Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 1: 6/22

ない(うち)

Before it becomes, Before ~ occurs, Without

Unfavorable result

Structure

Verb[ない]+ うちに + Phrase

Details

  • Register

    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

Rare Kanji

無い

About ないうちに

In contrast to うちに, which is often used to express the 'optimal', or 'best' time within which something should occur, ないうちに expresses the time within which something 'does not' occur, and results in (or causes) something negative, or will cause something negative if not dealt with. This means that 'before (A) happens (B)', or 'without (A) happening, (B).
うちに will be paired with verbs in their ない (negative) form, before the (B) phrase highlights something that 'is done to prevent (A) from happening', or 'happened unfortunately during (A)'.
  • こうき(くん)全然(ぜんぜん)()ないうちに(すご)(おお)きくなったね!
    Kouki-kun, you have grown so much during the time we haven't met. (Since the last time I saw you)
  • また電話(でんわ)かけ(わす)るところだった(わす)ないうちに電話(でんわ)しておかなきゃ
    I was just about to forget to make a phone call again. I should call before I forget.
Fun Fact
(まえ) and ないうちに are used in very similar situations, with the primary difference being that ないうちに focuses more on unfavorable results.
  • ()かける(まえ)バイオリン練習(れんしゅう)ないといけない
    I need to practice playing my violin before I go out.
  • ()ないうちに(いえ)(まえ)あるラーメン()(つぶ)ていた
    Without realizing it, the ramen shop in front of my house went out of business.

Examples

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  • ()づかないうちに列車(れっしゃ)出発(しゅっぱつ)してしまっていた。

    Without realizing it, the train had started to depart (without me).

    • (わたし)()ないうちに友達(ともだち)離婚(りこん)していた。

      Before I knew it, my friend was divorced.

      • まだ(した)しくならないうちに同僚(どうりょう)()めてしまった。

        Before we became close, my co-worker quit.

        • (くら)くならないうちに(かえ)って()なさい

          Come back home before it gets dark.

          • ()きられないうちに新商品(しんしょうひん)()した(ほう)いいな。

            I think we should introduce a new product before the people lose interest.

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            ないうちに – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

            • Pushindawood

              Pushindawood

              Thank you for point these out to us! I have updated the related grammar section to include 前に and have added a note about it in the information section on the Meaning page. I have also removed the redundant resource listing and added the tanos link that you provided. Cheers!

              We love you too!

            • en_velours

              en_velours

              I think there’s a mistake in this example sentence,

            • mrnoone

              mrnoone

              @en_velours
              Hey

              That’s actually my error, I changed sentence to ひめる because it sounds more natural that way, but forgot to change the word for conjugation

              It should be all good now.

              Sorry for the inconvenience

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