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 た
will be added to the verb indicating what you have done, followed by こと
. Like の
is regularly used for nominalization (creating a noun-like phrase). However, の
cannot replace こと
in this particular grammar pattern.
Have you ever been to Mt. Fuji before?
I have never bought snacks.
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 の in this expression).
In expressions where こと
is followed by a verb phrase, の
may not be used. When used for nominalization, の
is almost always followed by a noun or adjective phrase. Here are some examples.
He can do things like dance.
Because I have no work next week, I have decided to go traveling.
Today, I will end up coming home late.