Lesson 16: Yesterday and Past Tense Sentences

Objective: Learn to read and write past tense sentences using きのう.

Key Words

きのう = yesterday



In Japanese, words that indicate time, like きのう can be placed after the subject marker は or at the beginning of the sentence, for special emphasis.

  • Example: わたしはきのうピザをたべました。 = I ate pizza yesterday.

    [Watashi ha kinou piza wo tabemashita.]

  • Example: きのう、わたしのともだちはさびしいでした。 = Yesterday, my friend was lonely.

    [Kinou, watashi no tomodachi ha sabishii deshita.]

  • Questions can also be created using the same structure

  • Example: あなたたちはきのうえいがをみましたか。 = Did you (plural) watch a movie yesterday?

    [Anatatachi ha kinou eiga wo mimashitaka?]

New Vocabulary

きのう = yesterday


うどん = thick Japanese wheat flour noodles, served in broth or soup.



  • わたしはきのうてがみをかきました。= I wrote a letter yesterday.

    [Watashi ha kinou]

  • いいえ、わたしはきのういぬをみませんでした。= No, I didn't see a dog yesterday.

    [Iie, watashi ha kinou inu wo mimasen deshita.]

Translation Practice

Write the following sentences in Japanese using hiragana or katakana.

  1. I listened to new music yesterday.
  2. Yesterday, they were not happy.
  3. A: Did you eat sushi yesterday? B: No, I ate udon yesterday. What did you eat yesterday?
  4. Were you sick yesterday?
  5. We were very sleepy yesterday.

Translate the following Japanese sentences to English.

  1. わたしはきのうとてもうれしいでした。
  2. わたしたちはきのうあたらしいテレビをかいました。
  3. きのう、あなたはおしえましたか。
  4. わたしはきのうハンバーガをたべました。
  5. きのう、それはやまでした。


Translate the sentences below to Japanese using hiragana or katakana.

  1. Is your teacher teaching Japanese?
  2. What is his name? No, his name is not Keiichi.
  3. Nice to meet you. Are you Irish?
  4. No, that (over there) person is not an actress. She is not famous.
  5. This photograph is very interesting. Is this your photograph?
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