Table of Contents
What Is た?
Verbs in the past tense plain form end in 〜た. In contrast to the ました form, it does not show politeness. So when it is used at the end of a sentence, that sentence is casual rather than polite. You'll probably use it with friends and close acquaintances, and toward people who are younger than you or considered further down the social hierarchy for some other reason. The plain form is also used in formal writing when not directly addressing the reader.
This form can be used in the middle of sentences too. In this case, it doesn't show the level of politeness of the sentence. Instead, it gives information about the word or phrase that comes next. More about this later!
た for Talking about Past and Completed Actions
Verbs in this form are used to describe the past, things that have been completed, and things that you have just realized.
- I bought a book.
- I watched a movie yesterday.
- I came to Japan two years ago.
- You've gotten really good at Japanese.
- I've finally got it!
- Oh, there it is!
た in the Middle of Sentences
As we mentioned earlier, this form can also be used in the middle of sentences. In this case, it doesn't show the politeness level of the sentence, because politeness is usually shown at the end of a sentence.
- Have you ever eaten blowfish? (polite)
- Have you ever eaten blowfish? (casual)
- Did you eat blowfish while you were in Japan? (polite)
- Did you eat blowfish while you were in Japan? (casual)