Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 1: 4/23

中(ちゅう)
during・while, throughout, in the process of

Can be read as じゅう/ちゅう

Structure
Noun +
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
As a 接尾語(せつびご) (suffix), 中(ちゅう) is frequently used to highlight a period of time (or space). By attaching the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) , the sentence can be modified, to show that (B) is happening/existing throughout the timeframe/space of (A). This is often translated as ‘throughout (A), (B)’, or ‘during (A), (B)’. First, let’s take a look at 中(ちゅう) being used to show events that are in process.
  • 今(いま)は仕事(しごと)中(ちゅう)なん
    I am in the middle of working right now.
  • 締(し)め切(き)りは今月(こんげつ)中(ちゅう)なんです
    The deadline is sometime this month.
Now, to show that a (B) event is happening within (A), simply add the 格助詞(かくじょし) to show a ‘temporal location’. This will be done by attaching to the end of any noun that you would like to indicate as the being the ‘space’ within which another thing exists/occurs.
  • 彼(かれ)は休憩(きゅうけい)中(ちゅう)本(ほん)読(よ)む。
    He reads books during his break.
  • 私(わたし)は勉強(べんきょう)中(ちゅう)話(はな)される嫌(きら)い
    I don't like being talked to while studying.
  • 今日(きょう)中(じゅう)レポート提出(ていしゅつ)してください
    Please submit your papers by today.
  • 今年(ことし)中(じゅう)イタリア行(い)きたい
    I want to go to Italy this year.
In these examples, we can see that 中(ちゅう)に is sometimes read/said as 中(じゅう)に. The basic rule for when to use ちゅう or when to use じゅう is as follows:
中(ちゅう)に - Expresses a very specific (usually small) amount of time/space, or something that is not always the same (an amount of time/space that can change, depending on the person/situation). This ‘thing’ that ちゅう highlights is usually a ‘process’, and therefore means that (A) is ‘in the process’ of happening.
Examples - A meeting, class, visit to somewhere.
  • 食事(しょくじ)中(ちゅう)に電話(でんわ)かかってくる、イラっとする
    It ticks me off when I get a phone call while I'm eating.
中(じゅう)に - Expresses a predetermined amount of time/space that will always remain the same, regardless of the person/situation. Therefore, じゅう does not highlight a ‘process’, but focuses on the ‘length’ or ‘space’ itself. This tends to mean ‘all throughout’, as it focuses on the full amount of time/space.
Examples - A day, year, house, town or country.
  • ゴミ家(いえ)中(じゅう)に広(ひろ)がっていて、歩(ある)くスペースない
    There is so much garbage throughout my house, that there is no room to walk.
Caution
There is also a difference between 音読(おんよ)み (chinese readings of words), and 訓読(くんよ)み (japanese readings of words).
じゅう is used more frequently with 訓読(くんよ)み - (今年中(ことしじゅう), 夏休(なつやす)み中(じゅう), 今晩中(こんばんじゅう))
ちゅう is used more frequently with 音読(おんよ)み - (水中(すいちゅう), 会議中(かいぎちゅう), 試合中(しあいちゅう).
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
一日(いちにち)中(じゅう)勉強(べんきょう)をした。
I studied throughout the day.
Play  
授業(じゅぎょう)中(ちゅう)にトイレに行(い)きたくなった。
During class, I had to go to the bathroom.
During the class.
Play  
テスト中(ちゅう)に私(わたし)の携帯(けいたい)が鳴(な)ってしまった。
My phone accidentally rang during the test.
Play  
Books
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 54