ) eg – oyogu – Oyoida = swam
su (す) becomes shita (した) eg - korosu – Koroshita = killed
mu (む) becomes nda (んだ) eg - nomu – nonda = drank
nu (ぬ) becomes nda (んだ) eg – shinu – shinda = died
bu (ぶ) becomes nda (んだ) eg – tobu – tonda = flew
u (う) becomes tta (った) eg – kau – katta = bought
tsu (つ) becomes tta (った) eg – matsu – matta = waited
ru (る) becomes tta (った) eg – suwaru – suwatta = Sat


Once you get used to these endings it does get easy and almost automatic, my advice is to write lists of the verbs you know and try and conjugate them into the past. The more you do it, the better you get.
So now lets take a look at some sentences to make sure we really understand how to use past sentences.

Last week I ate an apple
Last month I danced with my girlfriend
Last year I was a dog
I studied Japanese yesterday
I wrote a book

lets have a look at the summary for today.

In standard is/ am sentences 
Desu です – becomes – Deshita でした
Da だ – becomes – だった
To make was sentences

Depending on each verb group the ending of the verb conjugates differently
Make sure to practice writing out as many verbs as you can and conjugate them on paper or in your head.
Okay guys hope you enjoyed todays lesson and have a great day.

Learn Japanese Online with BondLingo

Study in Japan?