Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 8: 1/19


As soon as, No sooner than, The minute


Verb[る]+ (いな)(1) + Phrase[た]



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About や否や

(いな), like か(いな)か, is a grammar pattern that makes use of (いな) 'no', an interjection. However, unlike the pairing with the adverbial particle か 'or' when stating 'whether or not (A)', the pairing of (いな) with や in its role as a conjunction particle has the meaning of 'as soon as (A)', or 'no sooner than (A)'. Remembering that や simply highlights the word before it is not being limited to that, the literal meaning of (いな) is 'at a point when neither (A) or not (A) could be determined, (B)'.
(いな)や will be used after verbs in their dictionary form.
  • (わたし)部屋(へや)から()てくるのを()(いな)()()()()っていたものを(わたし)()げて、()げていった。
    As soon as the burglar saw me coming out of the room, he threw everything that was in his hand at me and ran away.
  • (おれ)(かお)()(いな)友達(ともだち)(いぬ)()()した。
    As soon as he saw my face, my friend's dog started barking.
  • (かれ)(せき)(すわ)(いな)「とりあえず(なま)(ひと)つ」といった。
    He said 'I'll have a beer to start' as soon as he sat down.
(いな) is a formal expression that will generally be used when (B) is something that happens spontaneously, or is surprising.
As や itself carries the 'not limited to' meaning, it is also possible to see this structure with the (いな)や part omitted. In these situations, the meaning will not change at all. や in this case behaves similarly to か when presenting a question in the middle of a sentence, and sounds like 'when not certain that (A), (B)'.
  • (かれ)(ほん)(ひら)()た。
    He fell asleep as soon as he opened the book.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)はあの(きょく)()()(はじ)めた。
    She started to cry as soon as she listened to the song.



  • 記事(きじ)警察官(けいさつかん)()()(いな)(きゅう)(はし)()した。

    Article: 'As soon as he noticed the policeman, he suddenly started to run.'

    • 小説(しょうせつ):「(かれ)があくびをする(いな)彼女(かのじょ)もあくびが()てしまった。」

      Novel: 'As soon as he has yawned, the girl also yawned.'

      • 小説(しょうせつ):「()()てのパン(さら)()てくる(いな)すぐに(かれ)(くち)(なか)()えた。」

        Novel: 'As soon as the freshly baked bread appeared on the plate, it immediately disappeared in his mouth.'

        • 小説(しょうせつ):「とっくの(むかし)()くなっている友達(ともだち)からもらった、(ふる)手紙(てがみ)()(はじ)(いな)感情(かんじょう)があふれ、たちまち(なみだ)(あふ)れてしまった。」

          Novel: 'As soon as I started reading an old letter I received from a friend who was long gone, my feelings flooded and I suddenly dissolved into tears.'

          • アイドルについて小説(しょうせつ):「照橋(てるはし)さんはサングラスを(はず)(いな)あっという()にファンが(まわ)りに(たか)った。」

            Novel about idols: 'As soon as Teruhashi-san took off the sunglasses, in the blink of an eye, she was surrounded by fans.'

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