Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 10/18


Right after, As soon as, Just when, Barely


Verb[る]+ + Verb ない(*) + のうちに

(*) The same Verb has to be repeated


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About か〜ないかのうちに

か~ないかのうちに is a slightly formal grammar structure used in Japanese to indicate a precise point in time where the action of (A) can not be determined as either being started, or finished. Usually, it highlights the exact moment either before or after (A) commences. This grammar structure is comprised of か, ない, か, の, the noun (うち) 'within', and に. Literally, it just means 'while not knowing whether (A) or not (A), (B)'.
The verb that appears before か and ないか must be repeated in this grammar pattern, and may be used in its dictionary form. Standard translations include 'right after (A)', 'as soon as (A)', and 'barely when (A)'.
  • (ちち)はビールを()()わる()()わらないかのうちに(あたら)しい(かん)()けた。
    My father opened a new can of beer as soon as he finished his beer.
  • (かれ)椅子(いす)(すわ)(すわ)ないかのうちに、テレビをつけた。
    He turned his TV on just as he sat down.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)(くるま)()まる()まらないかのうちに、ドアを()けて(えき)へと(はし)っていった。
    Just as the car stopped, she opened the door and ran to the station.
Additionally, か~ないかのうちに may be used to highlight relatively short periods of time within which something happens. This is usually in regard to some sort of positive or negative occurrence that would not usually be expected to be able to happen so quickly.
  • 就活(しゅうかつ)(はじ)めて1週間(しゅうかん)()()ないかのうちに仕事(しごと)()つかった。
    In just a week of looking for a new job, I found a job.
  • 戦争(せんそう)()わる()わらないかのうちに原爆(げんばつ)()とされた。
    An atomic bomb was dropped, just when the war was about to end.




    Right after I washed my car, it started raining. I was so frustrated.


    As soon as I open the door our dog always jumps out and licks my face.


    These days, people take out their smartphones and surf the web as soon as they wake up.


    My style is to take off the meat just when it starts to burn.


    Just when I was going to be treated, I had to go home (had to pay my own way).

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か〜ないかのうちに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (5 in total)

  • MZa


    In the following example sentence 彼女かのじょくるままるかまらないかのうちに、ドアをけてえきへとはしっていった。I don’t understand why there is a とin 駅へと.

  • nekoyama


    へと is similar to へ by itself, but emphasises a bit more that it’s about a direction.

  • MZa


    Ok thank you. I may have never encountered this particles’ combination or it’s the first time I noticed it.

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