Yet Another translation request

Original: 東京に電車で行った方がいいでしょうか。

I’m pretty sure that means “Should I go to Tokyo by train?” But why is 行った in past tense?

Verb in casual past tense + 方がいい means “It would be better to”, you can look it up in Genki I Page 272


To add to that, you can say 行く方がいい, but that can be ungrammatical in some contexts, so it’s best to learn it as ~た方がいい.

Weirdly, the negative version (should not do) is 行かない方がいい and not 行かなかった方がいい


Negative version rather than past, I guess?

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Ah, yes indeed. That’s what I said…


This 行った is the perfect aspect, not the past tense. Completion of an action. In Japanese, it can give a sense of urgency when things are uttered in the perfect aspect. This is why you can say ちょっと待った! to someone and have it mean “wait!”


As far as I understand it, the perfect aspect is somewhat like the past tense with a focus on the result? (Probably sounds silly)
Kind of makes sense with 行った方がいい, but I dont really get it with ちょっと待った :thinking:
I dont really know what I don’t understand here, so I’m having a hard time putting it into a proper question. Do you know any resources where I could read up on that?

Well, it’s called 完了形. A quick google search gave me the wikipedia page:

(Japanese is the one before last)

Going down the results list, I also found this discussion about it:

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The important thing is that the perfect aspect doesn’t have to be in the past. Generally speaking, things that happened in the past are going to be completed, so they naturally overlap, but just because you see た doesn’t mean you’re referring to something that happened already.


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