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Learn Japanese – How Would You Describe Your Past?

Learn Japanese – How Would You Describe Your Past?

Learn Japanese! This Japanese article might just be more than you expected. Seriously, if you want to say things such as, “This gift is more than I ever expected!” you’ll learn how to do it here. Also, if you have any questions about formal and informal Japanese, this is the place to look. In this Beginner Japanese article, discover the many ways to use Nakanaka, a Japanese adverb meaning “quite, considerably,” or “more than expected.” In addition, you’ll find a comprehensive review of formal and informal Japanese speech with the helpful charts included. Don’t miss the one important exception to the rule that you’ll only find here!

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

okaeri – “welcome back, welcome home”

Tadaima. – “I’m home.”

ryokoo – “trip, travel”

nakanaka – “quite, very, considerably”

tanoshii – “enjoyable, fun” (-i ending adjective)

samui – “cold” (-i ending adjective)

kimochi – “feeling”

tsuaa – “tour”

toshiyori – “the elderly, old people”

ooi – “many, a lot” (-i ending adjective)

hanasu – “to speak, to talk” (verb 1)

Roppongi – “Roppongi” (a town in Tokyo)

kurabu – “nightclub, club”

tsurete iku – “to take someone” (verb 1)

wakai – “young” (-i ending adjective)

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Useful Vocabulary and Phrases


Nakanaka is an adverb meaning “quite, considerably,” or “more than expected.”

For Example:

  1. Kono hon wa naka naka omoshiroi yo. “This book is quite interesting.”


Toshiyori means, “old people.” The honorific prefix o often precedes this word.

tsurete iku

In Beginner Series Season 4 Article 17, you learned the usage of the following words:

motte iku – “to take something along”

tsurete iku – “to take someone or an animal along”

motte kuru – “to bring something along”

tsurete kuru – “to bring someone or an animal along”

*The direction is marked with e or ni and the object is marked by o.


  1. Watashi wa paatii ni wain o motte ikimasu. “I’ll take wine to the party.”
  2. Watashi wa paatii ni kareshi o tsurete ikimasu. I’ll take my boyfriend to the party.

Iku vs. Kuru

Generally, iku corresponds with “to go,” and kuru corresponds with “to come” in English. However, we describe the action of the speaker approaching the listener with iku, not kuru.

For Example:

  1. Watashi wa anata no ie ni shichi-ji ni ikimasu. “I’m going to come to your place at seven.” (Literally: “I’m going to go to your place at seven.”)
  2. Ima ikimasu. “I’m coming.” (Literally: “I’m going.”)

Grammar Review

In this article, we’re going to learn more about formal and informal speech by reviewing the past form of adjectives.

“It was cold.”

Informal: samukatta.

Formal: samukatta desu.

“It wasn’t cold.”

Informal: samukunakatta.

Formal: samukunakatta desu.

We explained how to form the past tense of noun and adjective sentences in Nihongo Doojoo Newbie Series Style You and Beyond Articles 23 and 24. You have reviewed non-past adjective conjugations in Beginner Season 4 Article 29.

Conjugation of –i ending adjective: tanoshii – “fun”

Part of Speech / Informal Speech / Formal Speech

Non-Past Affirmative / tanoshii / tanoshii desu

Past Affirmative / tanoshikatta / tanoshikatta desu

Non-Past Negative / tanoshiku nai / tanoshiku nai desu OR tanoshiku arimasen

Past Negative / tanoshiku nakatta / tanoshiku nakatta desu OR tanoshiku arimasen deshita


Informal / Non-Past Affirmative / Past Affirmative / Non-Past Negative / Past Negative

Informal / ii / yokatta / yokunai / yoku nakatta

Conjugation of –na adjective: benri – “convenient”

Part of Speech / Informal Speech / Formal Speech

Non-Past Affirmative / benri da / benri desu

Past Affirmative / benri datta / benri deshita

Non-Past Negative / benri ja nai OR benri dewa nai / benri ja nai desu OR benri dewa nai desu OR benri ja arimasen OR benri dewa arimasen

Past Negative / benri ja nakatta OR benri dewa nakatta / benri ja nakatta desu OR benri dewa nakattadesu OR benri ja arimasen deshita OR benri dewa arimasen deshita

*Ja is a contraction of dewa and is less formal.

*nai desu is more direct than arimasen.

Practice 1

Rewrite the following sentences in the past tense without changing the politeness level.

  1. Tokyo wa omoshiroi. _____
  2. Hachii-gatsu wa atsui desu. (*hachi-gatsu means, “August,” and *atsui means, “hot.”) ______
  3. Samuku arimasen. ______
  4. Nihon-go wa kantan desu. (*kantan means, “easy.”) ______
  5. Watashi wa genki janai. ______
  6. Eigo wa kantan dewa arimasen. ______

Practice 2

Answer the following questions in Japanese.

  1. Kyoo, isogashikatta desu ka. (*isogashii means, “busy.” _____
  2. Kyoo, samukatta desu ka. _____
  3. Kono ressun wa kantan deshita ka. ____