Japanese verb tense Part 1 (Present + Future)



= Tofu sensei, kyou wa nani wo suruno?

= Tofu sensei, what are you going to do today?


=Uun. kinou wa ie de zutto nete ita kara, kyou wa nihongo demo oshieru yo.

= Well, I slept the whole day yesterday so I guess I’ll teach Japanese today.

Hello everyone!

Today’s guest teacher is Tofu Sensei.
I love his fluffy hair.
モフモフしたい! = Mofumofu shitai! = (Slang word) to feel something fluffy.

みなさん、はじめまして! Tofuです。

= Minasan, hajimemashite! Tofu desu.

= Nice to meet you, everyone! I’m Tofu.

Today I would like to teach you Japanese verb tenses (present and future) comparing them with English verb tenses.
When Japanese people start to study English verb tenses, they have trouble figuring out which tense to use.

So you may have the same problem as well.

You can not simply apply the logic of English verb tenses. I’ll show you what I’m talking about.

When Maggie introduces herself and tells people what she does, she’ll say:

“I  teach Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site.” in English.

How would you say that in Japanese?


Some of you might think…

“to teach” is 教える( = oshieru) /  (polite) 教えます( = oshiemasu) 

so it should be….


私は、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教える/ 教えます。

= Watashi wa, Maggie Sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshieru/ oshiemasu.

But they are not natural. 

You usually use 教える( = oshieru) /  (polite) 教えます( = oshiemasu) , when you are talking about future and not what you do in general.


Ex. 私は来月からマギー先生のサイトで日本語を教える/ 教えます。

= Watashi wa raigetsu kara Maggie Sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshieru / oshiemasu.

= I will start teaching Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site next month.

Ex. 今日は、Tofuがマギー先生のサイトで日本語を教える/ 教えます。

= Kyou wa, Tofu ga Maggie Sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshieru/ oshiemasu.

= Today Tofu will teach Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site.

:i: As you see, when you use certain tenses, it will be clearer with some time-related words. 

If you talk about the future, you would need words that represent future, such as

*これから (=korekara) from now on

*明日 (=ashita), tomorrow

*来月(=raigetsu), next month


*今日 (=kyou), today (→if something is not happening yet.)

OK, going back to my question,  how do you say,

 “I (usually)  teach Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site.” in Japanese?


You should say

*私は、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えている。/ 教えています

= Watashi wa, Maggie sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshiete iru./ oshiete imasu.


Now this sentence can be translated as:

*I am teaching Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site


*I have been teaching Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site.

The verb tense changes depending on the context. We use the same verb form for different tenses.

To help understand better, again, be sure to pay attention to the time-related words or frequency words that you use in a sentence.


*When you ask me what I have been doing.

Ex. 私は7年間、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えています

= Watsahi wa nananenkan, Maggie sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshiete imasu.

= I have been teaching Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site for seven years.


*When you ask me what I do in general.

Ex. Q : 、(仕事は)何をしているの? / していますか? (in general)

= Ima, (shigoto wa) nani wo shite iru no / shiteimasu ka?

= What do you do (for living) now?

A : 、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えているの*。/ 教えています

= Ima, Maggie sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshiete iru no./ oshiete imasu.

= I teach Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site.

*When you ask me what I am doing in this moment.

Ex. Q : 、何をしているの?/ していますか?

= Ima, nani wo shite iru no?/ shite imasu ka?

= What are you doing right now?

A : 、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えているの*/ 教えています

= Ima, Maggie sensei no saito de nihongo wo oshiete iru no / imasu.

= I am now teaching Japanese on Maggie Sensei’s site right this moment.

Note 1): We often omit subjects in Japanese.

Note 2) Both men and women use the suffix in a casual question but *( = no) suffix in an affirmative sentence is a little feminine.


⭐️When to use which one:

🔸 〜る ( = ru) (or  ~ (u) ) /  ~ます(=masu) *polite

1)  Ex.  朝ご飯を食べる / 食べます。

= Asagohan wo taberu / tabemasu.

:rrrr: Talking about one’s habitual action

Ex. 毎朝、6時に朝ご飯を食べる。/食べます。

 = Maiasa, rokuji ni asagohan wo taberu./ tabemasu.

= I eat breakfast at 6:00 every morning.

 :rrrr:  Talking about the future, what you are going to do, your habitual actions, give instructions.

Ex. 明日は、6時に朝ご飯を食べる。/食べます。

 = Ahita wa, rokuji ni asagohan wo taberu./ tabemasu.

= I will/ I am going to eat breakfast at 6:00 tomorrow.

🔸 〜ている( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています ( = teimasu)

2)  Ex. 朝ご飯を食べている。/食べています。

= Asagohan wo tabete iru. / tabete imasu.

:rrrr:Talking about / describing what is happening  now (present progressive)

Ex. 、朝ご飯を食べている。/食べています。

= Ima, asagohan wo tabete iru. / tabeteimasu.

= I am eating breakfast now.

:rrrr: Talking about / describing present habitual actions or continuous actions

Ex. いつも、6時に朝ご飯を食べている。/ 食べています。

= Itsumo, rokuji ni asagohan wo tabete iru./ tabete imasu.

= I always eat breakfast at 6:00.

:rrrr: Talking about / describing present what has been doing/happening.

Ex. 6時からずっと朝ご飯を食べている。/ 食べています。

= Rokuji kara zutto asagohan wo tabete iru. / tabete imasu.

= I have been eating breakfast since 6:00.


★ Simple present   (I / You / He / She / They / It  + do/does ~ )

1. To describe what you do in general, to talk about your daily routine


Ex.1) 朝食にはいつも何を食べる(の) / 食べますか?

= Choushoku niwa itsumo nani wo taberu (no) / tabemasu ka?

=What do you usually eat for breakfast?


Ex. 2) 朝食にはいつも何を食べている(の)/ 食べていますか?

= Choushoku niwa itsumo nani wo tabete iru ( no) /  tabete imasuka?

= What do you usually eat for breakfast?

*Note 1) :

You use both 〜る ( = ru) /  ~ます( = masu) form  and 〜ている ( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています( = teimasu)  form.

→The difference between 〜る( = ru)/〜ます( = masu)  and 〜ている( = te iru)/〜ています( = te imasu)

〜ている ( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています ( = ~ te imasu) describe the continuous actions. (You have been doing something for a certain period of time.) so you can describe the actions more vividly than 〜る( = ru)/〜ます( = masu) .

*Note 2) :

When you talk about one’s  regular activities, you usually use some frequency words such as

* 毎週 ( = maishuu) every week

* いつも ( = itsumo) always

* 毎朝 ( = maiasa), every morning

* 毎日 ( = mainichi) every day

* 時々( = tokidoki) sometimes, etc.


Ex. 毎週金曜日にドッグフードを買いに行きます。/ 買いに行っています。

= Maishuu kinyoubi ni doggufuudo wo kaini ikimasu./ kai ni itte imasul.

= I go buy dog food every Friday.

Ex. 毎日、牛乳を一本飲みます/飲んでいます。

= Mainichi, gyuunyu wo ippon nomimasu / nonde imasu.

= I drink one bottle of milk every day.

Ex. 毎朝、ジョギングをします。/しています。

= Maiasa, jogingu wo shimasu / shiteimasu.

= I jog every morning.

Ex. あのスーパーでいつも食べ物をまとめ買いします。/ しています。

= Ano suupaa de itsumo tabemono wo matomekai shimasu./ shite imasu.

= I always bulk buy food at that supermarket.

Ex. あの番組は時々、私も観ます/ 観ています。

= Ano bangumi wa tokidoki, watashi mo mimasu./ mite imasu.

= I sometimes watch that TV program.

*When you are just talking about the present situation, ( = ima), now, 現在 ( = genzai) present time, not the regular activity or routine, you don’t use 〜る( = ru) /  ~ます ( = masu) form. Instead, you use  〜ている ( = ~ teiru) / 〜ています ( = ~ teimasu) form.

Ex. 、妹は私と同じ学校に通っている/ 通っています。

= Ima, imouto wa watashi to onaji gakkou ni kayotte iru/ kayotte imasu.

= My sister goes to the same school I do now.

You don’t say

 :rrrr: X 、妹は私と同じ学校に通う/通います

=Ima, imouto wa watashi to onaji gakkou ni kayou/ kayoimasu

Ex.、どこに住んでいる/ 住んでいますか?

= Ima, doko ni sunde iru/ sunde imasuka?

= Where do you live now?

You don’t say

:rrrr: X 、どこに住む/ 住みますか (sounds strange)

= Ima, doko ni sumu / sumimasu ka

 Ex. 、大阪に住んでいる/ 住んでいます。

= Ima Oosaka ni sunde iru/ sunde imasu.

= I live in Osaka now.

You don’t say

:rrrr: X 大阪に住む/ 住みます (sounds strange)

= Ima, Oosaka ni sumu / sumimasu

Ex. 私は、銀行で働いている/ 働いています。

= Ima watashi  wa, ginkou de hataraite iru/ hataraite imasu.

= I work for a bank now.

 :rrrr: X 私は、銀行で働く/ 働きます (sounds strange)

= Ima watashi  wa, ginkou de hataraku/ hatarakimasu.

But if you are talking about the near future, you can use 〜る ( = ru) /  ~ます( = masu) form.

Ex. 行く/ 行きます。

= Ima, iku / ikimasu.

= I’m coming now. / I am leaving now.

📝 Note: In this case, the speaker is not leaving yet so ( = ima) now, refers to future.


2. When you talk about something in general or about something that happens all the time

Ex. 日本人は主食に米を食べる。/ 食べます。

= Nihonjin wa shushoku ni kome wo taberu. / tabemasu.

= Japanese eat rice as their staple.

Ex. うちの猫は兄が呼ぶと死んだふりをする/ します。

= Uchi no neko wa ani ga yobu to shinda furi wo suru/ shimasu.

= My cat plays dead when my older brother calls him/her.

3. To give an instructions or talk about how things work  you use 〜る ( = ru) /  ~ます ( = masu) form

Ex. このボタンを押す/ 押します。

= Kono botan wo osu/ oshimasu.

= Press this button.

Ex. そしてファイルを保存する/ 保存します。

= Soshite fairu wo hozon suru/ hozon shimasu.

= And then save the file.

Note: You can also say 押して下さい ( = oshite kudasai) Please press / 保存して下さい。( = hozon shite kudasai.) Please save

Ex. このぬいぐるみはスイッチを入れると動く/ 動きます。

= Kono nuigurumi wa suicchi wo ireru to ugoku/ ugokimasu.

= This stuffed animal moves when you turn on the switch.

4. When something is supposed to happen / do something, you use ( = ru) /  ~ます ( = masu) form

Ex. この電車は横浜にとまる/ とまります。

= Kono densha wa Yokohama ni tomaru/ tomarimasu.

= This trains stops at Yokohama.

5. When you talk about what you can do:

Ex. 彼は2カ国語を話す/ 話します。

= Kare wa nikagokugo wo hanasu / hanashimasu.

= He speaks two languages.

6. When you talk about something habitual, daily routine, etc. you usually use 起きる ( = okiru) to get up, 開く ( = aku) to open, 出る ( = deru) with 〜る ( = ru) /  ~ます ( = masu) form.

Ex. いつも何時に起きる?/ 起きますか?

= Itsumo nanji ni okiru? / okimasu ka?

= What time do you usually get up?

Ex. 8時に起きる/ 起きます

= Hachiji ni okiru / okimasu.

= I get up at eight.

Note: If you say 起きていますか ( = Okite imasuka) , it means you are in a state of awake

Ex. どのデパートも普通、10時に開く/ 開きます

= Dono deppato wa futsuu, juuji ni aku / akimasu.

= Any department store usually open at ten.

Note: If you say 開いている/開いています( = aite iru / aite imasu), it means the store is in the open state.

Ex. 映画は9時に始まる/ 始まります

= Eiga wa kuji ni hajimaru / hajimarimasu.

= The movies starts at nine.

Note: If you say 始まっている/始まっています( = hajimatte iru / hajimatte imasu), it means the movie has already started.

★Present progressive  (I / You / He / She / They / It  is/are doing)

1. To describe what is happening / what you are doing right now

:rrrr: You use 〜ている ( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています ( = teimasu) form.

Ex. 雨が降っている/います。

= Ame ga futte iru/ imasu.

= It is raining.

Ex. 今、何をやっているの?/ やっていますか?

= Ima, nani wo yatte iru no? / yatte imasu ka?

= What are you doing now?

Ex. テレビを観ているよ。/ 観ていますよ。

= Terebi wo mite iruyo. /mite imasu yo.

= I am watching TV.

Ex. 子供達は今、ゲームで遊んでいる/ 遊んでいます。

= Kodomotachi wa ima, geimu de asonde iru. / asonde imasu.

= The children are now playing a game.

Ex. 母は今、寝ている/います。

= Haha wa ima, nete iru/ nete imasu.

= My mother is sleeping now.

🔸 (variation) 〜ているところ( = teiru tokoro)

Ex. 今、彼と話しているところだ/ ところです。

= Ima, kare to hanashiteiru tokoroda / tokoro desu.

= I am now talking to him right now.

You can also use 〜最中 ( = saichuu) right in the middle of doing something

Ex. 今、彼と話している最中だ/ 最中です。

= Ima, kare to hanashiteiru saichuu da./ saichuu desu.

= I am talking to him right now.


(1) When you are talking about what you will do / what you are going to do

:rrrr: You use 〜る ( = ru) /  ~ます ( = masu) form

Ex. 明日は友達と日本語の勉強をする/します。

= Ashita wa tomodachi to nihongo no benkyou wo suru/ shimasu.

= I am going to study Japanese with my friend tomorrow.

Ex. 次の日曜日に彼に会いに東京に行く/ 行きます。

= Tsugi no nichiyoubi ni aini Toukyou ni iku/ ikimasu.

= I am going to see my boyfriend (him) next Sunday.

Ex. 今から行く/行きます。

= Ima kara iku / ikimasu.

= I am going there now.

Ex. 、家を出る/ 出ます。

= Ima, ie wo deru / demasu.

= I am leaving my house now.

Ex. 明日、電話をかける/かけます。

= Ashita, denwa wo kakeru / kakemasu.

= I will call you tomorrow.

Ex. 今夜はみなで飲みに行く/ 行きます。

= Konya wa mina de nomini iku / ikimasu.

= I will go out for a drink with everyone tonight.

Ex. 今日は家に帰りません。

= Kyou wa ie ni kaerimasen.

= I won’t go home today.

Ex. 来年、日本に留学する/ 留学します。

= Rainen, nihon ni ryuugaku suru/ ryuugakushimasu.

= I will study abroad in Japan next year.

Ex. 来期はもっとがんばって勉強する/勉強します。

= Raiki wa motto ganbatte benkyou suru / benkyou shimasu.

= I am going to (or I will)  study harder next year.

Ex.妹は来年から私と同じ学校に通う/ 通います(talking about the future)

= Imouto wa rainen kara watashi to onaji gakkou ni kayou/ kayoimasu.

= My sister will study at the same school as I go to.

Ex. 5月からどこに住むの?/ 住みますか? (talking about future)

= Gogatsu kara doko ni sumuno? / sumi masu ka?

= Where are you going to live from May?

Ex. 来月から大阪に住む/ 住みます。(talking about future)

= Raigetsu kara Osaka ni sumu / sumimasu.

= I will live in Osaka from next month.

Ex. 私は、大学を卒業したら銀行で働く/ 働きます。

= Watashi wa, daigaku wo sotsugyou shitara ginkou de hataraku/ hatarakimasu.

I will work for a bank after graduating from university.

(2) To stress your intention more, you can use つもり( = tsumori).

Ex. 来年、インドネシアに行くつもりだ/ つもりです。

= Rainen, indoneshia ni iku tsumori da/  tsumori desu.

= I am going to (planning to) go to Indonesia next year.

or use 〜う・〜おう ( =~ u  / ~ ou) form when you are talking to yourself.

Ex. もっとがんばろう!

= Motto ganbarou!

= I should try harder!

Ex. 明日はTofuに会いに行こう。

= Ashita wa Tofu ni ai ni ikou.

= I will (try to) go see Tofu.

(3) You use でしょう(=deshou) or だろう (=darou) when you forecast something or imagine what is going to happen in the future.

Ex. 明日は、いいお天気になるでしょう。

= Ashita wa, ii otenki ni naru deshou.

= It is going to be a nice weather tomorrow.

Note : You hear this sentence only in weather reports.


= Kotoshi wa keiki ga motto yoku naru  darou.

= The economy will be better this year.

Ex. この仕事が入ったらもっと生活が楽になるだろう。

= Kono shigoto ga haittara motto seikatsu ga raku ninaru darou.

= If I get this job, my life will be easier.

You don’t useでしょう ( = deshou) or だろう ( = darou) when you talk about what you are going to do in the near future.

X Ex. 私は明日、勉強をするだろう/ でしょう。(Sounds strange)

= Watashi wa ashita, benkou wo surudarou / deshou.

You mainly use them in a written form when you imagine what is going to happen in future.

(They may sound a bit dramatic.)

Ex. あの二人はもう別れるだろう。/ でしょう。

= Ano futari wa mou wakareru darou./ deshou.

= Those two will probably break up soon.

Ex. これから楽しい人生を送ることだろう/ でしょう。

= Korekara tanoshii jinsei wo okuru koto darou / deshou.

= You are going to have a fun life from now on.

Future progressive  (I / You/ He/ She / They/ It  will be doing something)

When you describe what you are going to do in future.

:rrrr: You use 〜ている( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています ( = ~ teimasu)

Ex. 今日は家でずっと勉強をしている。/ しています。

= Kyou wa ie de zutto  benkyou shiteiru./ shiteimasu.

= I will be studying the whole day today.

Ex. 来年の今頃は大学に通っていると思う。/ 思います。

= Rainen no imagoro wa daigaku ni kayotte iru to omou./ omoimasu.

= I think this time next year I will be going to the University.

OK, that’s all for today. We will have another cute guest teacher and continue teaching past tense next week.


maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


=Tofu sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Tofu-Sensei!


= Minnawa,  kyou wa nani wo shite asobu no?

= What do you want to play today?


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  1. Hello Maggie-sensei!

    Even though I already know about the present progressive grammar, today I thought about this example:
    ‘Nande ayamarun dayo?’ = Why are you apologizing

    I know this is a casual form, but what is the formal version of it?
    ‘Nande ayamatteru no?’
    Is this correct?

    1. Hi Wendy

      Interesting question.
      You can say all of the followings.
      1) なんであやまったんだよ (= Nande ayamattan dayo)
      2) なんであやまってるんだよ ( = Nande ayamatterundayo)
      3) なんであやまるんだよ ( = Nande ayamarun dayo)

      The nuance difference is

      1) Why did you apologize?
      2) Why are you apologizing (now)?
      3) Why do you apologize? (Accusing the idea of apologizing.It could refer to the past, present or future.)

      1. Are all of those the more ‘casual’/informal ways of saying it? Because I thought present progressive should be something ending with ‘iru’ or ‘imasu’?
        Like ‘ayamatte iru?’ Or is that incorrect?

        1. Your sentence in the question ‘Nande ayamarun dayo? is a casual/male speech so I used the same rough and casual forms for the other two examples.

          If you want to say that in polite say,
          1) なぜあやまったのですか? ( = Naze ayamatta no desu ka?)
          2) なぜあやまっているのですか? ( = Naze ayamatte irunodesu ka?)
          3) なぜあやまるのですか? ( = Naze ayamaru no desu ka?)

  2. Dear Maggie 先生 ❤
    Please help me correct mistake
    I’m still confused in choosing tense in using “がする”😅

    I make some sentences:
    1, どこかでねこの鳴き声がしているの?
    (Situation :
    While having dinner with my family, I hear cat’s sound somewhere and I ask my family members)

    2, このお菓子はお茶の味がしているの?
    (Situation :
    My brother directly gives me candies not made from tea and I eat it right after he’s giving then I asked him how taste I feel)

    3, 先日 Công Anh (my little brother’s name)くん がくれたお菓子は, お茶の味が していたの? / したの?
    (Situation :
    My brother gave me candies not made from tea 2 weeks ago but I just ate it yesterday then today I messaged to him about how taste I feel)

    4, この料理は, 食べると吐き気がするよ。
    (Situation :
    We are chatting in company about a cuisine and I’m telling to others that each time I eat that cuisine, I feel nausea)

    どうもありがとうございます 🌷🌷🌷

    1. Hi, Sarang

      1. If you are asking your family members if they hear the cat,

      2. この間、Công Anhくんがくれたお菓子はお茶の味がしたよ。
      先日 is too formal.

      3. この料理は食べるたびに吐き気がします。 ・吐き気をもよおします。
      Personally I would say 気持ちが悪くなります。

      1. Dear Maggie 先生、
        Firstly, thanh you so much for your soon reply as always 😚😘

        Actually my sentence no. 2 and no. 3 is the nearly same but I only see your correction for no.3

        My no. 2 is asking for using “がしている”

        Can you help me check it again 🙂

        2, このお菓子はお茶の味がしているね。
        (Situation :
        My brother directly gives me candies not made from tea and I eat it right after he’s giving then I told him how taste I feel)

        If my sentence is unatural, please help me give another sentence if “がしている” is used in daily life

        😊 💌

      2. Dear Maggie 先生,
        I hope my question on Dec 23, 2018 doesn’t go into your spam box 😅

        I’ve been waiting for you 😊

        1. Sorry. Just read your comment and the previous question.

          2) なんか、このお菓子はお茶の味がするよ。
          By using なんか you can express the feeling “Strange…it doesn’t have tea in it but for some reason, it tastes like tea.”

  3. Hi Maggie-sensei, I would like to ask for this sentence 日本へ何度か行っていますか?, which of your explanations does it falls under? I suppose it is not progressive so that leaves ‘Talking about / describing present habitual actions or continuous actions’.

    1. Hi changk,
      Yes, it is habitual action because of the word 何度か ( many times)

      If you say 日本へ一度行きました = I have been to Japan once. (past experience) / 日本は去年行きました。 = I went to Japan last year. (past experience / past action)

  4. Thanks for the lesson, maggie-sensei!

    I just wanted to let you know of a small typo:

    Ex. 今日は家でずっと勉強をしている。/ しています。

    = Konshuu wa ie de zutto benkyou shiteiru./ shiteimasu.

    = I will be studying the whole day today.

    should it be a day or a week? :)

  5. Hello Sensei! Would you mind explaining to me the usage of Japanese verb stem form? I watched an anime and I heard they use the word tabe. Please help! :cry:

      1. Hi Sensei..Good to hear from you:) . Nope, I was thinking of how to use verb stem for daily conversations coz I have heard in the anime using the word tabe in their conversations…Was wondering how to use and the function of it~ Thanks :)

        1. @Anna

          Hi Anna
          Hmm, so you saw a verb, taberu, is used just “tabe”??

          You don’t usually use just a verb stem.


          It is possible to say
          o-tabe = Eat!

          Please recheck the whole sentence.

          1. Yes yes! He was saying about dating a girl and mention about “Burger o tabe”. Can you enlighten me on this? I read somewhere that renyoukei form can be used on its own but more to literary and writing type. But some sites wrote that it can’t be used alone as well. :cry:

          2. @Anna

            OK, お+ verb stem = is a gentle command form.
            Note: It doesn’t work with all the verbs.
            (It is usually used when older people tell younger people or children what to do or what not to do)

            Burger otabe = Eat a burger. (command form)
            Mizu wo onomi = Drink water.
            Odamari = Shut up/ Keep your month shut. (It sounds more gentle than だまりなさい)

  6. Maggie sensei, I would like to ask about 3 verbs: 来る, 行く and 思う.

    Your example 毎週金曜日にドッグフードを買いに行きます。/ 買いに行っています。translates as I go buy dog food every Friday.
    That means 来ている and 行っている are coming and going respectively, right?
    If I am not wrong, 来ている・行っている also means to come/go and then be there? In fact, I’ve seen this context being used much more like in drama.
    Correct me if I am wrong. For example, 先に行っています means I will go and be there first rather than I am going first.

    Second question regarding 思う.
    If I want to say “I think I want to…”, for Japanese, is it more natural to use …と思う or …と思ってる?
    I see both used equally much so I am not sure what is the subtle difference.
    Or are they exactly like English where we say “I think I want to go Japan” versus “I am thinking of going to Japan”.

    1. @changk

      Hi changk

      It depends on the context but
      来ている means “to come (as one’s habitual action) / to have come/ someone came to the place and he/she is there (in that place) ” and 行く・行っている means ” to go (as one’s habitual action) / to have gone/someone has gone from that place”

      And 先に行っています means I will go and be there first or I will go ahead and leave earlier than you. (The speaker involves the listener.)
      You also say 先に行きます。for that situation but to be more precise, it means “I will go ahead and leave.” (the speakers just states his/her action.)

      1) 私は日本に行きたいと思う I want to go to Japan.  Expressing the present feeling

      2-a) 私は日本に行きたいと思っている I have been thinking about going to Japan
      2-b) 私は日本に行きたいと考えている I have been thinking about going to Japan

  7. I’m confused sensei!
    What’s the difference between “毎日、ご飯を食べる” and “毎日、ご飯を食べている”? (since 毎日 is a time phrase so should we use ている?) or does the second sentence imply that before I don’t eat breakfast everyday but now I do?
    Also, in the lesson, you said: “子供達は今、ゲームで遊んでいる”. Why is it not 子供達は今、ゲーム”を”遊んでいる?
    Sorry for the long questions!

    1. @momo

      They both mean the same and describes the daily habitual action.
      As I explained in the lesson, you can describe the actions with 〜ている ( = ~ te iru) / 〜ています ( = ~ te imasu) more vividly than 〜る(=ru)/〜ます(=masu) .

      So for example, if a mother worries about her child who lives far away and asks if they eat everyday, it will be more natural to say
      毎日、きちんとご飯を食べていますか? (continuous actions/habitual action)

      Unlike English we say play “with” something. =〜で遊ぶ
      So you don’t use an object marker,を.

  8. Hi sensei,
    I am just wondering is it possible to just take the “る” form of a verb and add a noun to make it a new noun, because I just heard the word “帰る場所”? But what I have learned is always to add こと after the verb to make a noun.
    I have also noticed that some verbs can just take the “ます” stem to form a noun such as たべもの? Does it work for all verbs as well?
    Sorry for the long questions! :oops:

    1. Hi Bob,

      *こと after the verb is to make a noun

      帰ること = kaeru koto = going home

      This 帰る is not a noun.
      It is a very that modifies a noun.
      place to go back.

      It is not just る form.

      This is how it works
      Verb + noun
      You can use it with any tense.

      = Nihongo wo hanasu hito
      = a person who speaks Japanese.

      = Mukashi, yonda hon
      = A book that I read a long time ago.

      = Kenka shita tomodachi
      = A friend that I fought with.

      Q: I have also noticed that some verbs can just take the “ます” stem to form a noun such as たべもの?
      Does it work for all verbs as well?

      No, not all the verbs. It is very limited.

      飲みます= nomimasu = to drink →飲み物= nomimono = drinks
      読みます=yomimas = to read →読み物= yomimono = things to read

  9. So I was looking up the usages of ~ている and stumbled upon this awesome website! Thank you very much.

    I still don’t understand what is the distinctive difference between the habits/facts/general actions for which we can use both ~る/う and ~ている, and for those we can only use ~る/う?

    You said we only use ~る/う form “When you talk about something in general or about something that happens all the time.” But is not this the case for all habitual actions?

    What is the difference between the cat example (うちの猫は兄が呼ぶと死んだふりをする/ します) and going to a university everyday, for example? Why could not we use ~ている form for the cat example?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. @Mohamed

      Hello Mohamed
      Welcome to Maggie Sensei’s site and はじめまして!

      Generally speaking, as I explained in the lesson,
      *When you are just talking about the present situation, 今 ( = ima), now, 現在 ( = genzai) present time, not the regular activity or routine, you don’t use 〜る( = ru) / ~ます ( = masu) form. Instead, you use 〜ている ( = ~ teiru) / 〜ています ( = ~ teimasu) form.

      But When you talk about something in general or about something that happens all the time, you use る・う form.
      Ex. 日本人は主食に米を食べる。/ 食べます。
      Ex. うちの猫は兄が呼ぶと死んだふりをする/ します

      But if you add certain time related word, you use ている form.


  10. こんにちは、マギー先生!ありがとう、このレッスンを教えてくれて。長いものだったけど確かに便利よ。新用法はFuture Progressive 〜ている・〜ていますなどが知ったし。(I wanted to say: I learned a lot of new usages, such as Future Progressive)

    1. @ocd

      こんにちは、ocd! レッスンが便利と聞いてうれしいです。

      1. し、しまった!気づいたとこだよ。私の最後の文章が間違ってるって思うね。
        新用法はFuture Progressive 〜ている・〜ていますなどが知ったし → 「Future Progressive 〜ている・〜ています」の文法のような新用法を知ったし。

        1. @ocd



          →「Future Progressive 〜ている・〜ています」ような文法の新らしい用法も知ることができたし

  11. Sensei, I’m just wondering whether ~ている in the two sentences below indicates a resultative state?

    1. @Akatsuki


      These are on going habitual actions connected with たり (V and V and such)

  12. Hello teacher. Why isn’t 寝ていた here translated “I was sleeping”?

    Also, how does でも work? I don’t see its translation here.

    1. @Akatsuki

      Hello Akatsuki
      Ah, OK, Maybe you can’t see the function of でも from the translation.
      Can you tell the difference in the following sentences?

      1) 日本語を教えます。
      2) 日本語でも教えます。

      While 1) is very specific. →I will teach Japanese. 2) is more vague. →I will do something like teaching Japanese. →I guess I will teach Japanese or something like that.

      1) Aをする= to do A (specific)
      2) Aでもする= to do something like A (less specific/ to do something for example ~ )

      1. Why thank you. I have another question. How do you make passive voice? For instance: Her car is parked in front of the department store.
        This conversation could be tapped.

        1. @Akatsuki

          = Kanojo no kuruma wa depaato no mae ni chuusha sareta/ saremashita.

          But we don’t say that so much. We say
          彼女はデパートの前に駐車した/ 駐車しました。
          = Kanojo wa depaato no mae ni chuusha shita./chuusha shimashita.


          1. The first, so the~する can be used to make passive form instead of ~される ?
            The second, I have seen people using ~ている for passive form. So, could you shed any light on this subject?

          2. @Akatsuki
            The passive form of する is される.
            What you have seen is されている= has been done.

    1. @dwishiren


  13. Isn’t no 1 not natural if using 〜る?
    1) 朝食にはいつも何を食べますか?
    2) 朝食にはいつも何を食べていますか?

    While in this sentence if using oshieru sounds not natural. 私は、マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えている。

    1. @dwinshiren

      When you describe what you do in general , to talk about your daily routine, you can use both る and ている
      朝食にはいつもパンを食べる/食べます。 (habitual actions/custom )
      朝食にはいつもパンを食べている。/食べています。(habitual actions/custom / describing the actions more vividly)

      But when you talk about what you do as a job, ている is more natural.
      マギー先生のサイトで日本語を教えている/教えています。(describing what you do for living.)

      Ex. 警察官をしています。(X 警察官をします。)
      Ex. 大きな会社で働いています。。(X 大きな会社で働きます。)

  14. I see when you say テレビを観ている。You use the kanji 観 what is the difference between this kanji and 見? Could you use 見 in it’s place?

    1. @Courtney

      You can use them both. 見る is more general and 観る is mainly used to when you enjoy watching/seeing something. (games, movies, shows,etc.)

      1. Awesome! Thanks that is good to know. This was a good lesson I feel like I leveled up! :uparrow: :-D

        1. @Courtney

          You’re welcome!
          You may also want to know….
          聞く= kiku = to hear (more general)
          Ex. うわさを聞く= to hear the rumor
          聴く= kiku to listen (to listen to something attentively)
          Ex. 音楽を聞く= to listen to the music

  15. What a coincidence! I’m learning present + future tense in my Japanese classes now too!


      1. Sorry, I accidentally hit a keyboard shortcut that caused the message to be submitted before I was done typing.

        ところで、あの…実は…これはNemoじゃありません。Tofu なんです :)

        In any case, thank you so much for this lesson. I learned new things here as always! (eg. 教える & 教えます are used to refer to future actions, and not something you do in general.)

        1. @Jane

          Sorry!!! I must have mixed them up. The realy Nemo-sensei will teach next week. I will fix the name but it will take several hours. Please wait.
          Thank you so much for introducing me many nice teachers!! Please apologize Tofu-sensei (such a lovely name..)

  16. Your basic lessons are so helpful I always learn something new reading them. Thanks!


    “Ex. 今日は家でずっと勉強をしている。

    = Konshuu wa zutto ie de benkyou shiteimasu.”

    Shouldn’t the romaji here be “Kyou wa ie de zutto benkyou shiteimasu”?

    I look forward to your next lesson!

    1. @reid

      Hi reid!
      Thank you for spotting the mistake. I fixed it. I will release verb tense Part 2 next week. Please come back to study. :)

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