, or 時（とき）
in kanji, is a noun that is regularly used to signify ‘when’ something was done. However, unlike some other time expressions, とき
is mainly used to express things that happen at regular intervals (habits, hobbies, etc.), or at broad times/individual events (when it rains, when there is a sale at the shop, etc.)
is quite easy! You just need to attach it to the end of any independent word (verbs, nouns, or adjectives). As with most cases where you will attach a noun to another word in Japanese, we will also be required to use な before な-Adjectives
, and の
When I opened my car door in a small parking lot, I slammed it on the wall. (Individual event)
When it is hot, let's turn on the air conditioner. (Broad time)
He reads books when he is bored. (Hobby)
When it rains, I laze around in my house. (Habit)
As discussed previously, とき
is primarily used to discuss broad times. What this means is that it will not be used to discuss very specific events. For example ‘the time you tripped over a log and hurt your foot’. Although this type of sentence will not be grammatically incorrect, it will sound quite unnatural.
Yesterday, when I was going home from school, I tripped on a tree root and hurt my foot. (Too specific, another grammar point will work better)
In cases like the above example, using たら
will be much more natural. If とき
is used, the nuance will be that it is describing the whole situation, rather than the more specific event that happened.
When I was in highschool I asked out a girl I liked, and she said ‘umm, no way…’ (時（とき） is describing the broad event of ‘being a highschool student’, while て is describing a single event that happened during that time.