What will you do on your birthday?

In our previous lesson, you’ve learnt how to ask when someone’s birthday. You may wish to continue the conversation by asking them what they will do on their birthday.

(あなた)おたんじょう日 しますか。

The response:

(私)たんじょう日 テニス します。

The basic sentence pattern is:




Object Marker を

を is an object particle, which is always placed after the object of a verb.


Time/Place Marker に

The particle に indicates time or place.

  • おたんじょう日 – ON your birthday
  • 十月七日 – ON the 7th October
  • がっこう – TO school
  • としょかん – TO the library

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs take an object. This means that the action requires an object to occur. The English verb ‘use’, as in ‘I used a computer’, is transitive because it requires a computer to complete the action. (You cannot just ‘use’.)

Here are some Japanese examples:

  • しゅくだい を します。I do my homework.
  • テレビ を みます。I watch television.
  • ごはん を たべます。I eat rice/a meal.
  • スポーツを します。I do (play) sports.
  • テニスを します。I do (play) tennis.
  • ほんを よみます。I read a book.
  • えいがを みます。I watch a movie.
  • おんがくを ききます。I listen to music.
  • スカートを かいます。I buy a skirt.


Intransitive verbs do not take an object. English verbs like ‘rained’ are clearly intransitive, whereas words like ‘open’ and ‘read’ can be either.

  • The door opens.
  • He opens the door.
  • I read a book.
  • I read.

Japanese verbs いきます(行きます), かえります and きます(来ます)are examples of intransitive verbs.

  • としょかんに いきます。I go to the library.
  • いえに かえります。I return home.
  • うたいます。I sing.


Some people might not celebrate their birthdays and not do anything special on the day. In such case, you need to use the negative form.

  • 私は たんじょう日に 何も しません。

  • たんじょう日に ケーキを たべません。

Or, if you want to say I don’t have any plans:

  • たんじょう日に よていが ありません。

What did you do on your birthday?

Remember how to make a verb into its past tense?
Simply add ました to its verb stem.

  • たべます → たべました。

So, to ask someone what they did for their recent/previous birthday, you say:

(とも子)おたんじょう日 ましたか。

The response would also be in past tense.

(私)たんじょう日 えいがました


You may also wish to ask them if they did a certain activity on their birthday.

おたんじょう日 おんがく ききましたか。

If not, then the response needs to be in past negative form.

いいえ、(たんじょう日) おんがく ききませんでし



Read the following dialogue between Mari and Naomi talk about their birthdays.


Practice Activity

Ask your peers when their birthdays are, what they did last year and plan to do this year. Use the above dialogue to guide your conversation.



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