421 - ～たことがある (special past experience)
Hey there fellow netizens!
Lately I've been using my time to reminiscence about some very memorable moments from my past. I wish I could say that things like "how I first met my best friend" or "fondest family memory" would come to mind... but no. Nah. That's not how my brain works.
You know those moments before going to sleep when the stupidest, most embarrassing things that you ever did pop very vividly into your head and you go "Urrrghhh, why do I still remember this, and why did I do such a stupid thing in the first place?!?"
Well, as it happens, most things were innocent mistakes but had just the right touch to deliver a deadly blow to my social life.
Anyway, after a while you manage to distance yourself enough from the event to joke about it. It's at this point when you start the story with "You know, once I...
... accidentally called my teacher "mom"
... kissed a frog thinking it would turn into a prince.
... had someone confess their love to me in 5th grade in front of the whole class.
And it turns into a funny story, so you're actually able to use it to get closer to people, instead of socially isolating yourself, which is awesome!
So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to a good expression that helps you share interesting or unusual stories from the past with others.
We could also rewrite that as Vた + ことがある.
We add ～ことがある to a verb in past tense in order to say that we did or experienced something extraordinary in the past.
わたし は おさない ころ、 かめ に なりたかった ことがあります。
When I was little there was a time when I wanted to become a turtle.
Literally: "I + は + little / young + around the time when, + turtle + に + wanted to become + ことがあります."
All you need to remember is that in order to convey that we can use this ～たことがある to convey that an extraordinary event occurred in the past.
Let's see more examples:
この ちいき は、 ごねん いじょう あめ が ふらなかった こと が あります。
In this area there was once no rainfall for more than 5 years.
Literally: "this + area + 5 years + more than + が + rain + did not fall + ことがあります"
As you can see, this expression can be used not just with personal stories, but also with what you would call random interesting facts.
Please note, though, that it must be used with the past.
Also, it cannot be used with words referring to the near past. In other words, you can't use words like 昨日 (きのう // yesterday) or 最近 (さいきん // recently) with this ～たことがある.
This is similar to how it would sound strange to say something like, "Yesterday, this one time I..."
Now, onto the next one:
いちじき、 ウーパールーパー が ペット として にんき だった ことがある。
There was a time when having an axolotl as a pet was popular.
Literally: "a period of time + axolotl + が + pet + as pets + popular + was + ことがある."
For those of you who don't know what that is, it's this cute but slightly eerie little booger right here:
Note: 一時期 is usually used to describe rather short periods of time, like the few months of a short trend or hype that soon dies down. So from this sentence you could understand that keeping an axolotl as a pet was a passing trend that didn’t last very long.
Now, for the finale, let's bring up some real confessions from the heart. Something that most of us can relate to:
わたし は ひどい ふつかよい で みず も のめなかった ことがあります。
Once I had such a terrible hangover that I couldn't even drink water.
Literally: " I + は + terrible + hangover + で + water + even + couldn't drink + ことがあります"
Note: ひどい is a very useful word to learn in Japanese. It's literally translated as "terrible" but you could also use it when you want to express how intense something is. Here's some other words that you could use it with.
Literally: "terrible + headache"
...Like the one I usually get the day after I decide to mix my alcohols.
Literally: "terrible + face"
... Like the under-eye bags and the unhealthy-looking paleness I get the morning after I --- Oh, no wait, that's not an excuse; I look like that everyday.
So that's it for today folks, remember to stay hydrated at all times. Have fun with your studies and see you next time!
This lesson was written by Adriana, a guest contributor.