[JLPT grammar] What is the difference between 行くとき and 行ったとき?

Today I am going to share the Q&A quoted from my JLPT N5 course!

 

[Question]

Sensei, with this sentence ‘東京に行ったとき、くつを買いました。‘
– why is 行った in ta-form and not 行く in dictionary-form?

*東京(とうきょう)に行(い)ったとき、くつを買(か)いました

 

[My Reply]

We can use both, but with different meanings.

東京に行ったとき、くつを買いました。
When I went to Tokyo, I bought shoes.

If, at the time the main event くつを買う, 東京に行く is already “in the past”, use the “ta-form(=past tense”+とき.

東京に行くとき、くつを買いました。
Before going to Tokyo, I bought shoes.

If, at the time the main event くつを買う takes place, 東京に行く is current or still “in the future,” use the “dictionary-form(=non-past tense)”+とき.

 

I hope my answer helps you. 😊

 

 

In the JLPT course, you can ask me any questions as much as you want.
I will teach you until you get it!

 

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