Copula – I am Japanese

Hi, Leo Sensei dayo!

I am Japanese.(Watashi wa nihonjin desu)  Sure, I am!

In this session we learn how to say ” I am~” “You are~” etc. in Japanese.

I posted topic about how to use subject like I, you etc. in Japanese before so please check this.


Copula is a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate (a subject complement), for example, the copula “is” in the sentence “The sky is blue” in English. In this sentence, “is” connects “sky”(subject) with “blue” (predicate) and locates in the middle of sentence.

In Japanese, this copula comes at the end part of sentence. The chrat bellow shows basic copula.

<Basic Forms> 


①   Non-Past

②   Negative-Non-Past

③   Past

④   Negative-Past


では/じゃ ない


では/じゃ なかった


dewa/ja nai


dewa/ja nakatta



では/じゃ ありません


では/じゃ ありませんでした


dewa/ja arimasen


dewa/ja arimasendeshita

Polite style is used in conversation with your boss in workplace, older person and person at first meeting etc..


①Affirmative Non-Past

The affirmative non-past of copula is “da”(plain) or “desu”(polite) and is equivalent to “is”, “am”, or “are” in English. “A wa B da/desu” means “A is B”. When A is already clear in the context, B da/desu is sufficient. 


Japanese: イクラジアさんは会社員 / です。(Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain da/desu)(Plain/Polite)

English :Ikhlasia is a company worker.



Copula for negative non-past is “ja/dewa nai”(plain) or “ja/dewa arimasen”(polite). “A wa B ja/dewa nai” “A wa B ja/dewa arimasen” means “A is not B”.

Japanese:イクラジアさんは会社員じゃ / では ない。(Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain ja/dewa nai) (Plain)

Japanese:イクラジアさんは会社員じゃ / では ありません。(Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain ja/dewa arimasen) (Polite)

English: Ikhlasia is not a company worker.


③Affirmative past

Copula for affirmative past is “datta”(plain) or “deshita”(polite). “A wa B datta/deshita” means “A was B”.

Japanese:イクラジアさんは会社員だった / でした。(Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain datta/deshita) (Plain/Polite)

English: Ikhlasia was a company worker.



Copula for negative past is “ja/dewa nakatta”(plain) or “ja/dewa arimasen deshita”(polite). “A wa B ja/dewa nakatta” or “A wa B ja/dewa arimasen deshita” means “A was not B”.

Japanese:イクラジアさんは会社員じゃ / では なかった。 (Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain ja/dewa nakatta)(Plain)

Japanese:イクラジアさんは会社員じゃ / では ありませんでした。 (Ikhlasia san wa kaisyain ja/dewa arimasendeshita)(Polite)

English: Ikhlasia was not a company worker.


Now I believe you master very basic sentence structure by using subject and copula.

So much for this session! Bye!!

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