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Lesson Four

Welcome to lesson four of a five lesson series. After daily activities you should go into past tense sentences.

Talking about what you ate yesterday

In this dialogue we use the past tense for the first time. In English, we use ‘ed’ after most verbs such as ‘walk’ that turns to ‘walked’ in the past tense. In Japanese, it’s ‘ta’ or ‘da’ depending on the verb. To make life easy, we will only focus on the ‘ta’ ending as this is the most common. In the example below we use the verb for ‘eat’ that is ‘taberu’ in Japanese.

However, before we begin, we must first understand the all important ‘masu’. This form just makes the verb sound more polite. Furthermore, to conjugate the ‘ru’ form of the ‘ru’ verb you have to drop the ‘ru’ and add masu. Now, let’s conjugate the ‘eat’ verb, ‘taberu’.

taberu + masu = tabemasu (Notice we dropped the ‘ru’).

Another aspect of the conjugation is the form masu. When it is used in the past tense it also has to be conjugated.

masu = mashi (Notice how the ‘su’ has turned into ‘shi’).

Now, lets conjugate the whole verb.

taberu + masu + ta = tabemashita

We will explore the three verb forms later but here’s a heads up of the three class of verbs.

Class 1 Verbs – a,i,u,e,o
Class 2 Verbs – ru
Class 3 Verbs – suru & kuru

Dialogue 1:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Kinou no yoru, nani o tabemashita ka?
Eeto, kinou no yoru desu ka? piza o tabemashita.
Hoka ni wa?
Eeto, aisu kurimu desu.
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
What did you eat last night?
Um, yesterday I ate pizza.
Anything else?
I also ate ice cream.

Asking what someone drank the night before

In this dialogue, we cover another very important verb conjugation, ‘desu’ – which generally means ‘is’. Here’s the conjugation break down for the past tense.

desu
deshi + ta (Notice how the ‘su’ turns to ‘shi’).
deshita

Dialogue 2:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
O sake wa nomimasu ka?
Ee, chotto.
Kinou wa?
Zenzen nomimasen deshita.
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Do you drink sake?
Yes, a little.
How about yesterday?
I didn’t drink anthing.

Making plans with another person
In this dialogue, we cover ‘ikimasen ka?’ meaning, ‘shall we go?’. Let’s look at the conjugation break down:

iku + masen + ka = ikimasen ka

Notice the verb ‘iku’ meaning ‘go’ has to lose its ‘u’ and have an ‘i’ instead.

Dialogue 3:
Kurata:
Pope:

Kurata:
Pope:

Pope san, kyou no gogo eega ni ikimasen ka?
Kyou no gogo desu ka? Kyou wa nan youbi desu ka?
Do youbi desu.
Jaa, daijoubu desu yo.
Kurata:

Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:

Mr. Pope, shall we go to a movie this afternoon?
This afternoon… What day is it today?
It’s Saturday.
Then, it’s okay.

Making plans for dinner

In this dialogue, ‘tabemasen ka’ meaning ‘shall we have dinner’ come to light again. Let’s break down the ‘ru’ verb form.

taberu + masen + ka = tabemasen ka

Notice how the ‘ru’ has been completely dropped. This is how you conjugate the class 2 verb form for ‘ru’.

Dialogue 4:
Pope:

Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:

Kurata san, do youbi issho ni yuugohan o tabemasen ka?
Eeto, do youbi desu ka? Do youbi wa chotto…
Sore wa zannen desu ne.
Demo, kin youbi wa daijoubu desu yo.
Pope:

Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:

Mrs. Kurata, shall we have dinner together on Saturday?
Well, Saturday is not good.
That’s too bad.
But Friday is okay.

Exchanging greetings

In this dialogue, we explore ‘ii tenki desu ne’ meaning ‘great weather, isn’t it.’ We notice the ‘desu ne’ at the end of this sentence that means ‘isn’t it’. In English we call it a tag question, something that is generally frowned upon by grammar and speech queens. However, in Japanese, tag questions are used all the time and are perfectly normal.

Dialogue 5:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Ohayou gozaimasu.
Ah, Pope san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Ii otenki desu ne.
Sou desu ne.
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Good morning.
Oh, Mr. Pope, good morning.
It’s nice weather, isn’t it?
Yes, it is.