Using Verb Plain Past Form (〜た)

    • Verb
    The た form refers to verbs ending in 〜た or 〜だ, like 食べた (ate), 飲んだ (drank) and 来た (came). Verbs ending in 〜た and 〜だ describe things that happened in the past, things that have been completed, and things that you have just realized.

    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.

    The past:

    • 本を買った。
    • I bought a book.
    • 昨日、映画を見た。
    • I watched a movie yesterday.
    • 2年前、日本に来た。
    • I came to Japan two years ago.

    Completed actions:

    • 日本語が上手になったね。
    • You've gotten really good at Japanese.
    • やっと分かった!
    • I've finally got it!

    Realizations:

    • あ、あった!
    • 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.

    • フグを食べたことがありますか。
    • Have you ever eaten blowfish? (polite)
    • フグを食べたことがある?
    • Have you ever eaten blowfish? (casual)
    • 日本にいた時、フグを食べましたか。
    • Did you eat blowfish while you were in Japan? (polite)
    • 日本にいた時、フグを食べた?
    • Did you eat blowfish while you were in Japan? (casual)