da is just like desu but is the casual form and it is used by children.
In example 626, can you/should you write 田中さんはいませんでした。since we are referring to an animate subject?
The copula verb is fun. I can help about when to use da as I teach Japanese at www.freewebs.com/kanjiwebs/
balrog-kun is right about example #879. イギリス人 should be romanized as igirisujin and not igirujin.
Re Mitokomun and dc's comments on は/wa/ha: I just checked about 20 text books/dictionaries. Without exception they all romanize the particle は as "wa". The only place I have ever come across the particle は written "ha" is on the Internet. I presume this is due to cases where computers have done automatic transcriptions of hiragana to romaji without regard for the grammatical context.
So, all conjugations of the copula are derived from contractions of である and ではある (for negative tenses). In the negative present and past possible tenses, the conjugations are ないでしょう and なかったでしょう. Why can't they also become ではないでしょう and ではなかったでしょう? Also, why can't the plain past and negative possible tenses be contracted from ではないだろう and ではなかっただろう to じゃないだろう and じゃなかっただろう?
In the example #879 the romanized イギリス人 should be igirisujin. Also, if 住んで is the -te form of sumu, what does the form 住んでます do? I always see 住んでいます.
For understanding the logic behind the copula transformations across tenses, affirmative/negative form etc... it helps to fall back to a vision of だ as the contraction of the canonic (formal) form である. canonic contraction である だ であります です であった だった でありました でした であろう だろう でありましょう でしょう You can then mostly rebuild the whole conjugation table by combining that with the following: - は is (generally) appended to で for the negative form: では, contracted to じゃ in less formal situations - conjugation of ある: negative plain form of 5段 verb ある is い-adjective ない, polite form of 5段 verb ある is irregular verb ござる - standard understanding of 5段 verb and い-adjective conjugations
寒い でした is incorrect. 寒かった is ok. 寒かった です is politer because of the word です which expresses the standard polite form. 犬だ is ok, all Japs say that. And if you change だ into です, it shows your politeness
Mitokomun > romanized japanese textbooks that I have seen always write は as "ha" even when they know it should be pronounced "wa". To make it even more confusing, there are occasions where it is pronounced "wa" too... Maybe someone else can explain why this is, but we are sticking to the standard romanization method. I guess I got used to it but it really threw me at first. check the [ha] page for more.
I always found this "tense" for adjectives confusing. guess we dont have a past tense of "cold" in english. colded? NG: 寒い でした : cold , it was OK: 寒かった です: colded , it is
So we know that は should be read wa, but somehow no one changes this page to reflect this. I wonder why.
I would recommend asking around among Japanese. 寒いでした is not used by native speakers - even young ones, though しないです is.
寒かったでした is awkward becase 寒かった already talks about past and adding でした which also indicate something of past is redundant. 寒かったです would be proper.
bamboo4 you are right. 寒かったです。is proper.
Right - 寒かったでした is not used by native speakers, but not just because of a redundancy in the expression of the past tense. It is because when you have an い-adjective, you do not conjugate the past tense into the です, you conjugate it into the adjective. Note that I was referring to 寒いでした (the example the author wrote in to this page), not 寒かったでした, but because of what I stated, both are non-native utterances ("wrong").
sorry, I am a native speaker.^^;
Sorry, I am also a native speaker.
Note that the Xは of XはYです is very often omitted if it is known from context.
An interesting Japanese page on です can be found here.
寒いでした is awkward for me. Is it because I am not young enough? :( 寒かったでした。is more natural.
'犬だ' is something a young kid might say on seeing a dog.
Note the particle は is _said_ 'wa' but (depending on romaji system used) may be written 'ha'. The kana わ on the other hand is always said and written 'wa'.