Read the Kanji on this page with      

  XML RSS feed
  XML RSS feed
  XML RSS feed
  XML RSS feed
  XML RSS feed

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

<< copula_ex | dai >>

〜だ [〜だ] (da)
    Meaning: The 'copula' : expresses conditions. X is Y.
    Example: I'm English.
    JLPT Level: 4
    Category: grammar
    Author: Amatuka

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
da is just like desu but is the casual form and it is used by children. 

[ Add Note(s) ]

The Basics

The copula expresses conditions and equivalences. e.g. X is Y. X は Y です。

The Forms

  Polite  Plain  English 
Present です (desu) だ (da)  Is
Past でした (deshita) だった (datta)  Was
(-te form)
で (de) で (de)  And
negative ではありません (deha arimasen)
じゃありません (ja arimasen)
ではないです (deha nai desu)
じゃないです (ja nai desu)
ではない (deha nai)
じゃない (ja nai)
 Is not
negative +
ではありませんでした (deha arimasen deshita)
じゃありませんでした (ja arimasen deshita)
ではなかったです (deha nakatta desu)
じゃなかったです (ja nakatta desu)
ではなかった (deha nakatta)
じゃなかった (ja nakatta)
Was not
Possible でしょう (deshou) だろう (darou) Probably is
Possible +
だったでしょう (datta deshou)
だっただろう (datta darou)
だったろう* (dattarou*)
Probably was
Negative +

ないでしょう (nai deshou)
ではないだろう (dehanai darou)
ではなかろう* (dehanakarou*)
Probably is not
Negative +
Possible +
なかったでしょう (nakatta deshou) ではなかっただろう (dehanakatta darou)
ではなかったろう* (dehanakattarou*)
Probably was not

* - Think these are rather old fashioned

じゃ (ja), contracted from では (deha), is somewhat less formal.

Related matters

With i-adjectives the preferred polite form is conjugated adj + desu e.g. 寒かったです (samukatta desu).  However adj + conjugated desu is also used to some extent, particularly among younger Japanese. e.g. It was cold.  vs. 寒いでした (samui deshita).  Similarly with verbs, forms like 行かないです (ikanai desu) are creeping up on the proper 行きません (ikimasen).
Copyright © 2003-2006 Tae Kim (
Report a correction or suggestion for this page
Note: visit WWWJDIC to lookup any unknown words found in the example(s)...
Alternatively, view this page on

ex #616   ![inu da!] 
It's a dog!  
ex #618   イギリス人です。[igirisujin desu] 
I am English.  
ex #622   それはなんですか [sore WA nan DESU KA] 
What is that?  
ex #624   あの人は誰でしたか。 [ ano hito WA dare deshita ka] deshita  
Who was that person?  
ex #626   田中さんではありませんでした。[ tanakasan deha arimasen deshita] 
(That) wasn't Mr Tanaka.  
ex #628   だった。[ neko datta ] 
(That) was a cat.  
ex #629   じゃない。[ inu ja nai] 
(That) is not a dog.  
ex #630   きつねじゃなかった?[ kitsuneja nakatta?] 
Wasn't it a fox?  
ex #764   まだプロじゃないです。[ mada puro ja nai desu. ] 
I'm not a Pro yet.  
ex #879   イギリス人ロンドンに住んでます。[igirisujin de rondon ni sundemasu.] 
(I'm) English and live in London.  
ex #5524   田中さんがこの問題は難しすぎると言った。 
Mr. Tanaka said, "this problem is too difficult."  
ex #8648   この本は新しい 
This book is new.  

Help JGram by picking and editing examples!!
  See Also:  
  • iru    (だ and いる can both indicate the presense of something living - used in different ways.) [Amatuka]
  • aru    (だ and ある can both indicate the presense of something inanimate - used in different ways.) [Amatuka]
  • ha    (X ha Y da (X は Y だ) and its variants are the most basic of Japanese sentence structures.) [Amatuka]
  • dearu    (である is the formal, written equivalent of だ) [Amatuka]
  • is, am, are [bi-ru]
[ Add a See Also ]
Amatuka'犬だ' is something a young kid might say on seeing a dog. 
AmatukaNote the particle は is _said_ 'wa' but (depending on romaji system used) may be written 'ha'.
The kana わ on the other hand is always said and written 'wa'.
AmatukaNote that the Xは of XはYです is very often omitted if it is known from context.  
AmatukaAn interesting Japanese page on です can be found
Miki寒いでした is awkward for me. Is it because I am not young enough? :( 寒かったでした。is more natural. 
EekerI would recommend asking around among Japanese. 寒いでした is not used by native speakers - even young ones, though しないです is. 
bamboo4寒かったでした is awkward becase 寒かった already talks about past and adding でした which also indicate something of past is redundant. 寒かったです would be proper.
anonbamboo4 you are right. 寒かったです。is proper. 
EekerRight - 寒かったでした is not used by native speakers, but not just because of a redundancy in the expression of the past tense. It is because when you have an い-adjective, you do not conjugate the past tense into the です, you conjugate it into the adjective. Note that I was referring to 寒いでした (the example the author wrote in to this page), not 寒かったでした, but because of what I stated, both are non-native utterances ("wrong"). 
anonsorry, I am a native speaker.^^; 
bamboo4Sorry, I am also a native speaker. 
MitokomunSo we know that は should be read wa, but somehow no one changes this page to reflect this. I wonder why. 
dcI always found this "tense" for adjectives confusing. guess we dont have a past tense of "cold" in english. colded?

NG: 寒い でした : cold , it was
OK: 寒かった です: colded , it is
dcMitokomun > romanized japanese textbooks that I have seen always write は as "ha" even when they know it should be pronounced "wa".
To make it even more confusing, there are occasions where it is pronounced "wa" too...
Maybe someone else can explain why this is, but we are sticking to the standard romanization method. I guess I got used to it but it really threw me at first.
check the ha page for more.
Unnamed寒い でした is incorrect.
寒かった is ok.
寒かった です is politer because of the word です which expresses the standard polite form.

犬だ is ok, all Japs say that. And if you change だ into です, it shows your politeness
MaxFor understanding the logic behind the copula transformations across tenses, affirmative/negative form etc... it helps to fall back to a vision of だ as the contraction of the canonic (formal) form である.

canonic contraction
である     だ
であります   です
であった    だった
でありました  でした
であろう    だろう
でありましょう でしょう

You can then mostly rebuild the whole conjugation table by combining that with the following:
- は is (generally) appended to で for the negative form: では, contracted to じゃ in less formal situations
- conjugation of ある: negative plain form of 5段 verb ある is い-adjective ない, polite form of 5段 verb ある is irregular verb ござる
- standard understanding of 5段 verb and い-adjective conjugations
balrog-kunIn the example #879 the romanized イギリス人 should be igirisujin. Also, if 住んで is the -te form of sumu, what does the form 住んでます do? I always see 住んでいます. 
フリザそのex #5524 はちゃう。「田中さんがこの問題は難しすぎるだと言った。」ってゆうより「田中さんがこの問題は難しすぎるって言った」ってゆった方がええやろ。 
karamu sanSo, all conjugations of the copula are derived from contractions of である and ではある (for negative tenses). In the negative present and past possible tenses, the conjugations are ないでしょう and なかったでしょう. Why can't they also become ではないでしょう and ではなかったでしょう? Also, why can't the plain past and negative possible tenses be contracted from ではないだろう and ではなかっただろう to じゃないだろう and じゃなかっただろう? 
SumofanRe Mitokomun and dc's comments on は/wa/ha:
I just checked about 20 text books/dictionaries. Without exception they all romanize the particle は as "wa". The only place I have ever come across the particle は written "ha" is on the Internet. I presume this is due to cases where computers have done automatic transcriptions of hiragana to romaji without regard for the grammatical context.
lstepbalrog-kun is right about example #879. イギリス人 should be romanized as igirisujin and not igirujin. 
IMABIThe copula verb is fun. I can help about when to use da as I teach Japanese at 
laraindaIn example 626, can you/should you write 田中さんはいませんでした。since we are referring to an animate subject? 

Add Comment

Due to some problems with spam comments, we have had to make the Add Comment feature available to members only. Please login or register.

Add Entry to Your Study List
Choose the priority of studying you want to assign to this item from the drop-down select list and then hit the save button. This will be used for sorting your personal study list. If you wish to delete an entry that's already in your list, just set the difficulty to '0'


jgram 2018