"This movie was not scary."


June 14, 2017



So you can say: えいが は こわくありません でした or えいが は こわくなかった です but not えいが は こわくなかった でした

In other words the adjective can be past tense or the verb, but not both? It seems odd that the adjective/verb tense doesn't match.

Can anyone explain why?

June 14, 2017


The adjective is what normally determines the tense (as well as positive or negative), with です merely adding politeness to the sentence.

こわい(です) = it is scary

こわくない(です) = it is not scary

こわかった(です) = it was scary

こわくなかった(です) = it was not scary.

However, when you take a more polite/formal denial, like こわくありません, it loses its ability to be conjugated into a past tense. This is when です takes over that function and becomes でした.

August 10, 2017


Can't we "kowaku nai deshta"?

April 20, 2018


Thank you!!!

October 3, 2017


You should think of it as "ありませんでした" and "なかったです". ありません is the polite form of ない. The pairing of "かったです" is just a grammatical rule that should be memorized.

June 17, 2017


This one definitely threw me off... "この えいが は こわくない でした。" wouldn't be accepted here?

November 4, 2017


No, that mixes two different tenses. The i-adjective in itself kind of includes an auxiliary "to be", which can -and should- be conjugated. The adjective determines the (present/past) tense for the whole sentence. です is just an addition for politeness, and is only conjugated if it's the only verb in the sentence that can do so.

  • こわい(です) = it is scary
  • こわくない (です)= it is not scary
  • こわくなかった(です)= it was not scary

  • こわくありません = it is not scary (more polite/formal)

  • こわくありませんでした = it was not scary (idem)
November 10, 2017


I have seemed to found a bug. Even though I input the exact same sentence it is saying is the correct one, I still get it wrong

October 11, 2017


It may not really be a bug. Sometimes that happens to me when I have internet connection problems, and it stops once that gets fixed and I refresh the page.

December 8, 2017


Thank you, Steven. Very helpful!

April 11, 2018
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