When I Get Home…

It’s those little differences that’ll get you!

For example, in English I could say:

“When I return home, I will get something to eat.”


“When I return home, I say hi to my family.”

The first part of the sentence is the same in both cases.

Not in Japanese!

In the first sentence, I have not yet returned home…that is the action is not completed, so I have to use the dictionary form of the verb along with とこ for “when”.

In the second sentence, I will only say hi after I have returned home…that is, after the action of returning home is complete, so I have to use the ―た form of the verb.

How’s that for fun?

So what I got was some sentences and then I had to figure out which form of the verb to use.



食事が             とき、「ごちそうさま」と言いま


That one’s easy. When I finish eating, I say “gochisousama”. Well, you have to finish the meal first, so it’s 終わった.


テープを     とき、このボタンを押します。


When the tape stops, press this button. Now, would someone be telling you this before the tape stops (action not completed) or after the tape stops (action completed)? Probably before, so とめる. I don’t about you, but that one was tricky to me.  You’re telling someone what to do after the action is completed, but the point that matters is that you would be saying it before the action is complete.  ?????

This is the stuff that makes Japanese so frustrating fascinating, don’t you think?

Have fun!




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