Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 10: 1/12


Have done before


Verb[た]+ こと + が + ある
Verb[た]+ こと + が + ない


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About たことがある

たことがある is a set expression in Japanese that is used for saying that 'there has been a time that I have done (A)'.

The auxiliary verb will be added to the verb indicating what you have done, followed by こと - - ある. Like , こと is regularly used for nominalization (creating a noun-like phrase). However, cannot replace こと in this particular grammar pattern.

From these examples, we can see that ない (the negative equivalent of ある) may also be used, when you want to express that you have 'never' done something.


Just like English, many set phrases cannot be adjusted in Japanese (in the same way that こと cannot be swapped with in this expression).

Fun Fact

In expressions where こと is followed by a verb phrase, may not be used. When used for nominalization, is almost always followed by a noun or adjective phrase. Here are some examples.

  • (かれ)(おど)ことができる。
    He can do things like dance.
  • 来週(らいしゅう)(やす)から旅行(りょこう)()ことにする。
    Because I have no work next week, I have decided to go traveling.
  • 今日(きょう)(かえ)のが(おそ)くなることになる。
    Today, I will end up coming home late.




    Have you ever played soccer here before?


    Have you ever been to Japan before?


    I have read this book before.


    Have you ever seen my house before?


    I have never woken up before six o'clock.

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たことがある – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (19 in total)

  • Matt_RWR


    During my reviews, this sentence came up.

    Fair enough.
    But my answer of

    This was rejected. Am I missing something? I thought you could use an after a suru noun.

    Have I misunderstood something?

  • mrnoone


    Hey Matt,
    I have added it as an alternative answer.
    The meaning is the same.

    The difference is that when you use するVerb + する you cannot modify (describe) the するverb with noun or adjective, with するVerbを + する you can.

    数学の勉強する not natural
    数学の勉強をする natural

    幸せな結婚する not natural
    幸せな結婚をする natural

    But you can say:
    数学を勉強をする natural


  • Matt_RWR


    Ah - I never knew that. Thanks for the info and for adding the alternative!

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