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Japanese is Possible!
Week 18

Part 18

  • Adjectives - Past Tense
  • Example Sentences
  • Words by Category

Adjectives - Past Tense

In Japanese, you simply add an ending to an adjective to make it apply to the past. In English, on the other hand, we say something was white.

If you wanted to say "The cat was white", you could say:

neko wa shiroi datta.

and you could get your point across. However, there is a better way to do it. It also happens to be the form that Japanese speakers would use.

-katta : The Past Tense Ending

Several weeks ago, we learned how to take (normal) adjectives and add the -ku ending:

shiroi - shiroku
osoi - osoku

Remember, this only applies to normal adjectives (that end in -i) and not Quasi adjectives. For a review on adjectives, please take a look at Week 11.


neko wa shirokatta.
cat (subject) was white
The cat was white.

How to use the -katta ending:

1) Take the adjective


2) Remove the final -i


3) Add -katta, and you're done!


There's another place you can use this ending! Any time you have -nai, you can change it to -nakatta to make it past tense.

shiroku nai - shiroku nakatta
isn't white - wasn't white

hayaku nai - hayaku nakatta
isn't fast - wasn't fast

dekinai - dekinakatta
can't do - couldn't do

Example Sentences

kimi wa osokatta zo!
you (subject) were slow !
You're late!

keiko no kao wa shirokatta.
Keiko ('s) face (subject) was white.
Keiko's face was white.

hayakatta yo!
(it) was fast !
That was quick!

neko wa kurokatta kara, nanimo dekinakatta.
cat (subject) was black because, nothing couldn't do.
Because it was a black cat, I couldn't do anything.

ano tokage no hara wa akakatta.
that lizard ('s) stomach (subject) was red.
That lizard had a red stomach.

Words by Category

I strongly recommend learning all of the words that you have seen in the "Popular Words" section of JIP. If there are some that you haven't learned, I suggest that you visit the archives, and add the "Popular Words" to your word list. These words are used in just about every Anime and video game.

However, below you will find "categories" of words that are not HALF as important. You can learn some of them if you want, but it's not critical that you do. I suggest that you learn the words that you might need. I DON'T suggest learning all of these words instead of more useful words.

It is sometimes convenient to have word lists by category. This is merely provided as a convenience, not a suggestion as to what words you should learn next.

Parts of the Body

Above the Neck

hana - nose
me - eye
medama - eyeball
kuchi - mouth
mimi - ear
kuchibiru - lips
kubi - neck
atama - head
ke - hair
hidai - forehead
hou - cheek
kao - face
ha - tooth

In the Middle

hiji - elbow
ude - arm
te - hand
tekubi - wrist (kubi = neck)
yubi - finger
oyayubi - thumb (oya = parent)
naizou - internal organs
shinzou - heart
mune - chest
hara - stomach
kinniku - muscle
hone - bone

Below the Waist

ashi - leg, foot
momo - thigh
sune - shin
hiza - knee
ashikubi - ankle
kotsuban - pelvis
ketsu - butt
ashi no yubi - toe
daichou - large intestine


kuroi - black
kasshoku - brown
akai - red
enshoku - orange
kiiro - yellow
midori - green
aoi - blue
murasaki - purple
haiiro - grey
shiroi - white
momoiro - pink
makka - deep red

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