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Saying "I have/have not (done that)"

Discussion in 'Learning Japanese' started by Katjov, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    #1 Katjov, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    Hi there
    I've been wondering how one would say "I have/have not (done that)" in Japanese. For example:
    A: "Have you eaten my lunch?"
    B: "I have not"
    I've come across the phrase "shitenai" (or "shittenai" as I'm not sure how you spell it) which apparently translates to "I have not". The problem is that I don't know how it is derived. Could someone tell me how it's been derived from the verb "suru"?

    *EDIT*
    I have thought about it for a moment and tried a few combinations on google translate with a few verbs. Turns out that you can say "I have not (done) xxx" by conjugating the verb into its TE-form and adding "nai". I'm still confused though on how you'd say "I have (done) xxx" (e.g "I've have seen it"). Would you simply conjugate the verb into past tense? If not, then please tell how I'm supposed to conjuagte it
     
  2. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    A: 僕の昼ご飯食べた?
    B: 食べてないよ。
    As you can see above, the past form is used in the question, whereas -te iru form (食べてない is the casual negative form of 食べている) is for the answer. It depends on the context, types of the verb, temporal adverbs, etc. which form should be used. Textbooks usually use several chapters to explain this grammatical issue. Tae Kim's site just mentions a summary.
    Other uses of the te-form | Learn Japanese

    And here's a related thread
    何か変 / ちょっとしたこと / って / そうなのよ / セーブしてなかった | Japan Forum
     
  3. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    In that case, do you know about any online Japanese grammar guide/site that explains when you're supposed to use which, as the related thread, as helpful as it may be, doesn't provide sufficient explanation.
     
  4. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    http://www.imabi.net/teiru.htm

    The best way is to buy a decent textbook such like Genki. Note that the -te iru form is one of the hardest issues in Japanese grammar to grasp for non-native learners. It's not that simple to be able to understand just by reading free on-line materials.
     
  5. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    #5 Katjov, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
    Thank you very much. Along the way, I've found a pdf version of (link removed) so I think it'll be a good supplement
     
  6. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    What you are going to do is piracy. It's absolutely illegal.
     
  7. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    Well then, there goes £50 quid on a hardback copy... I suppose you'll have to excuse me for my lack of knowledge on the subject
     
  8. Majestic

    Majestic 先輩

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    Another way to look at this is: why do we have such a thing as present-perfect tense in English in the first place? What is the difference between
    I didn't eat lunch
    I haven't eaten lunch

    They actually mean the same thing. The only difference is a subtle inference that you may still eat lunch at some point in the future. But it is just a subtle difference, and neither sentence negates the possibility that you still might eat lunch at some point.

    So going back to your original question, you are almost saying: how can I force the Japanese language to conform to the English template that is in my head? The answer is; get rid of the template, because it only hinders your progress.
    Did you eat my lunch?
    No I did not?
    is the basic structure you should be looking for. If you throw a sentence with a present-perfect tense into a language that has no present-perfect tense, your outcome will always puzzle you until you realize the present-perfect tense was the source of the problem, not the Japanese outcome.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    In that case, why isn't 'tabenakatta' the answer to the question in some way shape or form, as it literally translates to 'did not eat'? Toritoribe translated it into 'tabetenai', but still (even with the help provided) I don't understand why you'd use the negative progressive form of taberu; I get the idea that it's set by context and other variables, but in the set example I still can't find a single reason for the use of that form. Meaning-wise, is there a difference between 'tabetenai' and 'tabenakatta'? Also, is there a difference between 'tabetenai' and 'tabeteinai', or is the 'i' being omitted to add casualness to it?
     
  10. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    The thread I linked above is exactly about this topic. You can see that we were also talking about ~ている/てる in the thread.
    I found another thread of the same topic.
    Trying to Make Sense Out Of Adjective/Verb Conjugations | Japan Forum

    食べなかった just expresses that you didn't eat it at a past time. It can mean you actually ate it later in an extreme case.
    e.g.
    A: 昨日僕の昼ごはん食べた?
    Did you eat my lunch yesterday?
    B: 昨日は食べなかったけど、さっき食べた。
    I didn't eat yesterday, but I ate it just now.

    On the other hand, 食べて(い)ない is the present state resulting from the past action "didn't eat", thus, "didn't eat and haven't eaten even now". That's the reason 食べて(い)ない is more common as the answer in that situation.
     
  11. Majestic

    Majestic 先輩

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    In some way, shape, or form it is a possible answer to your question. It's just not the best or the most natural sounding answer to your question. Your question was specific to present-perfect tense, but this tense doesn't exist in Japanese, and so Japanese verbs cannot be conjugated into a tense that doesn't exist. All we can do is approximate the ambiguity and potential that is embedded in the present perfect tense.
    What I was hoping to do was to show you that sometimes the reason the peg doesn't fit neatly into the hole, is because the peg (or the hole) is the wrong shape. Apologies if I made it more confusing. It is a specialty of mine.
     
  12. Katjov

    Katjov Kouhai

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    Thank you very much for the reply. So essentially, the tense used is based on ambiguity and context. If that's the case then I think I understand how it is to be used. Thank you for all your help
     
  13. AmerikaJin5

    AmerikaJin5 Sempai

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    I find it's helpful for myself to think of the present-tense verbs as being open to future intentions.
    食べる/食べない means "to eat/not eat" or in terms of real meaning "I will eat/not eat". The past-tense 食べた/食べなかった refers to a specific time/instance meaning "I ate/did not eat". The progressive form 食べてる/食べてない means "I am eating/not eating" or likewise "I have been eating/not been eating". The past-progressive form 食べてた/食べてなかった is the same except past-tense, meaning "I was eating/not eating" or also "I had been eating/not been eating".
    Keeping that in mind, think about the context of the sentence when deciding which to choose for the English equivalent. As @Majestic@Majestic said, some conjugations just do no transfer. However, we can still figure out what sounds strange or natural.

    For example, to answer the question "Did you eat my lunch/Have you eaten my lunch?" we would answer "I have not/I did not". To answer in Japanese with 食べなかった sounds like you refer to a specific instance, when although it's true that you didn't eat it, perhaps you only didn't because you missed your chance etc. :emoji_wink: It gives no indication that you are innocent, per se. 食べてなかった also sounds like a specific time period in which you had not eaten the lunch; it says nothing about the present or future, either. 食べてない on the other hand, expresses that you have not eaten the lunch (at any time period pertaining to the current situation), and furthermore you have no intention of eating it (even if you had the chance).

    On the other hand, imagine a scenario where your friend asks "did you try that matcha cake at the restaurant last night?" then you would answer 食べなかった because it refers to a specific time/instance, and perhaps you intended to eat it, or you would like to eat it in the future, so this answer makes more sense than 食べてない.

    I hope that makes sense.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1

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