Source: Gaijin Pot
With the New Year celebrations behind us, it’s time to forget about our past mistakes and look forward to the future.
Talking about our New Year’s resolutions in Japanese isn’t so easy though. Mastering the future tense is as arduous as finishing an entire osechi bento including those… unidentifiable fishy bits.
One of the biggest problems with talking about the future tense in Japanese is that, one could argue, Japanese doesn’t really have a “proper” future tense like other languages.
A common example of this is 大学（だいがく）へ行（い）く which can mean anything from the present (I’m going to university [and am a student now]) to the future (I will go to university [and I am not a student now]).
Forming the future tense in Japanese with nouns
Japanese accomplishes a lot of what English accomplishes with “will” and “be going to” by attaching nouns instead of verbs to the verb in question.
The most commonly attached nouns are つもり (“intention”) and 予定（よてい） (“plan”). For example, if there was likely to be any ambiguity about whether the speaker was talking about the present or the future when they said 大学へ行く they may add つもり to make 大学へ行くつもり (“I intend to go to university”) or 予定 to make 大学へ行く予定 (“I plan to go to university”), which may help to clear up any misunderstandings.
The ことに form
So far so good? Things get just a bit trickier when we want to project into the future. For that, we need to use the ことに forms. The most common of these are ことにする and ことになる.
ことにする implies you’ve “decided to” do something. In this case, you’ve made the decision (in the past) to do something (in the future). Make sense?
Let’s look at some examples.
Of course, this grammar can also be used …continue reading