Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 2: 18/22

最中(さいちゅう)

In the middle of

Structure

Verb[ている]+ 最中(さいちゅう) + Phrase
Noun + + 最中(さいちゅう) + Phrase
Verb[ている](1) + 最中(さいちゅう) +

(1) Noun+

Details

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    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About 最中に

While (ちゅう) highlights that something is in the process of happening (when used in relation to events/actions), 最中(さいちゅう) strengthens that meaning further, to show that something is 'right in the middle of happening'. As the kanji (さい) means 'utmost', we can see that the literal meaning is 'utmost middle'. This can be translated in a similar way to phrases like 'at the height of (A)', or 'in the midst of (A)', in English.
When using 最中(さいちゅう), a (B) part of the sentence will usually highlight something else that happened during (A), somehow interrupting or disturbing it.
To use 最中(さいちゅう), attach it to the end of the ている form of a verb, or a noun followed by の.
  • 祖母(ばあ)ちゃん()(もち)()べている最中(さいちゅう)ポロっ()れた。
    Grandma's tooth fell out right in the middle of eating mochi.
  • 仕事(しごと)最中(さいちゅう)怪我(けが)たら(だま)っていないですぐに責任者(せきにんしゃ)電話(でんわ)てください
    If you get hurt in the middle of work, please don't keep it to yourself and notify your supervisor.
  • (いま)犯人(はんにん)()いかけている最中(さいちゅう)
    Right now, I'm in the midst of chasing a criminal.
Caution
最中(さいちゅう) may also occasionally be used with adjectives, but this is uncommon. In these cases, the meaning is to be at the 'pinnacle' of whatever the adjective is describing (usually a feeling/emotion).
  • 冗談(じょうだん)でも(かな)しい最中(さいちゅう)悪口(わるぐち)()われる、もっと(かな)しくなる。
    Even if it is a joke, when someone says something mean when I am really sad, I get even more sad.
  • 一生懸命(いっしょうけんめい)最中(さいちゅう)(はな)()けられる一気(いっき)集中力(しゅうちゅうりょく)なくなる。
    When someone talks to me when I am highly concentrated, I suddenly lose my concentration.

Examples

  • 映画(えいが)()ている最中(さいちゅう)(かれ)電話(でんわ)をした。

    He made a phone call in the middle of watching the movie.

  • 家族(かぞく)食事(しょくじ)最中(さいちゅう)携帯(けいたい)(さわ)らないで。

    Don't use your cellphone while in the middle of dinner with your family.

  • (あさ)散歩(さんぽ)最中(さいちゅう)(いぬ)()まれた。

    I was bitten by a dog while in the middle of my morning walk.

  • ()ている最中(さいちゅう)(こえ)をかけるのはやめてほしい。

    I want you to stop trying to talk to me while I am sleeping.

  • 仕事(しごと)最中(さいちゅう)旅行(りょこう)(はなし)ばかりするのはやめてください。

    Please stop talking about traveling while you are at work.

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最中に – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • bambusmatte

    bambusmatte

    It can also be used with で, for example:

    ゲームの最中で (during the game)

  • Fuga

    Fuga

    Hey there @bambusmatte !

    で would not work with 最中 since it is a particle used to highlight the ‘place’ that is required for an action to take. Since 最中 is not a place に would be more natural to use since に is a particle that can be used for both ‘place’ and ‘time’.

    I hope this helps!

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