JLPT N5 Grammar (da / desu)

Meaning

to be (am, is, are, were, used to)

How to use

present
affirmative
だ (casual)
です (polite)
past
affirmative
だった (casual)
でした (polite)
present
negative
じゃない
ではない
じゃありません
ではないではありません
past
negative
じゃなかった
ではなかった
じゃありませんでした
ではありませんでした
jlpt-n5-grammar-meaning-だ-です-da-desu-文法例文

Learn Japanese grammar: (da) & (desu). Meaning: to be (am, is, are, were, used to).

Let’s look at some of the different ways this grammar can be used.

Present affirmative form –

Example A) です

watashi wa kurisu desu.

I am Chris.

This literally translates to “I Chris am”. Remember that Japanese uses SOV (subject-object-verb), rather than SVO like English. This may be strange at first, but it will become natural after some practice.

Example B) だ

watashi wa kurisu da.

I am Chris.

だ (da) and です (desu) have the exact same meaning, but です (desu) is more polite, so when in doubt it’s best to always use です (desu).

Example C) to be: am, is, are

watashi no namae wa kurisu desu.

My name is Chris.

だ (da) and です (desu) can mean am, is and are. There is no distinction like in English, so it works for everything. This is one of the easier points of Japanese grammar.

Example D) They are

karera wa san nensei desu.

They are 3rd year students.


(datta / deshita) – used to be (past)

learn japanese grammar だった datta でした deshita jlpt n5

When you want to say something “used to be” (was, were, used to, etc), you’ll want to use this conjugation. Once again, there is a casual form (datta), and the more polite (deshita).

Example E) Was

kinou wa totemo kireina hi datta.

Yesterday was a very beautiful day.

Example F) Used to

kodomo no toki, amai mono ga suki deshita.

When I was a child, I used to like sweets.


Extra Study Notes


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- Example Sentences

Each example sentence includes a Japanese hint, the romaji reading, and the English translation.

Click the below red button to toggle off and and on all of the hints, and you can click on the buttons individually to show only the ones you want to see.

Example #1

きょうはあついだね。
kyou wa atsui da ne.
It's pretty hot today, right?
Example #2

かれはわたしのともだちです。
kare wa watashi no tomodachi desu.
He is my friend.
Example #3

にほんのぶんかがすきです。
nihon no bunka ga suki desu.
I like Japanese culture
Example #4

むかしはサッカーがしゅみだったが、いまはやっていない。
mukashi wa sakka ga shumi datta ga, ima wa yatteinai.
Soccer used to be my hobby, but I don't play anymore.

Vocabulary List

KanjiKanaEnglish
私のわたしのmy
名前なまえname
彼らかれらthey
年生ねんせいacademic year
昨日きのうyesterday
とてもvery
綺麗なきれいなbeautiful
day
子供こどもchild
ときtime
甘いものあまいものsweets
好きすきto like
日本の文化にほんのぶんかJapanese culture
今日きょうtoday
暑いあついhot
むかしthe past
趣味しゅみhobby
いまnow
やっていないnot doing

View all JLPT N5 Vocabulary Lessons

JLPT N5 vocabulary list

View all JLPT N5 Grammar Lessons

JLPT N5 grammar list

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