Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 9: 3/15

while ~ing, during, as

The subject of A and B must be the same.

Verb[ます+ ながら
Register Standard
使用域 一般
ながら is another 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし) (conjunction particle) in Japanese that has two primary different meanings. These meanings are as follows:
同時(どうじ)動(うご)き - Two things that are existing/happening simultaneously.
確定(かくてい)逆説(ぎゃくせつ) - Two things that are unexpectedly existing/happening simultaneously.
We will focus purely on the 同時(どうじ)動(うご)き meaning in this grammar point. To use ながら, simply add it to the ます stem of verb (A), and then highlight verb (B) as part of the following clause. This may be translated simply as ‘while’ in English.
  • 私(わたし)毎日(まいにち)、音楽(おんがく)聴(き)きながら走(はし)ります
    I run every day, while listening to music.
  • 運転(うんてん)しながら携帯(けいたい)使(つか)っていたら、前(まえ)車(くるま)にぶつかっ
    When I was using my phone while driving, I crashed into the car in front of me.
Grammatically, the (B) action is considered to be the ‘important’ action, while the (A) action expresses the timeline within which (B) takes place.
Due to the (B) action being considered the ‘primary’ action of something that (A) is related to, (A) and (B) must have the same subject.
  • 高校(こうこう)頃(ころ)サッカー練習(れんしゅう)ながら漢字(かんじ)勉強(べんきょう)
    When I was in high school, I studied kanji while also practicing soccer. (Natural Japanese, as the overall timeline of the sentence is ‘while in high school’)
  • 漢字(かんじ)勉強(べんきょう)ながらアニメ見(み)
    I watch anime while studying kanji. (Natural Japanese, as the speaker is doing both things at the same time)
  • 大学(だいがく)に通(かよ)いながら、トランプ氏(し)アメリカ大統領(だいとうりょう)だった
    Trump was the president of America while I was going to university. (Unnatural Japanese. Although the events happen at the same time, they share no common subject/place)
Fun Fact
When used to express 確定(かくてい)逆説(ぎゃくせつ), ながら will be followed by . ながらも is a separate grammar point that we will learn more about later. In this construction, is expressing surprise about the fact that (A) and (B) coexist.
  • あそこ病院(びょういん)古(ふる)ながらも中(なか)綺麗(きれい)と聞(き)いた
    I heard that that hospital looks nice inside, even though it is old.
Slow Male
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I watch my favorite TV show while eating dinner.
The baby farted while sleeping.
Let's get coffee while we wait for our friends.
[while waiting]
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 119
みんなの日本語 II
Page 24 [CH 28]
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 148
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 269
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 291