Today we are going to see the mechanism, the concept of the future, present and past in Japanese language.

First of all, we are going to confirm the verb conjugation using the verb たべる which is to eat.

The present, たべる.

The future, as we also use the form of the present for the future, therefore it would be たべる.

The past, たべた.

If you want to know the conjugation of the rest of the verbs that appear in this article, see the end of the article. 
And it is always recommended to watch the accompanied video to confirm the pronunciation.
with English Subtitles

The Future in Japanese

To differentiate the present from the future there is something important.

If you want to use the verb in the future, it is important to put a word that indicates future to differentiate it from the present, for example tomorrow, adding あした, and it would be あしたたべる, which now means “I am going to eat tomorrow”.

But a question. If I put the word いま, which means “now”, いまたべる, what would it be: present or future?

It would also be future, it is not present. “eat now” does not mean that you are eating, it means “I am going to eat right now”, which would be future.

The Present in Japanese

Now we look at the “present”.

たべる is to indicate what you normally eat, “I eat meat,” にくをたべる, but you are not saying “I am eating.”

For the continuation of an action, for what you are doing at the moment, it must be formed with the combination of the Te-Form and the verb いる. So if you want to say “I’m eating”, it would be たべている.

If you put いま as いま たべている, it means “now I’m eating”, and in this case, yes, it would be Present.

In other words, in the Present category there are two ways, one: for something you normally do and the other: what you are doing now.

We see again the conjunction in Informal style:

The present, たべる / たべている

The future, たべる

The past, たべた

Let’s look at the formal of this verb:

The present, たべます / たべています

The future, たべます

The past, たべました

Te-Form いる

We continue with Te-form + いる of the Present, with the verb すむ, which means to live.

If someone asks you “where do you live now?” How do you respond? It is not “マドリードにす む”. It would be “マドリードにすんでいる”.

The action you are doing now has started in the past and has continued until now. If you say すむ, you are indicating the future, “I am going to live in Madrid”, which is not the correct answer in this case.

Te-form いない (Negative)

Now we are going to talk about the Te-Form いない, which is negative.

If they ask you “have you already eaten?” at 2 in the afternoon, and you still haven’t eaten. How would you respond?

You should answer “まだ 、 たべていない”, with te-form and the negative of いる. Because lunchtime has already started before and until now you have maintained the action of “not eating”, and you have not yet finished the negative action.

And you can continue with あとで 、 たべる, “I’ll eat later.” It would be the future.

To respond with “I haven’t esten yet,” you often think of the past and say “たべなかった” as a negative past. But this means that “the lunchtime ended and I did not eat.” If you are going to eat later, because lunchtime is not over yet, then this answer is not appropriate.

Anything you haven’t done yet but have a chance to do in the future even though it’s been a while, use Te-Form + いない.

そのえいがは、まだみていない I haven’t seen this movie yet.

かれとは、まだはなしていない I haven’t talked to him yet.

The Past in Japanese

Now let’s look at the past.

If you say たべた, you are talking about one point in the past, which may be at 3 o’clock. きのうは、3じにごはんをたべた。Yesterday I ate at 3.

But lunchtime lasted an hour, so you want to say “I was eating around 3” then it would be Te-Form + いた (the past of いる). きのうは3じごろごはんをたべていた。

Verbs いう, つかれる, こまる

In the case of the verb いう (ゆう), in the same sense, it is important to use the Te-Form + いた.

In English when you report that he told you: “He told me that …”, you use the past tense of “tell”. But in Japanese we don’t use いった, the past of いう, in this situation, we use Te-Form + いた, it would be いっていた.

If you use いった, it sounds like a phrase from a novel, when a narrator explains. You would say “いっていた” because the conversation lasts, it cannot be a second, therefore, you would use the form of action continuous in the past.

In Japanese, if you don’t use the “was telling me” form, it doesn’t sound natural in this case, although in English this phrase would be translated “told me”. So just when you say what he said as a statement, you would say “いった”.

A: かれは 、きのう「パリにいく」といっていた。 Yesterday he said “I am going to Paris”.

B: でもわたしには、ロンドンにいくといったよ。 But he told me that he was going to London.

つかれる, to get tired. こまる, to feel difficult to do something.

So when you feel tired or don’t know what to do to solve, how would you say it?

The present, つかれる, こまる? It’s not wrong but it is used when you are doing something and you realize that it is hard work, so it is better to use it when you explain how it is.これは 、つかれる, “This makes me tired”.

But if you feel tired, or difficult, you would use the past. つかれた and こまった. In the sense that you have already reached the point of feeling tired or difficult. わたしは 、つかれた。 I got tired.

Or, わたしは 、つかれている。 I’m tired. With the continuous form of action that indicates the state in which one feels right now.

Conjugation of verbs

From top to bottom: the present, future, and past.

(c) Planta Japón