Japanese with 外ジンハン

A dear friend who is currently learning Japanese asked me a grammar question and I thought it’d be a good idea to document it and hopefully, this is the beginning of something interesting to come, so here goes…

The sentences:
1) 朝、人に会ったとき、「おはようございます」と言います。
2) 昨日、寝るとき、窓を閉めました。

The questions:
1) Why is the verb (会う) before とき in Past Tense while the verb (言う) of the main clause is in Present Tense?
2) Why is the verb (寝る) before とき in Present Tense while the verb (閉める) of the main clause is in Past Tense?

The answers (I’ll break it down into 2 parts):
a) The tense of the verb before とき
b) The tense of the verb of the main clause

The tense of the verb before とき:
1) Past Tense (会った) is used because you say “Good Morning” AFTER you meet the people.
2) Present Tense (寝る) is used because you close the window BEFORE you sleep.

The tense of the verb of the main clause:
1) The Present Tense (言います) is used because the sentence is describing an action you do EVERYDAY.
2) The Past Tense (閉めました) is used because the sentence is describing an action you did YESTERDAY.

Hopefully this is useful to people who may have the same questions. I am not that good at the Japanese language either but answering questions like that helps me learn more about it and I enjoy it. The same goes for English, I’m still learning everyday. Thanks to the students.

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