Noun/Adjective, Verb and more Endings

I’m a noob at the grammar, have I got this right?

is = です
was = でした

isn’t = じゃないです
wasn’t = じゃないかった

is done = ます
was done = ました

isn’t done = ません
wasn’t done = ませんでした

there is = あります
there is not = ありません
it is = です
it is not = ではありません

Living beings:
they are = います
they are not = いません

I think じゃありません is more common, but じゃないです is not incorrect.

No い here. Also to fit with the others in terms of politeness it should be either じゃありませんでした or じゃなかったです.

This one doesn’t fit with the others in terms of politeness (it’s more polite). You would normally use じゃありません here.

Also overall I would recommend learning plain forms first (だ, だった, じゃない etc.)
because it’s easier to go from the dictionary forms to ます than the other way around.


Thank you for your response!
I have no idea about the politeness level on these. I started out on duolingo so I guess that’s why I’m so confused.
But I have a hard time reading large blocks of texts at a time, so I end up avoiding wikis. :s

I’ve heard mixed opinions about duolingo, people say that LingoDeer is better but I haven’t used either so you’d have to ask around. Then there’s also BunPro for grammar only, but that seems to be more of a complementary resource than a main source of grammar. I haven’t used this one either.

If you prefer videos to walls of text then CureDolly is highly recommended, but you would have to get used to the unique style of her videos. I’ve watched one or two of her videos and they seem fine.

You can see other recommendations in this thread. Try them out and see which ones work best.

1 Like has little articles about specific grammar topics, as does Tae Kim’s guide. If you don’t like sitting down to read, there are also grammar vids on YouTube that will walk through the same stuff. Duolingo is working great for me, but I know the grammar explanations can be pretty lacking.

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I believe I’ve looked at LingoDeer before, but it was very limiting.
I’ve looked at your link to Bunpro, it looks pretty good albeit I’m a bit disoriented as I’m new to it, but I guess I have a month there now.
CureDolly was…well, I don’t know, the voice changer was unsettling. ‘-’ Gomennasorry. I may check back on a variety of youtube channels I forgot about though.
Thanks for the links I will go through that list as well.

I’m definetely going through that imabi website. Thank you!

Definitely going to second this. I started with 〜ます forms, but went back to plain “casual” forms for studying grammar. It’s way easier that way. “Increasing” the politeness level when needed feels more natural.

@Gamar779043 looking at the initial translations from the first post, I think it might be worth starting grammar lessons from scratch :frowning: As @Jerred pointed out, Tae Kim’s guide to grammar is a good resource, especially because he breaks down the language into individual tangible components.


While not wrong, per se, this is kind of an oversimplifiation.

Basically, です is the copula in Japanese - the copula is a verb or verb-like object that goes where a more precise verb isn’t particularly needed. In English, the copula happens to be “to be” (i.e. “is”), but that doesn’t necessarily mean they directly correlate.

Well, there are schools of thought. If you’re going to Japan as a tourist, です/ます form is basically all you’ll ever need. But yeah, on the flip side, almost all grammar above the basic level hinges on plain form, sooo…


For consistency with じゃないです, you would want to use じゃなかったです for negative past. As others pointed out, there’s another way to do the negative past in roughly the same register, but the two you listed were of different registers (じゃないです is polite, じゃなかった is plain).


Yeah, thing is Tae Kim’s guide is a lot of big blocks of text. Imabi seems to be written in a way that’s easier for me to read, hopefully I can gain at least a foothold in there.

Edit: I take it back. For the past few days, I’ve been spending hours of my time to study Japanese just to learn incredibly unnecessarily pompous linguistic terms in english just so I could understand what I’m reading. lol

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Out of curiosity what would you consider to fall under this heading?

All I know is if I have to spend hours searching up these terms on several pages and then still have to ask someone I know what they mean because none of the pages explained it well just because they had to write “etymology” instead of “origin of words in [language]”, and just because every dictionary had to write " history of a linguistic form" instead of “origin of words in [language]”, is a lot of time wasted.

I never learned these words because it was never really explained in any easier terms, so I never got a grasp on any of them and that means I now don’t understand the explanation of the rest.

But I’m doing it anyway. Just that I’ll have to rewrite it in my own notes, and it feels very unnecessary because it’s taking time off of my time on ADD meds (they don’t last very long) when I just wanted to understand Japanese grammar better.

Yea, that’s a pretty eh example. Most people know what the word “etymology” means, it’s not at all a rare or obscure word.

But I’m also not sure why you’re just figuring out now that individual disciplines have their own words. Why even say the word “dictionary”? I had to waste time figuring out that you meant “book with words and their definitions inside of it.” .

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People who confuse “etymology” with “entomology” bug me in ways I can’t put into words.

What you need is Thing Explainer.


If a site dedicated to teaching grammar in an in-depth way isn’t the right place to use linguistics terms, what is?


Hehe an intentional pun? :bug:

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I don’t know where you got “history of linguistic form” from.

This community…

Oh man I might get that book.

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