Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 5: 17/17


As soon as, Right after, Even if … still


Verb[る]+ そばから + Phrase
Verb[た]+ そばから + Phrase


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About そばから

そばから is a combination of the noun (そば) 'side', and the case marking particle から 'from'. It illustrates something that happens immediately upon (A), and can be translated as 'as soon as (A), (B)', or 'right after (A), (B)'.
(B) is usually something that is considered annoying, unfavorable, or somehow nullifies (A) by the speaker, but there are exceptions. If the more literal translation of 'from right beside (A), (B)' helps to remember the nuance of (B) happening straight away, then that may be a helpful way to memorize this construction.
そばから will follow verbs in either their dictionary or past-tense forms.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)約束(やくそく)をするそばからすぐ約束(やくそく)(やぶ)る。
    She breaks her promises as soon as she makes them.
  • (かれ)注意(ちゅうい)するそばから失敗(しっぱい)をするから、(わたし)のいうことは()いていないんだろう。
    I guess he doesn't listen to me because he makes mistakes as soon as I warn him.
  • パソコンを(なお)したそばからまた(こわ)れてしまうから(こま)っている。
    I'm having trouble with my computer because it breaks down just as soon as I fix it.
  • (はや)()みすぎると()んだそばから(わす)れるから、もっとゆっくり()(よう)にしている。
    I try to read more slowly, because if I read too quickly, I forget as soon as I read it.
Regardless of whether the dictionary or the past-tense form of a verb is used, as そばから means 'right after (A)', the meaning will not change at all.
そばから will almost always imply that (B) is something that always happens upon (A), rather than being a once-off situation.
  • (くるま)洗車(せんしゃ)()えるそばから(あめ)()ってきた。
    It started to rain as soon as I was about to finish washing my car.



  • メリーさん(ゆめ)(おぼ)えている?」

    Merry: 'Do you remember your dreams?'
    Yumeji: 'Dreams are something I forget as soon as I wake up, but if I wake up in the middle of the night and go back to sleep then I remember.'

    • 自転車(じてんしゃ)(なお)そばから(こわ)しまう

      My bike breaks as soon as I repair it.

      • あなたって(ひと)、「やる()そばからやるんだから

        People like you are just… As soon as I told you not to do it, you still do it…

        While そばから is slightly old fashioned, 言ったそばから is still a common expression. In this case, あなたって人は expresses exasperation of the speaker, similar to the English 'How dare you!'.

        • (おそ)わっそばから(おな)間違(まちが)おかし

          I made the same mistake as soon as I learned of it.

          • ケーキ(あつ)から(さわ)ないように言っそばからいつ~(そうし)。

            As soon as I told him not to touch the cake because it was hot, he… (did so).

            The clause after 言ったそばから is often omitted because the intention of the speaker can be understood from the context.

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            そばから – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

            • Slysoft


              Is it just me or does the audio for the sentence 教わったそばから同じ間違いをおかした say 終わったそばから

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