Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 2: 14/17


Each, Every


Verb + ごとに
Noun + ごとに


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About ごとに

ごとに is an combination of the noun ごと, and the particle . Together, they are used adverbially to express that something happens 'every (A)', or 'at intervals of (A)'. ごとに may be used after any verb (usually in non-past form), or noun.
  • (わたし)(かれ)()ごとに、「(なに)()たい?」()かれます
    Every time I see him, he asks me 'What do you want to eat?'
  • (わたし)3時間(じかん)ごとに菓子(かし)()ます
    I eat snacks every 3 hours.
Although ごとに may be used after verbs, the most common use is with nouns, or phrases that finish with nouns.
ごと is the 訓読(くんよ)み (Japanese reading) of the kanji (まい), which means 'every'. This fact will be important when trying to remember the difference between ごとに and おきに, a similar grammar point which can also mean 'every', but focuses more on 'interval' or 'gap' of a specific time or distance. Due to おきに focusing on the space between 'each (A)', there are sentences where おきに and ごとに will have different meanings.
  • (わたし)一週間(いっしゅうかん)ごとに実家(じっか)(かえ)ます
    I go to my parents' home every week. (Every single one)
  • (わたし)一週間(いっしゅうかん)おきに実家(じっか)(かえ)ます
    I go to my parents' home every other week. (With 'spaces' or 'gaps' of 1 week)
Here, we can see that ごとに will mean 'every week', while おきに will mean 'every second week', due to there being a 'one week interval' when おきに is used. To make things easier, these two expressions can be remembered in the following way.
(A) ごとに = During every (A), (B).
(A) おきに = After every space of (A), (B).
Fun Fact
Many native speakers make mistakes with the difference between おきに and ごとに, so there are quite a large number of people (especially in the younger generation) that will consider them completely interchangeable.



  • 彼女(かのじょ)運転中(うんてんちゅう)赤信号(あかしんごう)ごとに携帯(けいたい)()

    She looks at her phone at every red light while driving.

    • ()かけるごとに(わす)(もの)する

      Every time I go out I forget something.

      • (なつ)ごとにアメリカ(かえ)ります

        Every summer I go back to America.

        • 生徒(せいと)ごとに(かみ)(わた)した

          I gave a paper to every student. (Each)

          • 二日(ふつか)ごとに友達(ともだち)サッカーする

            I play soccer with my friend every two days.

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            ごとに – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (8 in total)

            • wmwmw



            • bokudake


              Same, I was asked to expand my answer on a review, but forgot about the existence of ごとに.
              Still, i don’t know what the difference is between these two grammar points.

            • gutocbs


              Hi guys!

              In this sentence, what is the interval?

              I though this grammar would work only with intervals, like time for example, but I can’t see why it is used here.

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