Lesson 4 A – Past Tense and Negative Adjectives

Lesson 4 A Vocabulary:

古い:ふるい:old (not used for people)
携帯電話:けいたいでんわ:cell phone

Let’s take these adjectives and spice them up a little bit. The way you make い – adjectives and な – adjectives negative and past tense are different so let’s take our vocabulary words from the previous lesson and modify them a little bit.

小さい:ちいさい:small (い – adjective)
大きい:おおきい:big (い – adjective)
有名:ゆうめい:famous (な – adjective)
簡単:かんたん:easy (な – adjective)

To make an い – adjective past tense, turn the final ‘い’ into ‘かった’. It’ll make sense when we see it.

小さかった:ちいさかった (notice the last い isn’t there) was small

大きかった:おおきかった (notice the last い isn’t there) was big

And a sentence:

The Game Boy was small.

Note the ‘です’ at the end. Even though this is past tense, you use ‘です’ instead of ‘でした’ (remember lesson 2 about nouns?) with い – adjectives. Let’s try another example sentence to get a better look.

Old cell phones were large.

To make an い – adjective negative, turn the final ‘い’ into a ‘く’ and add ない to the end. Bring on the examples.

小さくない:ちいさくない Not small

大きくない:おおきくない Not big

古くない:ふるくない Not old

Nothing too wild going on here so let’s look at a couple of sentences.

My car isn’t small.

Your smart phone isn’t old.

I know what you’re thinking. You want to make a sentence that’s negative and in the past tense. Lucky for us, we still just have to take the final ‘い’ and turn it into ‘かった’. The tricky part is the ‘い’ we’re changing this time is the ‘い’ from the ‘ない’ that we use to make い – adjectives negative… That probably didn’t help so let’s get to an example. It’ll make sense. I promise.

My car wasn’t small.

Your smart phone wasn’t old.

If you compare these sentences to the present tense one’s above, you’ll be able to spot the difference and all will become clear. That’s a lot of い – adjective talk though, so try to make a couple sentences of your own to solidify い – adjectives in your mind. In part B, we’ll take a look at な – adjectives.