Using state of being clauses as adjectives

I was studying ‘using state-of-being clauses as adjectives’ under Tae Kim’s guide.
It reads: “The negative, past, and negative past conjugations of verbs can be used just like adjectives to directly modify nouns. However, we cannot do this with the plain non-past state-of-being using 「だ」”. And he goes on to give examples using noun modifications with a conjugated noun clause.

Is this a typo? Should it be “The negative, past, and negative past conjugations of nouns” instead? For verbs, can we not use all state-of-beings?

Doesn’t it mean stuff like なくしたペン?

But it is weird to mention plain verbs and だ.

How can you conjugate a noun?

Looks like a typo, yeah.

For better or worse, that seems to be the phrasing that Tae Kim is using to describe だった, じゃない, and じゃなかった.


That would be だ conjugated to だった and だ is an auxiliary verb in Japanese grammar.

I (kinda) know, but I figured that’s what they meant.

What looks like a typo? The sentence about conjugations of verbs makes sense to me.

I looked at the actual guide, and that section is talking about state of being. The following section discusses verbs.

I still don’t see why you need to think “verb” should be “noun” to make sense of the sentence in that scenario. And if they meant to say “conjugations of nouns” I would probably start doubting any recommendations of the guide, because one of the characteristic features of nouns in Japanese is that they don’t conjugate.

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Because it’s trying to explain why you can use だった・じゃない・じゃなかった to modify a noun, but not だ. So mentioning verbs in this part makes no sense.

But they’re auxiliary verbs…

I have a feeling the reader isn’t expected to know that at this point in the guide. :man_shrugging:

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So you’re saying that Tae Kim tells people that every noun can be conjugated in 6 different ways or whatever it is, rather than saying that だ is the thing being conjugated?

That seems to be how he explains it based on a quick search. :man_shrugging:

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That wouldn’t be the first time someone raised issues with the Tae Kim’s guide…

There was discussion a while back of “errors”. But this isn’t what I imagined when I heard that. I get that reasonable people can disagree about how to lay out a framework of Japanese grammar, but I don’t like that at all.

Tbh this sounds like an issue with understanding English to me.

With “state of being”, he means clauses that express that one thing is another thing. I’m not sure how you would even apply this to a verb. He’s talking about clauses like “N1 is an N2” or “N1 is not an N2” or “N1 was an N2” and so on. These clauses express a state of N1 being an N2 or not.

In this context, he’s introducing the ability to modify a noun with such a clause, for example starting with this:

猫は猫ではない The cat is not a cat.

We can turn the description of the cat into a relative clause by simply moving the description of the state of being in front of the noun:

猫ではない猫 A cat that is not a cat.

He is saying that this works with state-of-being clauses that are negative, in the past, or both, including ones that are less formal like じゃない for ではない. However, it doesn’t work with clauses like this that use the copula だ:

猫は猫だ The cat is a cat.

This can’t be turned into a relative clause in the same way; a clause that ends in だ can’t be used as a relative clause.

There are other ways to still do this but in this text, he’s talking about things that work and not explaining how to work around things that don’t.

The thing being conjugated is the verb, not the noun. That’s my whole point. You agree that だ is there and it’s what’s being conjugated right? You disagree with the classification of だ?

I meant I don’t know how to apply the concept of “state of being” to a verb.

I don’t know why we are even talking about conjugating nouns