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Thread: 行ったことが...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    行ったことが...

    I'm confused... Is there no pluperfect tense in Japanese? (I HAD eaten, I HAD watched, etc.)

    I'm trying to translate: "I had already been with my friends, but I hadn't gone with my parents."
    もう友達といったことがあったけど、両親と行ったことがなかった?!
    It doesn't seem right
    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: 行ったことが...

    Many times you'd only use a simple past, the context will make it clear whether it's a plusquamperfectum or not; the words もう/すでに make the meaning clearer. The structure past + ことがある is used to talk about experiences, usually the word 'ever' is appropriate to use when translating. Have you ever gone to a karaoke?, Have you ever eaten okomiyaki?, Have you ever felt so bad you'd punch a dwarf in the face?, I've never eating a rabbit. You'd use ことがある in all those examples. (although I've never done X thing can be also usually rendered as ~のは初めてだ, though).

    However, in your example, with some more context it is possible to use ~ことがある. For example, if somebody asks ''have you ever been with somebody in a forest?'', the answer can be like your example. But if the sentence is not talking about experiences a simple past will suffice, sometimes a past continuous will also help, it depends on the action. For example, here:

    When my mom came back I had already eaten. 母が帰ってきたとき、私はもう食べてしまっていた/食べ終わっていた。

    パリに引っ越す前に、私は3年間香港に住んでいた。I had lived for 3 years in Hong Kong before I moved to Paris.

    I hope this helped.
    Last edited by 涼宮; 20th March 2013 at 8:21 PM.
    Username: Suzumiya. 所詮この世は弱肉強食。強ければ生き、弱ければ死ぬ。-志々雄真実

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Re: 行ったことが...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyxtia View Post
    "I had already been with my friends, but I hadn't gone with my parents."
    もう友達といったことがあったけど、両親と行ったことがなかった?!
    It doesn't seem right
    Ew why not, I think your translation is pretty good (because "I have already been with my friends but I haven't gone with my parents" would be もう友達と行ったことがあるけど、両親と行ったことはない.)
    More naturally you could write it as:
    もう友達と行ったことがあったけど、両親と行ったことがなかった。
    or
    もう友達と行ったことがあったけど、両親と行ったことなかった。
    ... using the particle は.
    Last edited by Schokolade; 21st March 2013 at 1:44 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Tokyo, Japan
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    Re: 行ったことが...

    ことがあった sounds like just a very old memory, as old as disconnected from your present. For example, スケートをしたことがあった, among several experiences in the past, you pick up ice skating and you'll say, I had such a moment/experience of ice skating then. In other word, そういうことがあった. But don't forget I'm not sure very much.
    (行った)ことがある is more common: you went there once ever until the moment you're talking. You've had such an experience and spotlighting 'go'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyxtia View Post
    Is there no pluperfect tense in Japanese?
    I roughly agree with you in a way. I humbly suggest you that this question is as worthy as to keep in your mind. Find your answer. Take time, go ahead!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Re: 行ったことが...

    Okay, thanks all

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