Learn Japanese – How Would You Describe Your Past?

Learn Japanese! This Japanese item might be more than you bargained for. Seriously, if you want to say things like “This gift is more than I expected!” you will 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 Japanese for Beginners article, discover the many ways to use Nakanaka, a Japanese adverb meaning “quite, considerably” or “more than expected.” Also, you will find a comprehensive review of formal and informal Japanese speaking with helpful charts included. Don’t miss out on the one major exception to the rule that you’ll only find here!

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

okaeri – “welcome back, welcome home”

Tadaima. – “I’m home.”

ryokoo – “outward journey”

nakanaka – “quite, much, considerably”

tanoshii – “pleasant, amusing” (-i final adjective)

samui – “cold” (adjective final -i)

kimochi – “feeling”

tsua – “route”

toshiyori – “the elders, the elders”

ooo – “many, much” (-i final adjective)

Hanasu – “speak, speak” (verb 1)

Roppongi – “Roppongi” (a town in Tokyo)

kurabu – “disco, club”

tsurete iku – “take someone” (verb 1)

wakai – “young” (adjective final -i)

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

Vocabulary and useful 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 “elderly”. The honorific prefix either often precedes this word.

tsurete iku

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

iku speck – “take something”

tsurete iku – “carry someone or an animal”

motte kuru – “take something”

tsurete kuru – “a carry someone or an animal”

*The address is marked with me either not and the object is marked by either.


  1. Watashi wa paatii ni wain or motte ikimasu. “I’ll bring wine to the party.”
  2. Watashi wa paatii ni kareshi or tsurete ikimasu. I’m taking my boyfriend to the party.

Iku against kuru

Usually, iku corresponds to “to go”, and kuru corresponds to “to eat” 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 neither shichi-ji nor ikimasu. “I’m going to your house at seven.” (Literally: “I will come to your house at seven”).
  2. I am ikimasu. “I’m going.” (Literally: “I’m leaving”).

Grammar review

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

“It was cold.”

Informal: samukatta.

Formal: samukatta desu.

“It was not cold”.

Informal: samukunakatta.

Formal: samukunakatta desu.

We explain how to form the past tense of sentences with nouns and adjectives in Nihongo Doojoo Newbie Series Style You and Beyond, articles 23 and 24. You have reviewed the conjugations of adjectives that are not from the past in article 29 of season 4 for beginners.

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

part of speech / Informal Speech / formal speech

No Past Affirmative / tanoshii / tanoshii desu

past affirmative / tanoshikatta / tanoshikatta desu

No Past Negative / tanoshiku nai / tanoshiku nai desu EITHER tanoshiku arimasen

past negative / tanoshiku nakatta / tanoshiku nakatta desu EITHER tanoshiku arimasen deshita


Informal / No Past Affirmative / past affirmative / No Past Negative / past negative

Informal / I / yokata / yokunai / yōku nakatta

Conjugation of –n/a adjective: benri – “convenient”

part of speech / informal speech / formal speech

No Past Affirmative / benri da / benri desu

past affirmative / benri datta / benri deshita

No Past Negative / benri ja nai EITHER benri dewa nai / benri ja nai desu EITHER benri dewa nai desu EITHER benri ja arimasen EITHER benri dewa arimasen

past negative / benri ja nakatta EITHER benri dewa nakatta / benri ja nakatta desu EITHER benri dewa nakattadesu EITHER benri ja arimasen deshita EITHER benri dewa arimasen deshita

*Yes is a contraction of dewa and it is less formal.

*nai desu is more direct than arimasen.

Practice 1

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

  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. ____

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