Japanese made easy!

     Copula~    Present/past/negative/ past negative

Copula /Copula:Noun / Copula:Verb / Copula: i/na adj /

Formal Verbs / Informal verbs / I Adj / Na Adj / Noun

 This lesson is where to use the copula, and then about making sentences past tense, negative, and past tense negative.  

When going into the informal it gets pretty complex.. Don't worry too much about the informal right now.  Its actually an advanced lesson if you were in school.  However some how i could not keep from writing it in as well.  When learning Japanese as a beginner its best to learn formal first. Formal is tons easier and people like   people who are polite.

                                   Copula desu/da

 Being all technical won't really let you understand the copula.  Let me tell you a few technicalities then please forget them =D If you look up what a copula is, you'd know it means "is/am" ya.. that's nice.. o wells~ Don't think of it that way please.  This is Japanese made easy not Japanese made unnecessarily dumb.. ^^; that aside >=D

 There are 4 cases in which we need to look at to see if the copula is necessary. 

Please note this...  NOT EVERY "DESU です " YOU SEE IS THE COPULA!!!! 

The difference is a copula can be changed, how ever just a desu ですto make things formal can not be changed.

Watch the video on it lol ^^

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

                                  Copula : Noun

 Lets starts in a case where the copula is needed~  In all nouns after a noun that comes at the end of a sentence the copula is needed.  Now the copula is です/だdesu/da.  Desu ですis the formal sense and da is the informal sense.  So depending if you want to speak formal or informal you change the copula.  


それははこです/だ Sore ha hako desu/da - That is a box. 

わたしはさくらです/だ Watashi ha sakura desu/da - I am sakura

ここはにほんです/だ Koko ha nihon desu/da - Here is Japan

In all cases, you see that each sentence ends with a noun

A noun is a person, place or thing

はこ Hako means "box" and is a thing. 

さくら Sakura is my name and I'm a person.

Japan is a place.

 So since all end with a noun, the copula desu/da です/だ is needed.  Remember desu ですis just formal and da is just informal.  This copula is needed for the sentence to make grammatical sense. 

Click here to watch the video on Copula:noun

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

                        Copula : Verb

Verbs never use desu/da です/だ after them, whether formal for informal.  I read on Wikipedia that Japanese verbs have a "built in" copula.. what ever that means.. So basically you never add desu/da です/だ.  Easy huh?


がっこう に いきます/がっこう に いく Gakkou ni ikimasu/ Gakkou ni iku - I'm going to school

ほん を よみます/ほん を よむ Hon o yomimasu/ Hon o yomu - I'm reading a book

ごはん を たべます/ごはん を たべる Gohan o tabemasu/ Gohan o taberu - I'm eating rice

 In all cases here, they all end with a verb and none of them have the copula desu/da です/だafter them.

 Click here to watch the video on copula:verb

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

                   Copula : i/na Adjective 
 In Japanese there are 2 types of adjectives. 

The "i" adjective and "na " adjective. Adj is short or adjective.  

 I adj always end in an "i " however not all adj that end with an "i " are i adjs.

おもしろい Omoshiroi - interesting

おおきい Ookii - big

さびしい Sabishii - lonely

The words above are all i adj, however below end in i though are not i adj

きれい Kirei- pretty/clean

すてき Suteki - wonderful

ゆうめい Yuumei  - famous

When using an i adj at the end of a sentene you add "desu です" to make it formal.


So what does it mean that this desu です is not a copula? 

Well that means the desu です can't ever change, and can't become da .

Formal: Neko ha ookii desu - The cat is big


Informal: Neko ha ookii - The cat is big


Both mean the same thing, except one is more formal than another.  If you recall the nouns, in the case of a noun being at the end of a sentence if you wanted to make it informal you'd change the desu ですto da .  But this desu is not the copula.  So you just remove the desu です.  See no problem ^^;

It seems the more I learn Japanese and the more Japanese people I talk to the more confusing Japanese becomes ^^;

But don't worry guys >=D I'm going to study a bunch so that I can make a really good site.  


Click to watch the video on copula: i adj




 Click here for the video on Copula: na adj

Na adj are any adj that are not i adj.  they get their name from when you use a na adj connected to a noun to describe it, while adding "na" .


Hen is a na adj

へんな ひと Hen na hito - Weird person

Daiji is a na adj

だいじな もの Daiji na mono - Important thing

Now you only add "na " when its compounding the 2 words.  how to use na adj and not use "na " after it.  You can finish a sentence with a na adj.

そのひとはへんです Sono hito ha hen desu - That person is weird

このはなはだいじです kono hana ha daiji desu - This flower is important

If you end a sentence with a na adj there is no na after it.  However if you link na with a noun then there will be a "na " after the na adj.

Now na adj are fundamentally different then i adj.  In the case of a na adj this adj does use the copula desu/daです/だ.

それ は へん です Sore ha hen desu - Is weird

 Sore ha hen (da yo) - Is weird 

それ は へん だ よ

Both a grammatically correct, just when using desu です its formal and when using da it makes it informal.  

For using da at the end of a sentence to make it informal, sometimes you must put something after the da .  for example: yo, ne, zo , wa わ.

Sore ha daiji da ne - that is important isn't it?それ は だいじ だ ね

Kore ha yuumei da yo - This is famous you no~ これ は ゆうめい だ よ

Hanako san ha suteki da wa - Ms Hanako is wonderful~

はなこ さん は すてき だ わ

Kono saito ha hen da zo  - This site is weird.

                      この サイト は へん だ よ

Wa is just a female particle that is used at the end of the sentence. Its only used said by girls.

                                                                       ( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )
                                        Formal Verbs

In here I will show you present, past tense, negative, and past negative tense.

Formal verbs

Present tense

がっこう に いきますGakkou ni ikimasu – I going to school

Past tense

がっこう に いきました Gakkou ni ikimashita – I went to school

Negative tense

がっこう に いきません Gakkou ni ikimasen – I wont go to school

  Past negative tense

がっこう に いきません でした Gakkou ni ikimasen deshita  - I did not go to school




ません でした 



 With verbs there are stems and endings

いき Iki – stem           ました Masu – ending

When changing the form you change the ending.  The stem does not change.

When obtaining the stem  for the masu form you get it from the dictionary form

 There are 3 kinds of verbs.  “ru” verbs, “u” verbs and irregular verbs.

Each type of verb has different rules.

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )


  Ru Verbs


With ru verbs, all you do is take the dictionary form and then remove the ru .







U verbs

For u verbs you take the last letter and make it an “I".  though it must follow the chart of hiragana.  There are some exceptions.  You cant always simply change the last letter to an "i".  If you recall the hiragana chart the "shi " and "chi " are exceptions.  from su it goes to shi and from tsu it makes chi




There are only 2 irregular verbs

Dictionary form

Masu form




To do



To come

So that's all you need to know for making the formal verbs into present, past, negative, and past negative.   

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

                                    Informal Verbs

 Now lets learn how to make the verbs do that in informal.  

Present informal

がっこう に いく Gakkou ni iku - Im going to school

Past tense

がっこう に いた Gakkou ni ikita - I went to school


がっこう に いかない Gakkou ni ikanai - I wont go to school

Past tense negative

がっこう に いかなかった Gakkou ni ikanakatta - I didn't go to school



For present tense all you do is use the dictionary form.  You make no change.

Dictionary form = informal present form

いく Iku = Iku いく

かう Kau = Kau かう

する Suru = Suru する


 Past tense

 For past tense, there are rules you must follow

 For u verbs you need to determine the ending by the last segment. 

Words with the last segment as such, the last segment turns into the following.

To make ru verbs past tense, all you do is take off the ru and add "ta "

   み+    = 


 Here are the irregular verbs made past tense.


  する   した

  くる    きた

   ( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )



With the negative you must look at the u verbs, ru verbs, and irregular. 

  Regular negative U verbs~

When making an informal u verb negative, you take the last letter and make it an “a” then add “nai ”.  Though there are acceptations to this rule.  When at the end of a verb, it there are 2 vowels at the end. Instead of making the last one an “a” you make it a “wa”.

  Irregular U verbs~


 This is the irregular conjugation of u verbs to make them negative. See how these words all have 2 vowels at the end? That's how you know which are irregular. 




Ru verbs~

For ru verbs its very easy =D! All you  do take off the ru ^^ and add nai =D Don't forget there are similarity's between how to conjugate now and what we did before.  In all cases with ru verbs we just took off the ru .  Remember that ok? to make it masu ます form, past tense, or negative, you take off ru and add the needed ending. 


  Irregular verbs~

 These verbs don’t have a reason why they change.  Its just the way things are.  It’s a good thing there are only 2 verbs that are irregular huh ^^.



 Negative Past Tense

 For past negative sense, just remember everything you learned to make it negative, and change the “nai ” at the end to “nakatta なかった

 “Nai” is actually an I adj.

 When making it negative and past tense it does not matter what kind of verb it is because you are changing the ending.  So since nai is an I adj it just follows those rules.  You can but a desuです after any nai or nakatta なかった, but its not needed, it just makes it more polite.  

( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

                                             I adj

  Im going to run through the forms with a sample first ok =D

 Dictionary form : おおきいOokii (big)

Present form -おおきい Ookii

Past tense - おおきかったOokikatta

Negative tense - おおきくないOokikunai

 Past negative tense - おおきくなかったOokikunakatta

 Ok ok now ill explain them all :3

Past tense 
So you want to learn past tense huh? =o No? ^^; Ok then But for everyone else~ here ya go!
 Dictionary form :

おもしろい Omoshiroi (interesting)

Past tense form :

おもしろかった Omoshiro katta

When making an i adj past tense you take the last i off and add "katta".  

Omoshiroi -> Omoshiro -> Omoshiro katta

おもしろい -> おもしろ -> おもしろかった

               Takai - Taka katta (expensive)        たかい - たか かった

                 Chisai - Chisa katta (small)                ちさい - ちさ かった

               Uzai - Uza katta (annoying) ^^            うざい - うざ かった





  Negative Past Tense

If you want to do past negative correctly make sure you remember everything that is above. 

Dictionary form: くらい Kurai (Dark)

 Negative: Kurai -> Kura kunai

                          くらい くらくない

 Negative past: kura kunai -> Kura kuna katta

                    くら くない くらく なかった


 Present form

 The present form is the same as the dictionary form.  

Dictionary form : たのしい Tanoshii (fun)

Present tense : たのしいTanoshii

^^  Dont worry about formal and informal its very easy~

If you remember the copula adj way above.  All you do is add the desu at the end to make it formal.

Formal : さむいですSamui desu - Its cold

Informal : さむいSamui - Its cold


 Negative tense

Do you remember how we look off the last i?

<-------------- I just told you over there  ^^

    Now take off that same i and add     ku nai くない.

 Dictionary form :

あたらしい Atarashii

Negative form :

あたらし かったAtarashi kunai

        Atarashii -> Atarashi -> Atarashi kunai        あたらしい あたらし あたらしくない

 Chikai - Chika kunai

ちかい -  ちか くない

Hiroi - Hiro kunai

ひろい- ろ くない

         Hidoi - Hido kunai              

ひどい ひど くない


I'm sure I've said this a few times way above however, "nai " that makes things negative is an i adj.  That means you do the same thing to the nai as if you wanted to make something past tense.   

Ok Im going to break it down real slow...

<--- First you make the word negative. 

Then you make the nai past tense. remember "nai " (Negative) is a i adj.

        Dictionary : Nai 

Past tense: Na katta なかった

                                                                      ( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )
                                            Na adj

 Na adj are really similar to nouns in use exeptyou can take off the copula and it still make sense.

 Dictionary form : たいへんTaihen (Terrible)



The present form is simply the dictionary form with a copula.  Either formal or informal.

Formal: Taihen desu たいへん です

Informal: Taihen (da) たいへん



All you do here is alter the copula.

Desu です-> Deshita でした,    

  Da -> datta った

Formal : Taihen deshita たいへん でした

Informal : Taihen datta たいへん った


To make a na adj negative you add "ja nai じゃない" to the dictionary form.  Then you can add desu ですto the end to make it formal.  

              Formal: Taihen ja nai desu                 たいへん じゃ ない です

Informal: Taihen ja nai たいへん じゃ ない


Past negative

To make a na adj past negative sense, you take the negative form and then remember that nai is an i adj.  So you just make the nai    past tense.

Nai ない-> Nakatta かった

Formal: Taihen ja nakatta desu

たいへん じゃ なかった です

Informal: Taihen ja nakkata
たいへん じゃ なかった

                                                                       ( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )

 The only difference between conjugating na adj and nouns is that with nouns you MUST have a copula.

 Dictionary form : Hana はな (Flower)


Formal: Hana Desu はな です

Informal: Hana da はな



Formal: Hana Deshita はな でした

Informal: Hana datta はなった



Formal: Hana ja nai desu はな じゃ ない です

Informal: Hana ja nai はな じゃ ない


 Past negative


Hana ja nakatta はな じゃ なかった


hana ja nakatta はな じゃ なかった

<<; yet again.. Please don't forget nai ない is an i adj.. and what it means that an i adj is at the end of a sentence. 

                                                                       ( >ω<) Top (─▽─ )