よかった (yokatta) is the past tense of 良い (yoi/ii), which means “good.”
The meaning of よかった (yokatta) is: “It was good.”
It is often used to express positive feelings, such as happiness, being glad about something, or being relieved from anxiety. When used with the negative conditional form, it can also express regret. Yokatta can be written in both hiragana and kanji:
Let’s go right into some examples of the different ways よかった can be used in Japanese.
(Kyō wa tenki ga yokatta.)
The weather was good today.
(Yakyū no shiai de yūshō dekite yokatta!)
I’m glad that we could win the baseball match.
(Ie no kagi ga mitsukatte yokatta.)
I was relieved to find my house key.
I shouldn’t have bought it. (I regret buying it.) – Literally, “If I didn’t buy it, it would be good.
How to Use よかった (Yokatta) Naturally in Japanese?
There are a few ways that よかった (yokatta) as below.
1. Using よかった (yokatta) on its own: That’s good, Great, Awesome, I’m relieved. It is often written in kanji, 良かった (yokatta).
For usages number 2 to 5, よかった is often written in hiragana.
2. よかった (Yokatta) with verbs in Te-Form: I’m glad I did ~.
3. よかった (Yokatta) with Verbs in Nakute-Form: I’m glad I didn’t ~
4. Verbs in the Conditional Form + よかった (Yokatta) / よかったのに (Yokatta Noni): Should have done ~
5. Verbs in the Negative Conditional Form + よかった (Yokatta) / よかったのに (Yokatta Noni): : I should not have done ~
Now let’s take a closer look at how to use よかった (yokatta).
1. よかった (Yokatta) As An Expression: That’s Good, Great, Awesome, I’m Relieved
As you know, よかった (yokatta) is the past tense of 良い (yoi/ii), which gives it the meaning, “It was good.”
However, using よかった on its own can also be translated to “I’m glad,” “That’s a relief,” or “Thank goodness.” The polite form of よかった is よかったです (yokatta desu). It is often used to respond to someone else’s good news.
1. 花子: お母さん、すごくこのケーキすごくおいしいよ！
Hanako: (Okāsan kono kēki sugoku oishii yo!)
Hanako: Mom, this cake is so good!
Mother: I’m glad (you like it).
2. 花子: Tomが日本語の試験に合格したんだって！
Hanako: (Tom ga nihongo no shiken ni gōkaku shitan datte!)
Hanako: I heard that Tom passed the Japanese exam!
Michiko: That’s great!
3. 花子: 昨日映画を観に行ったんでしょ？どうだった？
Hanako: (Kinō eiga o mi ni ittan desho? Dō datta?)
Hanako: You went to see a movie, didn’t you? How was it?
Michiko: (Un. Yokatta yo.)
Michiko: Yea. It was good.
4. Your child was in a traffic accident, but luckily he was not injured. When you hear that he’s okay, you could say, “良かった (yokatta)！” In this case, 良かった means “Thank goodness (he’s safe)!”
2. Verbs, Adjective, or Nouns in て (Te)-Form + よかった: I’m Glad I Did ~
When you add よかった to any verb, adjective, or noun* in its te-form, the meaning of this pattern translates to “I’m glad I did~.” Depending on the situation and the tone in which it is said, it can also mean, “verb/noun/adjective is okay.”
*Note: Remember that for nouns, na-adjectives, and some verbs, you will use で (de) to combine it with よかった。
A Quick Refresher on the Te-Form
Here is a quick review on how to conjugate verbs, adjectives, and nouns into the te-form. If you would like more details, check out our Japanese te-form guide.
Group I Verbs/Godan Verbs
Verbs ending in す (su): Remove the final す and replace it with して (shite):
- 消す (kesu): to erase, to turn off, to extinguish –> 消して (keshite)
- 許す (yurusu): to forgive, to permit –> 許して (yurushite)
- 探す (sagasu): to search for –> 探して (sagashite)
Verbs ending in う (u), つ (tsu), or る (ru): Remove the finalう, つ, or る and replace it with って (tte):
- 買う (kau): to buy –> 買って (katte)
- 立つ (tatsu): to stand –> 立って (tatte)
- 入る (hairu): to enter, to join –> 入って (haitte)
Verbs ending in く (ku): Remove the final く and replace it with いて (ite):
- 聞く (kiku): to listen –> 聞いて (kiite)
- 歩く (aruku): to walk –> 歩いて (aruite)
- 働く (hataraku): to work, to commit a crime/evil act –> 働いて (hataraite)
Verbs ending in ぐ (gu): Remove final ぐ and replace it with いで (ide):
- 注ぐ (sosogu): to pour –> 注いで (sosoide)
- 急ぐ (isogu): to hurry, to rush –> 急いで (isoide)
- 泳ぐ (oyogu): to swim –> 泳いで (oyoide)
Verbs ending in む (mu)、ぶ (bu)、ぬ (nu): Remove the final む, ぶ, or ぬ and replace it with んで (nde):
- 飲む (nomu): to drink –> 飲んで (nonde)
- 遊ぶ (asobu): to play –> 遊んで (asonde)
- 死ぬ (shinu): to die –> 死んで (shinde)
Exception: The verb 行く (iku), meaning “to go,” is an exception. According to the rules, the te-form of 行く should be 行いて (iite). However, this is NOT correct. The correct te-form would be:
行く (iku): to go –> 行って (itte)
Group II/Ichidan Verbs
Conjugating group II verbs (also known as ichidan verbs), are simple. All group II verbs end with る (ru). To change it into the te-form, just remove the final る and replace it with て (te).
- 食べる (taberu): to eat –> 食べて (tabete)
- 起きる (okiru): to wake up, to occur –> 起きて (okite)
- 見る (miru): to see, to look –> 見て (mite)
Group III/Irregular Verbs
There are two group III/irregular verbs in Japanese, and here is how you conjugate them into the te-form:
- する (suru): to do –> して (shite)
- 来る (kuru): to come –> 来て (kite)
To change i-adjectives into their te-form, just drop the final い (i) and replace it with くて (kute).
- 寒い (samui): cold (weather) –> 寒くて (samukute)
- 暑い (atsui): hot (weather) –> 暑くて (atsukute)
- 面白い (omoshiroi): interesting –> 面白くて (omoshirokute)
Exception: The word we are studying in this article いい (ii), is an exception to this rule. The te-form is NOT いくて (ikute). Insteada, you will use the alternate reading よい (yoi) and conjugate this into the te-form.
よい (yoi): good, nice –> よくて (yokute)
Na-Adjectives conjugate through the use of the copula だ (da). The te-form of だ is で (de). So for na-adjectives, all you need to do is remove the な (na) at the end and replace it with で(de):
- 綺麗な (kirei na): pretty, clean –> 綺麗で (kirei de)
- 元気な (genki na): lively, energetic –> 元気で (genki de)
- 静かな (shizuka na): quiet –> 静かで (shizuka de)
Nouns will conjugate the same as na-adjectives. Just put で (de) after the noun like this:
- 学生 (gakusei): student –> 学生で (gakusei de)
- 日本 (Nihon): Japan –> 日本で (Nihon de)
- 勝ち (kachi): win, victory –> 勝ちで (kachi de)
(Nihongo no shiken ni ukatte yokatta.)
I’m glad that I passed the Japanese exam.
2. 花子: どうしよう！パスポートを失くしちゃったかも知れない！
Hanako: (Dō shiyō! Pasupōto o nakushichatta kamo shirenai!)
Hanako: Oh my goodness! I may have lost my passport!
Michiko: (Kore anata no janai?)
Michiko: Isn’t this yours?
Hanako: (Arigatō! Mitsukatte yokatta!)
Hanako: Thank you! I’m so relieved (that it’s been found)!
Takashi: (Kinō no jishin wa ōkikatta ne. Daijōbu datta?)
Takashi: Yesterday’s earthquake was big, wasn’t it? Are you okay?
Ken: (Daijōbu datta yo.)
Ken: I’m okay.
Takashi: (Buji de yokatta.)
Takashi: I’m glad that you are safe.
4. 花子: パーティーに行くのにこの服で良かったかな？
Hanako: (Pātī ni iku noni kono fuku de yokatta kana?)
Hanako: Is it okay to wear this dress to the party?
Takeshi: (Un, ii yo.)
Takeshi: Yes, it’s fine.
よかった (Yokatta) Vs. だから (Dakara)
You might know other words used to state a reason in Japanese.
For example, から (kara) and だから (dakara).
Both of these words mean “because,” “therefore,” or “the reason why.” It is possible to use these words in the example sentences above to explain your emotions. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Examples: Using から (Kara) and だから (Dakara)
(Shiken ni ukatta kara yokatta.)
Because I passed the test, I’m glad.
(Shiken ni ukatta. Dakara yokatta.)
I’m glad. Because I passed the exam.
Just like the English, these two sentences above are correct but are slightly unnatural if used in everyday conversations.
It is more natural to use the て (te) form + 良かった (yokatta) to make the sentence shorter and easier to understand:
(Shiken ni ukatte yokatta.)
I’m glad that I passed the exam.
3. Negative Verbs in The Te-Form + よかった (Yokatta): I’m Glad I Didn’t ~
Using よかった together with a negative te-form verb – なくて (nakute) form) means that you are glad about NOT doing something or are happy that something (verb) DIDN’T happen.
Verb in Negative ない (nai) Form → Drop final い (i) + くてよかった (kute yokatta) = なくてよかった (nakute yokatta): Glad Something Did Not Happen
(Ame ga futtekita! Yappari kyō wa haikingu ni ikanakute yokatta.)
It started raining! I’m glad that I didn’t go hiking.
(Eigakan no naka wa samui na. Tī shatsu o kitekonakute yokatta.)
It’s cold in the movie theater. I’m glad I didn’t wear a T-shirt.
4. Conditional Form + よかった: I Should Have Done ~
This is another super useful way to use よかった. When you feel regret from doing (or not doing) something, you can combine よかった with a conditional form of a verb to express “I should have done ~.”
Verb in ば (ba) or たら (tara) Conditional Form + よかった (yokatta) = I should have done ~.
Before we get into some examples, here is a quick review of the conditional form for verbs. If you are still unsure how to conjugate verbs into their conditional form, check out our basic verb conjugation guide.
Conditional Verbs: A Quick Review
Group 1 Verbs
ば (ba) Conditional Form: Change the last charcter to the imperative form (4th row of the hiragana chart) and add ば (ba)
たら (tara) Conditional Form: Change the verb into the plain past tense form and add ら (ra)
- 歩く (aruku): to walk –> 歩けば (arukeba) / 歩いたら (aruitara): If I/you walk ~.
- 飲む (nomu): to drink –> 飲めば (nomeba) / 飲んだら (nondara): If I/you drink ~.
- 行く (iku): to go –> 行けば (ikeba) / 行ったら (ittara): If I/you go ~.
Group 2 Verbs
ば (ba) / たら (tara) Conditional Form: Verb stem + れば (reba) or たら (tara)
- 食べる (taberu): to eat –> 食べれば(tabereba) / 食べたら (tabetara): If I/you eat ~.
- 教える (oshieru): to teach –> 教えれば(oshiereba) / 教えたら (oshietara): If I/you teach ~.
- 考える (kangaeru): to think –> 考えば (kangaeba) / 考えたら (kangaetara): If I/you think ~.
Group 3 – Irregular Verbs
Sicne there are only two irregular verbs, it’s easy to just remember their different forms.
- 来る (kuru): to come –> 来れば (kureba) / 来たら (kitara)
- する (suru): to do, to play –> すれば (sureba) / したら (shitara)
Examples: I Should Have ~.
(Motto kichin to shiken benkyō o sureba/shitara yokatta.)
I wish I had studied harder for the exam.
(Tomodachi to eiga o mini ikeba/ittara yokatta.)
I should have gone to see the movie with my friends.
(Michiko mo kureba/kitara yokatta.)
I wish Michiko had come too.
Talking About Someone Else
In the examples above, the subject of the sentence is “I.” If you would like to talk about someone else, you can add “と思っている (to omotteiru) at the end of the sentence to mean “he/she thinks.”
Examples: He/She Should Have ~
(Ken wa motto kichin to shiken benkyō o sureba yokatta to omotteiru.)
Ken thinks that he should have studied harder for the exam.
(Tomoko wa tomodachi to eiga ni ikeba yokatta to omotteiru.)
Tomoko thinks that she should have gone to the movie with her friends.
(Takashi wa Michiko mo kureba yokatta noni to omotteiru.)
Takashi wishes that Michiko had come too.
What’s the Difference Between 〜てよかった (Te Yokatta) and 〜ばよかった (Ba Yokatta)？
These two expressions are similar, but ~てよかった (te yokatta) expresses a factual event – something that actually happened (something that you did, some event that happened, etc.). However, ~ばよかった (ba yokatta) is the opposite. It expresses a counterfactual event – something that DIDN’T happen. It is used to express hypothetical “if” sentences. For example, “If I bought a lottery ticket, I would have been rich!” Or “If I went with them, I would have had a great time.”
Let’s compare ~てよかった (te yokatta) and ~ばよかった (ba yokatta) and see the difference in nuance between the two expressions.
Examples: ~てよかった and ~ばよかった
(Nihon ni itte yokatta.)
I’m glad that I went to Japan. (Fact: I went to Japan. I enjoyed it.)
(Nihon ni ikeba yokatta.)
I should have gone to Japan. (I didn’t go to Japan. If I had gone, it would have been great.)
(Tomodachi to dekakete yokatta.)
I’m glad that I went out with my friends. (Fact: I went out with my friends. I’m glad that I did.)
(Tomodachi to dekakereba yokatta.)
I should have gone out with my friends. (I didn’t go out with my friends and I regret it. If I had gone out with them, it would have been good.)
5. Negative Conditional Form + よかった: I Shouldn’t Have Done ~
～なかったらよかった (nakattara yokatta) / ～なければよかった (nakereba yokatta)= I regret doing ~. / I shouldn’t have done ~.
This pattern is used to describe something you regret doing in the past.
You can use either the ば or たら conditional for this pattern: ～なかったらよかった (nakattara yokatta) or ～なければよかった (nakereba yokatta).
Both of them have the same meaning, but it seems that ～なければよかった (nakereba yokatta) is used more often in the Kanto area (where Tokyo is). However, ～なかったらよかった (nakattara yokatta) is used more often in the Kansai area(Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc.).
Some people say that ～なかったらよかった is more caual than ～なければよかった as well. However, you don’t need to worry too much about which one to use, as they are interchangeable in most situations. If you would like to know the detailed differences between the ～たら vs. ～ば forms, check out our Japanese conditional guides:
1. 昨日の夜、食べ過ぎなければよかった。/ 昨日の夜、食べ過ぎなかったらよかった。
(Kinō no yoru tabesuginakereba yokatta.) / (Kinō no yoru tabesuginakattara yokatta.)
I should not have eaten so much last night. (If I didn’t overeat, it would be good.)
2. 昨日の夜、ホラー映画を観なければ良かった。/ 昨日の夜、ホラー映画を観なかったら良かった。
(Kinō no yoru horā eiga o minakereba yokatta.) / (Kinō no yoru horā eiga o minakattara yokatta.)
I shouldn’t have watched that horror movie last night. (If I didn’t watch that horror movie last night, it would be good.)
3. 出かけなければ良かった。/ 出かけなかったら良かった。
(Dekakenakereba yokatta.)/ (Dekakenakattara yokatta.)
I shouldn’t have gone out. (If I didn’t go out, it would be good.)
What’s the Difference between よかった (Yokatta) and よかったね (Yokatta Ne)?
The Japanese particle ね (ne) is frequently used in natural conversations. When used at the end of a sentence, it has a nuance of “right?” “don’t you think?” Because of this, it is often used when you seek agreement from someone.
Can you see the difference between the two examples below?
(Kasa o motte kureba yokatta.)
I should have brought my umbrella.
(Kasa o motte kureba yokatta ne.)
We should have brought our umbrella, don’t you think so?
If you are talking about yourself (or talking to yourself), saying 良かった (yokatta) is the right choice. However, when speaking with someone (in the same situation as you), using ね (ne) to seek agreement (asking for someone’s input/opinion) makes the conversation feel very natural. It is similar to words like “huh” or “right” in English (Ex. It’s fun, right? This pie is so good, huh?)
What’s the Difference between Verb in Conditional Form＋よかった (Yokatta) and よかったのに (Yokatta Noni)?
The particle のに (noni) means “although” or “despite.” It is usually used when there are negative emotions behind your words.
Imagine a husband and wife fighting. The wife set their dinner table because they will have guests for dinner tonight. However, her husband forgot and came home late. The husband tries to blame his wife, saying she didn’t tell him about dinner. The wife could say something like this:
I told you!
However, she could also use のに:
I told you! (Despite me telling you, you forgot! It’s so frustrating!)
Because of this, the pattern よかったのに is often used when you are telling SOMEONE ELSE that they should have done something.
Examples: Conditional Verb + よかった
(Motto benkyō sureba yokatta.)
I should have studied harder.
(Konsāto ni ikeba yokatta.)
I should have gone to the concert.
In Japanese, the subject is often omitted. The two sentences above don’t have a subject. However, from the context, we can figure out that the person who said those sentences were talking about themselves.
Let’s take the above examples and add のに to them.
Examples: Conditional Verb + よかったのに
(Motto benkyō sureba yokatta noni.)
You/ She / He / They should have studied harder.
(Konsāto ni ikeba yokatta noni.)
You/ She / He / They should have gone to the concert.
As you can see, adding のに to the end of these sentences changed the subject from “I” to “you/she/he/they.” Since using のに adds an element of emotion (usually negative), we can conclude that the speaker is talking about someone else to express their feelings.
Just remember that this is true only when using the conditional verb + よかったのに pattern. It is possible to use のに when talking about yourself in other situations (like the husband and wife example above). This usually happens with verbs in plain form (present or past) to express your emotions about something you did or didn’t do.
Examples: Using のに to Express Your Emotions
(Watashi ga sekkaku tsukutta noni!)
I went to all the trouble making this! (and you’re not even going to use it? / and you broke it? / etc.)
(Watashi nanimo tabetenai noni!)
I haven’t eaten anything! (we were supposed to eat lunch together, and you already ate something? / Somebody ate your food, and you’re blaming me? / etc.)
Also, remember that 良かったのに (yokatta noni) is a casual expression you would use with people close to you (friends and family) or people with a lower social status than you (kids, those with a lower rank/seniority, etc.). You would not use this expression in formal or polite situations.
よかったら (Yokattara): If It’s Good, If It’s Okay, If You Would Like
よかったら (yokattara) can mean “If it is good” or “If it’s okay with you ~.” “Yokattara” is written in both hirangana, よかったら and kanji, 良かったら.
Examples: よかったら (Yokattara)
(Tenki ga yokattara pikunikku ni ikō.)
If the weather is good, let’s go on a picnic.
(Moshi yokattara kōhī demo nomi ni ikō.)
If it’s okay with you, let’s drink some coffee.
**Note: When asking someone “if it’s okay with you,” the phrase もしよかったら (moshi yokattara) is often used. もし means “if.” Literally translated, もしよかったら would be something like “If, perhaps, it is okay with you~.” This phrase is often used when you offer something to someone (an invitation to have a meal, bring snacks to share with your co-workers, etc.).
Politely Inviting Someone Using よかったら
When using よかったら to invite someone to something, it is also very common to use the negative form of a verb to make it even more polite.
Examples: よかったら (Yokattara) + Negative Masu Form Verb + か (Ka)
((Moshi) Yokattara issho ni ohiru gohan o tabemasen ka?)
If it’s okay with you, shall we have lunch together?
((Moshi) Yokattara isshoni dekakemasen ka?)
If it’s okay with you, shall we head out together?
Politely Recommending Something to Someone Using よかったら
よかったら is also used when you want to recommend something to someone or when you offer something to someone. When you offer something to someone, どうぞ (dōzo) is often used with 良かったら (yokattara).
Please have some if you would like.
Or you could just say:
Have some if you would like.
You can also say “宜しければ”（yoroshikereba) instead of “良かったら” (yokattara). 宜しければ (yoroshikereba) is an even more polite way to recommend something to someone.
(Yokattara ocha o dōzo.)
If you like, have some tea.
2. 先週アメリカに行って、このお菓子を持って帰ってきたんです。 宜しければ召し上がってください。
(Senshū Amerika ni itte, kono okashi o motte kaette kitan desu. Yoroshikereba meshiagatte kudasai***.)
I went to America last week and brought back these snacks. Please have some if you would like.
***Note: 召し上がって (meshiagatte) is the te-form of 召し上がる (meshiagaru), which is keigo (honorific language) for “to eat.”