Question about verbs to qualify nouns that I cant find an answer to :(

I am using this website along with the Genki Textbook.

I come upon this question that even my wife (Japanese) can’t understand why one is correct and not the other. Here is the question:

a jacket Michael Jackson (マイケル・ジャクソン) wore




It says the answer is C with the Te and past short form. I would think that A would be ok being that all the other questions just use past simple form. Perhaps its because he continually wore it? Any help is greatly appreciated! Here is another question for perspective.

a piano Beethoven (ベートーベン) played




The answer is A. Past simple past. But why is the hat michael wore ていた


I think it translates weirdly into English because the verb 着る can be wear in the sense of “to put on” and I think if you think of it like that it becomes a little clearer.
The sense changes depending on conjugation, more or less.

マイケル・ジャクソンが着たジャケット sounds like “the jacket Michael Jackson put on” (which sounds like he’s still wearing it, in which case, you should be able to tell!!)

マイケル・ジャクソンが着ていたジャケット sounds like “the jacket Michael Jackson wore”

I’m not really an expert (and I could be wrong / someone who knows grammar terms better could probably explain it better), but it sort of illustrates the difference between the dictionary form and the ている form.
着る - I put it on
着ている - I’m wearing.

It just happens that in English the verbs are different in those cases and in Japanese it’s one.

Does that make sense?


Thank you it helps!! I was actually thinking that because it was clothing It would make more sense with the Te iru form. I still cant find any explanation in my textbooks、 but thanks for the reply Rodan!

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No problem! I remember finding the difference between stuff like ていた and regular past-form confusing when it was explained in texts, but it feels a lot more intuitive now, so it may just be something that comes with practice!
(I do wish a lot of study questions had better explanations though!)


I don’t know how much more it might help, but the definition of 着る in my Japanese-Japanese dictionary is 衣服を身に付ける. So, it seems 着る is more like “to attach clothes to the body”.

This makes the word seem more like it could be a “state-change” style verb where we would expect otherwise. And, that would be similar similar to 行く and 来る in that regard.

Of course, I can’t say for certain, as I’m still learning, too! :slight_smile:


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