1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "At the dinner yesterday, I d…

"At the dinner yesterday, I did not pay."


March 9, 2018



So here I am after 30 minutes of discussion with my girlfriend, when I was annoying trying to understand this sentence which is quite weird... So I am sharing my findings with you. Hope it will help! Let's go!

First weird thing : ゆうはん is a bit old and misused nowadays, so you should use ばんごはん even in polite conversation. And get rid of that の, saying きのうばんごはん is good and polite enough (you can still put a の, people will understand). You should put a stress and a pause on the end of きのう without using の.

Second thing : で here is very おかしい as she would say. I was thinking that duolingo may want to emphasize that there was a place you ate at, and you didn't pay. But this way sounds too unnatural. Either you say レストランでは or ばんごはんには.

Third but not least : はらう has limited uses. You can say this verb at a place, but not for a period of time. You would say : ばんごはんにお金をつかう or レストランでお金をはらう. Even more interesting is that you can use はらう to say "pay attention" : ちゅういをはらう it's the exact same meaning for once, I found this funny! :D

Now I'm finished, I know it was long guys, but I struggled to understand that, so I hope some people will read me out and like the explanation. ;) And a little conclusion : always look at the commentary section and on other websites, duolingo is good to practice everywhere, but lacks knowledge about grammar and gives sometimes weird or old words, so be skeptical always. :) みんな、頑張ってください!!!


The use of ゆうはん is maybe not as common as ばんごはん, but is still used often enough. There are several ways of saying dinner, and it goes by the individuals preference which they say. Here is a discussion of the various forms, and here are a few natives disagreeing about how to say 'dinner' in Japanese.

You can either place a comma after きのう (indicating a deliberate pause) or you can use の. Either way, the sentence is correct.

Saying ばんごはんにお金を使う would mean putting money into the ingredients or arrangements for the dinner before it has taken place, not paying for a dinner you've already eaten.


Thank you for replying! :D As in any country, language can vary according the area, so it doesn't surprise me that ゆうはん may still be used. But I think it is maybe more by old people than young people. Still, I agree with you.

And I did not say that you should not use の, just that it is not necessary at all, and you can say it another way that sounds more natural for some speakers. :) But yes, I was a little bit too strong maybe ! Thank you.

For the last sentence, I disagree. I did not come with this sentence on my own (I wouldn't, I'm not japanese), my friends told me they would say that. Maybe the nuance should be what you said, translating in english means losing some meaning. :) What I am certainly sure of, is that this sentence is really weird for japanese people, and that you wouldn't use で here, or say はらう.

Again, we are maybe entering the field of natural speakers disagreeing between themselves according to the area.

Thanks for your insight ! :D


Hey if you get this message i got a question. I got the other version of this question (Japanese to english conversion) : "きのうのゆうはんではお金をはらいませんでした" Duo says the right answer was: "At the dinner yesterday, I did not pay"

Is this an error on Duolingo? I answered: "yesterday i did not pay the dinner"

Duolingo's right answer makes me think that Dinner can be either be taken as a place or an event based on context.


I'm not so sure, I think it's related again to the use of でagainst に as explained in my long message. But yeah, I think Duolingo considers the dinner as the place it happened... But my friend found this sentence weird in japanese, not so natural, maybe we shouldn't get too far into details ah ah. :)


Thanks! Yeah i have been getting that sense. There are comments here and there saying that we ought to complement because Duolingo might very well be off with phrases and mostly with slang


Excuse me my English is not enough, but what do you mean by stressing at the end of kinou.


This can be done with a noticeable pause between kinou and yuuhan, or the 'おう' sound can be lengthened for emphasis. Often, when omitting a particle a slight pause or a vocal emphasis on the word preceding the omitted particle will occur.


Is it necessary to say "okane"? Can't I just say directly that I didn't pay by using only "haraimasendeshita"?


はらう has other meanings, so it is important for clarity sake to say 'money', 'the check', etc., otherwise it sounds lacking and can be misunderstood.


Thank you very much for your answer!




Where is the difference in using で or では ? courtesy, focus, something else?


Focus. It has the purpose of shifting the focus onto 'At yesterday's dinner', emphasizing it as the topic of conversation. Otherwise, it is like saying 'I didn't pay at dinner yesterday' with no emphasis.


The English translation is somewhat misleading. Shouldn't it be 'I didn't pay for yesterday's dinner' instead?


Not with the では construction.

「昨日の夕飯を払いませんでした。」would be closer to your sentence.

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.