Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 2: 1/17

(とき)

When, At the time of

Structure

Verb + とき
[い]Adjective + とき
[な]Adjective + + とき
Noun + + とき

Details

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    Standard

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    一般

About とき

とき, or (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.)
Using とき 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 after な-Adjectives, and after nouns.
  • (せま)駐車場(ちゅうしゃじょう)(くるま)ドア()ときにドア(かべ)ぶつけ
    When I opened my car door in a small parking lot, I slammed it on the wall. (Individual event)
  • (あつ)(とき)エアコン()ましょう
    When it is hot, let's turn on the air conditioner. (Broad time)
  • (かれ)(ひま)ときに(ほん)()みます
    He reads books when he is bored. (Hobby)
  • (あめ)(とき)(いえ)ゴロゴロしています
    When it rains, I laze around in my house. (Habit)
Caution
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.
  • 昨日(きのう)学校(がっこう)から(いえ)(かえ)てた(とき)()()っこにつまづい(あし)(いた)
    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 or 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.
  • (おれ)高校生(こうこうせい)(とき)(おれ)()(おんな)()告白(こくはく)、「え、無理(むり)...」って()
    When I was in highschool I asked out a girl I liked, and she said 'umm, no way…' ((とき) is describing the broad event of 'being a highschool student', while is describing a single event that happened during that time.

Synonyms

Examples

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    散歩(さんぽ)するとき音楽(おんがく)()

    I listen to music when I take a walk.

    (わたし)カラオケ()とき(たの)しめます

    When I go to karaoke, I can have fun.

    授業(じゅぎょう)のとき(しず)かにしなくてはいけない

    When you are having class, you have to be quiet.

    あの映画(えいが)()とき()いた

    When I watched that movie, I cried.

    大変(たいへん)なとき(かれ)(おや)()くなった

    His parents died when he was going through a difficult time.

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    • Genki II 1st Edition

      Page 78

    • みんなの日本語 I

      Page 146 [CH 23]

    • Genki II 2nd Edition

      Page 104

    • みんなの日本語 II

      Page 24 [CH 28]

    • Marugoto Elementary 2 (A2) Rikai

      Page 58

    • Marugoto Elementary 1 (A2) Rikai

      Page 34

    • [DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

      Page 13 & 490

    • [AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese

      Page 114

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とき – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (9 in total)

  • Arwin1

    Arwin1

    狭い駐車場で車のドアを開けたときにドアを壁にぶつけた。
    When I opened my car door in a small parking lot, I slammed it on the wall. (Individual event)

    This example sentence from the grammar point uses とき for an individual event and is marked as such. The rest of the grammar point explains that:

    "[…] 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’. "

    So why is とき used here anyway? Feels like a strange example to me.

  • Dorade

    Dorade

    Yes I asked myself the same question, it does say that とき is used for broad periods and not specific events

  • jelly1

    jelly1

    Exactly my thoughts. The introduction/first example says it can be used for individual events but the Caution box says the opposite. Completely contradictory.

    Would be nice if we could get that point about に added to the page as well.

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