たことがある (takotogaaru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Have Done Before
Sandro MaglioneGet in touch with me
4 min reading time
ta koto ga aru which means
having done before) is an expression that is used to indicate something that has already been done in the past.
In this post we learn more about the meaning of たことがある, how it is formed, and when たことがある is used through real example sentences.
How to form the expression たことがある
Let's analyze how the expression たことがある is formed:
- ~た: The た form is used to conjugate in the past tense the verb preceding this expression
- こと: means
thing, indicates that the thing has been done (
the thing of having done...)
- が: Particle indicating the subject, in this case
the thing that was done...
- ある: means
existfor inanimate entities (objects)
Literally this expression can be translated as
the thing of having done this action exists, which simply means having done (in the past).
I have already read this book.
How and when to use たことがある
As we explained earlier, たことがある is used to say that the indicated action has already been done in the past.
I've seen this movie before.
In this sentence we use the verb 見る, which means
to see. This verb is conjugated in its た form:
In the past tense 見た means
to have seen, with the addition of ことがある it indicates that the action
has already been done in the past:
We can therefore note how the expression 見たことがある literally indicates that
the fact of having seen (見たこと, 見た
having seen and こと
the fact of) is a thing that exists (がある).
Indicate something you've never done with たことがない
When instead you want to express something that you have never done, you can just change the verb ある (
to exist) into its negative form ない (
to not exist):
I've never bought sweets.
たことがある to ask if you've ever done something
You can often find the expression たことがある when asking someone if he has ever done something.
In these cases it is enough to add the particle か (or の in certain contexts) to convert the whole sentence into a question:
Have you ever played tennis?
Example sentences with たことがある
Have you ever been to Japan?
I have never lived in Tokyo.
Have you ever climbed Mount Fuji?