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Lesson 21: I like peaches.

This lesson introduces how to express your likes and dislikes in Japanese. This can be a little tricky as the grammar is different from English in this case. In English, one might say: 'I like peaches.' Here like is a verb. In Japanese, an adjective is used instead. For now, it's better to just memorize the pattern for like/dislike sentences.

First, some vocabulary:

liking/fondness - すき (usually pronounced as ski)
dislike/hate - きらい

Again, these two words are not verbs. They are both na adjectives. In English, people don't usually say "I have a fondness for peaches," but this is how it is said in Japanese.

The pattern for like/dislike sentences is as follows:

(わたしは) ~が すき です。
I like ~.
(わたしは) ~が きらい です。
I hate ~.


わたしは りんごが すき です。
I like apples.
ももが 好き です。.
I like peaches.
わたしは レモンが きらい です。 I hate lemons.
すいかが きらい です。 I hate watermelon.

Of course, you can change the topic or the desu at the end of the sentence as usual.


わたし は ももが すき じゃない です。
I don't like peaches.
バナナが すき じゃない です。 I don't like bananas.
すいかが すき では ありません。 I don't like watermelon.
わたしは かれが すき でした。 I liked him.
かれが きらい じゃない です。 I don't hate him.
ももが きらい では ありません でした。 I didn't hate peaches.
りんごが すき ですか。 Do you like apples?
この ねこは いぬが きらい です。 This cat hates dogs.

Please note that when you say you like a person in Japanese it has strong connotations that you are interested in the person romantically, so it should not be used lightly until you are more familiar with the language.

Saying that you don't like something, or that you hate something can be a little harsh, so you may wish to add the modifier あまり, which, means "very much." (あまり is mostly used this way in negative sentences.) It gives the sentences a connotation of "I don't really like ~."


わたしは すいかが あまり すき じゃない です。
I don't like watermelons very much.
バナナが あまり すき では ありません。 I don't like bananas very much.

Here, we would like to introduce a new form of the word です. Recall that the negative forms of です are では ありません and じゃない です.  Either form means the same thing, but では ありません is more formal.  The past tense form is でした. The only negative past form introduced so far has been では ありません でした, but that can be quite a mouthful. Also note that you cannot say "じゃない でした." The truth is that the ない part of じゃない is just like the the ない found in い adjectives. So, to make the negative past form you change the ない to なかった. Thus, it becomes じゃなかった or じゃなかった です. Adding the です makes the phrase slightly more formal.


わたしは ももが すき です。
I like peaches.
わたしは ももが すき じゃなかった です。 I didn't like peaches.
それは ほん です。 That is a book.
それは ほん じゃなかった です。 That wasn't a book.


Lesson 21 Vocabulary:

すき like
きらい hate
あまり very much
particle marking the object of like/dislike sentences
もも peach
バナナ banana
すいか watermelon
レモン lemon
かれ him
じゃなかった negative past form of desu
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