です, tense and plurals

Basic sentences structure, tense and plurals

Need help?View video

Outline

KanjiVocabularyです, tense and plurals

Kanji

Water

Book, Origin, True

Person

Study, Learning

Life, Birth

Vocabulary

テレビ

TV, Television

Water

Book

Person

学生

Student

です, tense and plurals

Take a look at the following sentences, what do they have in common?

  • テレビです。
  • This is a TV.
  • 学生がくせいです。
  • I am a student. / They are students.

The general structure of all of these sentences is the same: X is Y. We can form this structure in Japanese by using the word です (read as des, not desu). In the Japanese sentences above, you'll notice that there is no subject or topic (this, that, I, you). This is because in Japanese, the subject/topic of a sentence is often omitted when it is implied through context.

In English, the verb "to be" changes forms between "am", "is" or "are" depending on the subject of the sentence. However in Japanese, it is always です regardless of the subject of the sentence.

Tense

In English we have past, present and future tense. In Japanese there is only past and non-past. The grammar point です is the non-past form of the word "to be" which is used to express present and future events.

Future events such as "I am going to school tomorrow" can be expressed more specifically with the addition of certain phrases. They are covered later on in this course.

Plurals of nouns

Japanese nouns do not have the concept of singular/plural the way English nouns do. The English sentence "That is a book" explicitly refers to a singular book. If we wanted to refer to multiple books, we would say "Those are some books".

In Japanese, these two sentences can both be written the same way: ほんです. This sentence refers to an ambiguous amount of books, either one or more depending on the context.

You are still able to refer to a specific amount of books, but this concept is covered in a later lesson.

More examples

  • ほんです。
  • It is a book.
  • みずです。
  • This is water.
  • ひとです。
  • I am a person. / That is a person.
Complete Lesson
Return
Premium subscription

Newsletter

Stay up to date on all of the latest news with our monthly newsletter.


© 2021 White Rice Development