In this lesson we will go a step further in speaking of days by introducing the notions of past and future.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
You have seen in our previous lesson that 今日 (きょう) [kyo~] means today, here is how to say yesterday, tomorrow…
|一昨日||おととい||ototoi||The day before yesterday|
|明後日||あさって||asatte||The day after tomorrow|
Before we can carry on asking questions such as “What day will it be tomorrow?” or “What day was it yestetday?” we need to see quickly how these tenses are built in Japanese.
Past is built by using the -ました [-mashita] verb stem. In this form, です [desu] /to be/, which is a non conventional verb, becomes でした [deshita] /was/.
So “What day was it yesterday?” is said:
And if we are on Saturday for instance the answer will be:
/Yesterday was Friday./
Or more casually:
/It was Friday./
Present and Future
The present is expressed by using verbs with a -ます stem. This is the form at which です is already.
And to make things simple for once, thee does not exist a future conjugation form in Japanese. The notion of future is expressed by using a word expressing future (such as “in one hour”, “tomorrow”, “next year”…) plus à verb at its present conjugation form.
Therefore to ask “What day will it be tomorrow?” one will say:
/Tomorrow will be Sunday./
As stated in our lesson on The Particles は and が, the topic of the sentence can be dropped if there is no risk of ambiguity. Therefore in the context of the previous question, we could have simply answered:
/It will be Sunday./
Now, let’s practice what we have just learnt:
きのう は かようび でした。
kino~ wa kayo~bi deshita.
あさって は きんようび です。
asatte wa kinyo~bi desu.
That’s it. We are finished with this lesson. Next we will learn the last pieces needed to fully master time: dates and then years.