~した~ - Grammar Discussion

Verb Modified Noun


  • Verb[ている] + Noun
  • Verb[] + Noun

:warning: Can be any verb

  • not just する

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Probably a stupid question, but I am not sure if I really get it.
When is the ~teiru form being used, as opposed to ~ta?
I read it up, but I’m still not sure. Is it only when it’s right now at the moment?
But there is the example of “A pen borrowed from a friend.”
The pen is still borrowed right now, assumed that I have not given it back already, isn’t it? Or does the sentence assume that the pen has already been returned?


Hey and welcome on community forums! :grinning:

This is not a stupid question, rather a good one! :+1:

First, た、ている and ていた。

As you know Verb[ている] means a progressive action(I am eating 食べている), in those verbs case Verb[た] will mean a past(or more precise completed verb), however with a group of words ている doesn’t mean a progressive action, but a resultant state:

  1. Movement words:
    instead of coming, coming back, going will mean being at a goal of the movement.(the state of being there)
    So ロンドンに来ている。 Means I am in London(I have come to London(and I am still there)) instead of I am coming to London.
    ロンドンに行っている。 Means I am in London(I have gone to London(and I am still there)) instead of I am going to London.
    ロンドンに帰っている。Means I am in London(I have returned to London(and not a surprise, I am still there :slight_smile: )

  2. the words that depict the change from one state to another(you can easily spot them by their English translations which include words like become, get, put etc like: become fat太る, become thin痩せる, to get fired up燃える, to get to know知る, to put on着る, to open 開ける, become になる.
    So accordingly, instead of ~ing, their ている forms will mean states: to be fat, to be thin, to burn, to know, to wear, something is opened, something is.

Now to the verb[た]. The verb た simply means that something has happened in ONE POINT in time in the past(or if we want to be more concrete - it has been completed). But we do not have information about whether it was going on for some time, it is not important or we do not want to say.

So for verbs from 2:
太る - to grow fat
太っている will mean to be in the state of being fat and can be translated as “to be fat”,
太った is simple information that at some moment in past someone got fat, or in other words that growing fat took place; and since details are lacking depending on the context might still be fat or not[the change took place in some point in past] can also be translated “to be fat”
太っていた will mean that someone was fat for some time(the state of being fat was going on for some time in the past).


Now let’s move to modify nouns.

Somethingがある + Noun is example of the same thing which can be generalized for every verb, so I will quote the explanation from it:
[障害がある]人 - person [that has an injury]・person [with injury]・[injured] person
the phrase [Aがある] modifies(qualifies) the noun B([Aがある] therefore becomes RELATIVE CLAUSE), or in other words describes the noun, similar to the adjectives creating one bigger noun. Since in Japanese there are no relative pronouns (that, which etc), the phrase simply directly precedes the noun(also like an adjective) that is modified.
Relative clauses have some rules:
1.topic particle は cannot be used
2.subject particle が can be changed to particle の(this in a sense marks relative clause)

So, let’s come back to our 太る(and whole group verbs from 2!).
太る人 person that(who) gains fat
太っている人 person that(who) is (in state of being) fat
太った人 person that(who) got fat(and depending on context might be in state of being fat(person that is fat) which is generally the case)
太っていた人 person that(who) was fat(for some time in the past)

So between 太った人 and 太っている人 and similar, which one is better?
Both are ok.


I see! That was an excellent explanation!
You should link it in the “readings” section of the grammar point.
I will make those examples my custom sentences, to memorize it.
Thank you very much!


Not a problem, just remember that generally verbs from 2) in た form(while technically it is being unclear) are assumed to be the resultant state when modifying nouns.

I actually realized, I have a follow-up question.
Is 住む a movement word?
Or would it count as a type 2 verb?
so, would 住んだ be an acceptable answer?


住む is not like momentary words(which is the name for the point 2 words from previous post,
決まっている事 / 決まった事
届いている手紙 / 届いた手紙
終わっているテレビドラマ / 終わったテレビドラマ
消えている文字 / 消えた文字
死んでいる虫 / 死んだ虫
知っている噂 / 知った噂
医者になっている人 / 医者になった人
着ている服 / 着た服
燃えている家 / 燃えた家
彼が(今)開けている窓 / 彼が開けた窓
痩せている人/ 痩せた人 etc
are examples - the words that describe change when in non past form(痩せる - to become thin/lose weight) and state in ている form - 痩せている be thin).

住んだ will clearly mean that it has been completed. (and is no more)

This lesson is more about modifying words with verbs in general.

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Thanks, that explained it actually pretty well :slight_smile:

On future explanations it would be nice to get also furigana. I know it is a bit of work to always add it in ones writing, but it does help those who are not that far into the vocab studies yet :slight_smile: (see the daily sentence thread)


Great suggestion! :+1:


This is listed in the Tobira path’s chapter two section, but is actually not the same grammar point as described in Tobira. The one in Tobira is specifically をしている and をした when used to refer to a part someone or something has.

Examples from Tobira:

  1. ぞうは長い鼻をしている。
  2. このオペラ歌手は、本当にきれいな声をしていますね。
  3. フレンチブルドッグは短い足をした犬だ。それに、面白い顔をしている。
  4. ヘビのような形をした、泳ぐことができるロボットがあるそうだ。

I am confusing this grammar point with another one, namely 「ている」. Or rather not the grammar point itself, but these two example sentences:

The man who is eating sushi is my older brother.

The woman who is watching the movie is Tanaka-san’s mother, right?

I had some trouble with these sentences before, but by now I understand them.

Now that I’m seeing this new grammar point, I wonder if this isn’t grammatically just the same thing (or an extension of it). Also note the following sentence from this grammar point:

A foreigner living in Japan.

I don’t see anything new in that. It’s just Te-form + いる modifying the succeeding noun. So let me suggest, shouldn’t the above sentences from the other grammar point be moved to this one?

Hello everyone,
I am stuck a little bit, would someone please me explain what difference between:
ナイフで刺されました男性 and ナイフで刺した男性 ? I mean, can I use
Verb[ た] + Noun construction to build up sentences with passive verbs ? Thanks :slight_smile:

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@desufikator Welcome to the community!

You most certainly can! However, when you conjugate these verbs they must be in the plain form; you cannot use the ます-form to modify a noun.

“A man stabbed by a knife.” (The man was the one who was stabbed)

“A man who stabbed with a knife.” (The man was the one doing the stabbing)

I hope this helps! Cheers.

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Thanks for this explanation! It really helped me to understand this.

One thing I don’t quite get is how the congugation (if that’s the right word) works. Presumably, with -ru verbs, you just replace る with た, ている, or ていた (as with 食べている in the example). But then why is it 太っている rather than just 太ている? And how does it work with u-verbs?


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Iceni, you probably know the answer to your question by now, but in case newcomers have the same question:

IIUC, 太るis a godan (five-step conjugation) verb. For godan verbs, て form conjugation becomes って (e.g., 太って) when the verb ending is , つ, or .

食べる, by comparison, is an ichidan (one-step conjugation) verb, where the stem is used followed by て (e.g., 食べて) as you’ve written.

You can see that grammar point here.


I’m very confused about this one because I saw nouns being modified by verbs in forms other than Verb[ている] and Verb[].
Here is an example from Tae Kim’s guide:
赤いズボンを買う友達はボブだ。Friend who buy red pants is Bob.
Here you see verb 買う in an infinitive form and it modified a noun.
How can this be explained?

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The explanation is very simple but probably not very satisfying. Nouns can be modified by a lot of random Japanese, but this grammar point is not trying to explain relative clauses in general. It’s only showing a specific type of relative clause because we can’t learn everything in one go anyway.

As for why it’s only focusing on these two, I can only guess, since the grammar point itself doesn’t explain a whole lot and the examples aren’t even full sentences. But my guess would be that it’s because these two forms can express a state rather than just actions in the past (-た) or actions in progress (-ている). The “friend who buy pants” sentence doesn’t fit that scheme.

To elaborate, while -ている expressing an ongoing state becomes a pretty big topic at some point in most textbooks, the same cannot be said about -た expressing a resulting state. I guess there’s usually a way to fudge things so that the past interpretation works in main clauses, but if you think about it, 疲れた for example usually doesn’t just mean “I got tired at some point in the past”, but rather “I am tired now”.

In relative clauses this is more common. For example, a 借りたもの isn’t only a thing I borrowed in the past. It could also just be things I borrow in general (with the -た form expressing the resulting state of me borrowing them). 借りたものは必ず返します “I always return what I borrow” is not describing things I borrowed in the past. It’s describing things that are in a state of being borrowed, regardless of when I borrow them.

At least that’s what I think would be useful to learn from this kind of grammar point, regardless of what else we can do with relative clauses.


Thank you very much for detailed response! You may be right about intentions behind this grammar point. However this is the only grammar point about Modified Nouns and Relative Clauses on this site. I can imagine it can do harm to people who see this grammar point and think that this is the only way to do relative clauses, I almost fell into this trap. If I didn’t read Tae Kim’s guide before going through Bunpro I would very well think about this grammar in a wrong way. I think mods should correct this grammar point to make it more clear what they intended it to be.

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I am a bit confused here. Last week I was going over みんなの日本語 chapter 22. My teacher taught me this lesson and we learned it where any dictionary form verb clause can modify a noun. I also followed up on Tae Kim and it also seems to support verb clauses can be in plain dictionary form to modify a noun. Tae Kim DOES make a distinction that noun clauses need to be in [ta] form or past tense form to modify a noun.

Am I not understanding something here or should this maybe be split into two grammar points? A noun modified clause in [ta] or past tense form and then a verb modified noun in dictionary form?

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I agree that the grammar point should be modified, whether through splitting it or something else. I believe many learners are confused by this as well.

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