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「行った方がいい」かな?

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「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby astaroth » Mon 06.08.2009 8:04 am

I watched a Japanese movie yesterday night and heard this sentence. The meaning is obvious to me, but it's the grammar which I don't fully understand.
A little background. A high-school student found a note to meet a fellow student and she doesn't know whether to go or not. While wondering about it, a friend tells her「行った方がいい」which should mean something like 'It's ok to go', but why is it 行った instead of 行く? Also couldn't the sentence have been「行ったらいい」?

By the way, the movie was 'Linda Linda Linda' ...

Thanks in advance
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby furrykef » Mon 06.08.2009 9:07 am

[verb]方がいい always has the verb in the past tense. However, if the verb is negative, or if it's an i-adjective, then it stays in the present tense.

[verb]方がいい is an idiom for "It's better to [verb]". This page explains it in more detail.

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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 06.08.2009 9:18 am

furrykef wrote:[verb]方がいい always has the verb in the past tense. However, if the verb is negative, or if it's an i-adjective, then it stays in the present tense.

[verb]方がいい is an idiom for "It's better to [verb]". This page explains it in more detail.


Most of the time the verb is in the past tense. It is possible to use a non-past verb when you're talking about repeated, habitual actions -- i.e. something like 電車で行くほうがいい when you're not making a specific suggestion but just saying in general that it's better to go by train to some place.
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby JaySee » Mon 06.08.2009 9:19 am

furrykef wrote:[verb]方がいい always has the verb in the past tense. However, if the verb is negative, or if it's an i-adjective, then it stays in the present tense.


I don't think this is true. You can also have a non-past tense verb before 方がいい, in which case it indicates a more general suggestion or advice, whereas using a past tense makes the advice specific.

毎日水を飲む方がいい
One ought to drink water every day.

毎日水を飲んだ方がいい
You ought to / had better drink water every day.

Edit: Gah, beaten again. First I tried to answer the OP's question, clicked "submit" and saw that Furrykef had already answered it while I was typing. So I edited my post to make a comment about what he said, clicked "submit" again, and there Yudan's post was :cry:
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby astaroth » Mon 06.08.2009 11:48 am

Thank you guys!
I didn't study that token of grammar yet ... good that my leisurely watching television can become a way of studying :)

[edit]
Is 行く方がいいです different in meaning of 行くことの方がいいです? Or maybe the latter is just wrong ...?
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 06.08.2009 11:55 am

astaroth wrote:Thank you guys!
I didn't study that token of grammar yet ... good that my leisurely watching television can become a way of studying :)

[edit]
Is 行く方がいいです different in meaning of 行くことの方がいいです? Or maybe the latter is just wrong ...?


The latter sounds unnatural to my non-native ears; I don't see what the meaning the ことの is supposed to add.
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby astaroth » Mon 06.08.2009 12:05 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:The latter sounds unnatural to my non-native ears; I don't see what the meaning the ことの is supposed to add.

I felt, for some reasons, the need to nominalize the verb, but I guess it's completely useless given 方 being a noun anyway.
... it was just trial-and-error ... :)
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Re: 「行った方がいい」かな?

Postby kinokage » Thu 06.02.2011 1:47 am

Agree—seems like ことの, though probably grammatically OK, isn't necessary and would sound funny. I think generally the verb itself + ほう works best.

(Found this page because I was wondering about something like 頑張って何か学んだほうがいいだろうね, about a friend's wondering whether to attempt a specific thing. I'm always uncertain with verbs of knowing [and learning].)
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