Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 2: 6/17


As soon as, The moment, When


Verb[る]+ なり


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About なり

なり is an old-fashioned particle in Japanese that has several different uses. One of those uses is to convey the meaning of 'as soon as (A), (B)', or 'the moment of (A), (B)'. This structure will follow the dictionary form of verbs and is classified as a conjunction particle.
(B) is usually something that is surprising, and brought about by a strong sense of will or emotion. Additionally, なり is almost always used in relation to other people, rather than oneself.
  • 息子(むすこ)(いえ)()がるなりトイレへと()()んだ。
    My son ran to the toilet as soon as he entered the house.
  • ママ(とも)(わたし)(いえ)(はい)なり冷蔵庫(れいぞうこ)(なか)物色(ぶっしょく)(はじ)めた。
    As soon as my mom-friend came into my house, she started to go through my refrigerator.
  • (かれ)(つくえ)(すわ)なりすぐスマホをいじり(はじ)めたから注意(ちゅうい)した。
    I warned him because he started playing on his phone as soon as he sat down.
Fun Fact
Despite appearing to be a conjugation of the う-Verb なる 'to become' at first glance, なり is actually one of the readings of (なり), meaning 'shape', and refers to the overall situation of (A) in a similar way to ところ.


  • (おど)りを()なり彼女(かのじょ)(きゅう)にキスしてくれたんだ。気持(きも)いい

    As soon as I stopped dancing, she suddenly kissed me. I feel great.

  • (ちち)出張(しゅっちょう)から(かえ)なり(はは)()きだした。

    The moment father returned home from a business trip, mother started crying.

    verb-stem + だす and verb-て + しまう are often used in the following clause (B).

  • 故郷(ふるさと)(かえ)なり灰燼(かいじん)()した(いえ)()て、(おどろ)き、(かな)しんだ。

    The moment I returned to my home town, I saw my house reduced to ashes. I was shocked and saddened.

    なり is very often used with words of movement and perception like 帰る, 入る, 見る, 聞く, 発見, etc.

  • 実家(じっか)(かあ)さんからの電報(でんぽう)()なり山田(やまだ)さん(あお)ざめた。

    As soon as he received a telegram from his mother, Yamada became pale.

  • うちの(おく)さん毎日(まいにち)()なりスマホ電子(でんし)メール()ている。

    As soon as my wife wakes up, she checks mail on her smartphone.

    This can be also used when talking about habits, it is often the case if following clause, (B), is not in the past tense.

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