What does “sengetsu” mean in Japanese?
Native speakers say “sengetsu” to mean ‘last month’ in Japanese. Probably, many Japanese learners know this word well as it is quite often used in Japanese conversations. In this blog post, however, I will explain it in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I will explain how to use it through example sentences. My explanations would help Japanese learners to understand “sengetsu” more clearly. Then, let’s get started!
- Definition and meaning of “sengetsu”
- Sengetsu in kanji
Definition and meaning of “sengetsu”
Let me start with the definition and meaning of “sengetsu”.
- sengetsu – 先月 (せんげつ) : a noun meaning ‘last month’ in Japanese.
Grammatically, this is a noun. In Japanese, however, many time-related nouns can also work as adverbs. “Sengetsu” is one of them. Native speakers, therefore, use it as an adverb almost anywhere in a sentence to say “last month” in Japanese. This fact would sound a bit weird to Japanese learners, but is not unique to the Japanese language. Actually, “last month” can work as both a noun and an adverb in English. So, Japanese learners, especially those who are familiar with English, can easily understand this point, I think.
The meaning is simple and clear. To understand this word more clearly, however, let me explain its kanji characters in detail, one by one.
Sengetsu in kanji
The kanji expression of “sengetsu” consists of the following two characters:
- 先 : a kanji character often used as a prefix to add the meaning of ‘last’. This can also be found in other words like “senshuu“.
- 月 : a kanji character used to mean ‘the moon’ or ‘month’ in Japanese. This can also be found in other words like “kongetsu” and “raigetsu“.
From these two kanji characters, we can understand that “sengetsu” literally means ‘last month’ in Japanese. So, what its kanji characters express is completely in line with its meaning.
When we meet new kanji expressions, we should check their kanji characters in detail to understand their meanings clearly and deeply. In many cases, kanji characters tell us a lot about meanings of words they form. Actually, here, we could get the better understanding of “sengetsu” through the detailed kanji check above.
Then, let me explain how to use “sengetsu” through the example sentences below.
Example #1: how to say “last month” in Japanese
Below are the new words used in the example sentence.
- boku – 僕 (ぼく) : a pronoun meaning ‘I’ in Japanese. This is used mainly by boys and young males.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case marker or topic marker. In the example, this works after “boku” to make the subject in the sentence.
- uni – 海 (うみ) : a noun meaning ‘sea’ or ‘ocean’ in Japanese.
- ni – に : a case particle used to say where someone or something goes. In the example, this is used after “umi” to say where “boku” went last month.
- it – 行っ (いっ) : one conjugation of the verb, “iku”, which means ‘to go’ in Japanese. In the example, it has been conjugated for the better connection with its following word.
- ta – た : an auxiliary verb used after a verb, adjective, or auxiliary verb to make its past tense form. Probably, this is well known as a part of Japanese ta form. In the example, this is used after “it” to make its past tense form, “it ta”.
This is a typical usage of “sengetsu”. In this example, it works as an adverb at the beginning of the sentence to say “last month” in Japanese.
Example #2: another usage of “sengetsu”
Below is the new word used in the example sentence.
- isogashikat – 忙しかっ (いそがしかっ) : one conjugation of the i-adjective, “isogashii“, which means ‘busy’ in Japanese. In the example, it has been conjugated for the better connection with its following word.
This is another typical usage of “sengetsu”. In the English sentence, “last month” works as an adverb. In the Japanese sentence, however, “sengetsu” works as a noun and the subject in the sentence. So, the original meaning is more like “the last month was busy (to me)”. When we want to say “last month” in Japanese, anyway, this word is a very good option.
In this blog post, I’ve explained the definition and meaning of “sengetsu” in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I’ve explained how to use it through the example sentences. Let me summarize them as follows.
- sengetsu – 先月 (せんげつ) : a noun meaning ‘last month’ in Japanese. This can also work as an adverb. These two kanji characters literally mean ‘last month’ in Japanese. So, what the kanji characters express is completely in line with the meaning.
Hope my explanations are understandable and helpful for Japanese learners.
Learn more vocabulary on the app!
You can improve your Japanese vocabulary with our flashcards.