Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 1: 5/22

(うち)

While, During

Structure

Verb[ている]+ うちに
[い]Adjective + うちに
[な]Adjective + + うちに
Noun + + うちに

Details

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    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

Rare Kanji

裡に

About うちに

When うち, (sometimes seen using the kanji (うち), or (うち)) is paired with the case marking particle , it expresses a period/space 'within' which something else will/should happen/exist. It quite often (but not always) carries the nuance of (A) being the 'best', or the 'optimal' time/space within which (B) could occur/exist. In English, うちに can simply be translated as 'while', or 'during'.
うちに may be paired with the ている form of verbs, the plain form of い-Adjectives, nouns followed by の, or な-Adjectives that are followed by な.
  • (かれ)毎日(まいにち)()っているうちにだんだんと(かれ)(こと)()なってきた
    As I've been meeting with him everyday, I have gradually come to like him. (As I spend more time with him every day, I have grown to like him)
  • (あつ)うちに()べて!
    Eat it while it's hot!
  • (じい)ちゃんがまだ元気(げんき)うちに家族(かぞく)(みんな)旅行(りょこう)()こう!
    Let's all go on a family trip while grandpa is still healthy!
  • (いま)うちに明日(あした)準備(じゅんび)しておこう。
    Let's get ready for tomorrow while we have time. (Before it is too late)
Unlike (あいだ), うちに expresses something that can happen/exist anywhere 'within' the span of (A), and is therefore non-specific as to where (B) is located.
  • 運転(うんてん)ている(あいだ)(ねむ)くなったので、コンビニ休憩(きゅうけい)した。
    I got sleepy while driving, so I took a break at a convenience store. (While in the process of driving)
  • 運転(うんてん)しているうちに(ねむ)くなったので、コンビニ休憩(きゅうけい)した。
    I got sleepy while driving, so I took a break at a convenience store. (At one point while driving)
Fun Fact
The kanji (うち) refers literally to the inner walls/lining of something, and anything that is enclosed within that space. This can be thought of as where the 'non-specificity' of うち comes from, in regard to where within that space something is.

Synonyms

Examples

  • 授業(じゅぎょう)()けているうちに宿題(しゅくだい)完成(かんせい)させた。

    I was able to finish my homework while taking a class.

  • (あか)ちゃん()べているうちに()てしまった。

    The baby fell asleep while eating.

  • (ちか)うちに連絡(れんらく)します。

    I'll be in touch before long.

  • 日本(にっぽん)にいるうちに東京(とうきょう)()ってみたい。

    While I am in Japan, I want to see Tokyo.

  • 朝顔(あさがお)はみるみるうちに成長(せいちょう)し、(おお)きくなった。

    The Morning Glory grew taller and got bigger within a short time.

    朝顔 is Japanese for 'Morning Glory', a flower species.

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うちに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (14 in total)

  • Redglare

    Redglare

    About 8 months ago

    It’s giving me the orange funny face when I enter うちの, but also showing as an alternative correct answer after entering just うち. Not a fan of mixed signals. Is うちの acceptable in this case or not?

    Images hidden for space

  • Desopolis

    Desopolis

    About 3 months ago

    I’m using the grammar book “New Kanzen Master N3” at a Tokyo language school and it has some different nuance and I’m not seeing it matched anywhere. Not sure how much it matters but I figured I’d add it.

    In the book, has two meanings for うちに
    ~うちに…

    1. Do: …(verb) before state/situation changes. The Phrase ~ expresses a state or situation, and … expresses an intentional action.

    2. While: ~ (continuous process or action) is happening, … (a change) also happens. Refers to a change that happens without to volition of the speaker during a certain period.

    for 1, it seems the time isn’t just the best, but a possible limit. Like “While in Japan” implies that time is limited (before that state changes)

    for 2, The second action is a change and one out of the persons control: 赤ちゃんは食べているうちに寝てしまった。
    The baby fell asleep while eating.

    with the action of falling asleep being out of the persons control…

  • Glaciem52

    Glaciem52

    About 1 month ago

    This is the ChatGPT It would be nice if someone can confirm if this is right.

    1. 運転している間に眠くなったので、コンビニで休憩をした。
    • Translation: “While (I) was driving, I became sleepy, so I took a break at the convenience store.”
    • Usage of 間に (aida ni): This sentence uses “間に” to emphasize the temporal relationship between the action of driving and the feeling of becoming sleepy. It suggests that the sleepiness occurred during the ongoing action of driving.
    1. 運転しているうちに眠くなったので、コンビニで休憩をした。
    • Translation: “While (I) was in the process of driving, I became sleepy, so I took a break at the convenience store.”
    • Usage of うちに (uchi ni): This sentence uses “うちに” to emphasize the completion of the action (運転している) before the sleepiness sets in. It implies a sense of urgency or the desire to take a break before the sleepi...

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