Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 1: 6/22


Before it becomes, Before ~ occurs, Without

Unfavorable result


Verb[ない]+ うちに + Phrase


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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.




    Before I could notice, the train had started to depart (without me). (without noticing・before noticing occurs)


    Before I knew it, my friend was divorced.


    Before we became close, my co-worker quit.


    Come back home before it gets dark.


    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


    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


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

  • mrnoone



    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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