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Japanese Particles Indicating Time

Japanese Particles Indicating Time

1. に (ni)

2. から (kara)

3. まで

4. までに

5. から…まで (kara … made)

6. より (yori)

7. ほど (hodo)

8. くらい, ぐらい (kurai, gurai)

9. ころ, ごろ (koro, goro)

10. ばかり (bakari)

1. に (ni)

Used after words indicating the  specific point in time  (e.g., “three o’clock”) at which—or a  interval  (e.g., “one week”) during which—an action takes place. English equivalent: “at.”

i) 明日あした会議会議は3時はじまります。

Tomorrow’s meeting will start at 3:00.

 ii) 1週間しゅうかん1かいピアノのレッスンにきます。

I go to have a piano lesson once a week.

Some words that indicate time do not take に (ni). For example,

Days (): yesterday (昨日きのう), today (今日きょう), tomorrow (明日あした)

Weeks (しゅう): last week (先週せんしゅう), this week (今週こんしゅう), next week (来週らいしゅう)

Months (つき): last month (先月せんげつ), this month (今月こんげつ), next month (来月らいげつ)

   i) 今週こんしゅうさむおおい。

There have been a lot of cold days this week.

  ii) 来月らいげつ海外旅行かいがいりょこうく。

I’m going to make a trip abroad next month.

Some words indicating time can either take に (ni) or not take it. For example,

Seasons (季節きせつ): spring (はる), summer (なつ),  fall (あき), winter (ふゆ)

   i) ふゆは東京に行きますが、なつにハワイに行きます。

I’ll be in Tokyo in winter, but I will go to Hawaii in summer.

  ii) 去年きょねんあき韓国かんこくにいました。

I was in Korea last fall.

2. から(kara)

Indicates  the point in time  from which an action com-mences. から is sometimes interchangeable with に, but even then it places more emphasis on the starting point (see third sample below, where から could be replaced by に). English equivalents: “from,” “at.”

   i) 学校がっこうは8からです。

School starts at 8:30.

  ii) 投票とうひょうができるのは、20さいからです。

You can vote from the age of twenty.

 iii) 明日あした会議かいぎは3時から始まります。

Tomorrow’s meeting will start from 3:00

3. まで (made)

Indicates the time at which a  continuous action comes to an end , or the moment at which something occurs (such as when one gets tired) that brings a continuous action to an end. English equivalents: “until.”

   i) 会議会議は3時半じはんまでつづきました。

The meeting continued until 3:30.

  ii) 昨日昨日おそまで仕事しごとをした。

Yesterday I worked until late.

 iii) つかれるまではしろう。

Let’s run until we’re tired out.

4. までに (made ni)

Indicates the time by which something  will or must be finished . までに is basically setting a time limit, whereas まで (3) is simply stating the fact that something continued from this point in time to that. The two are most easily distinguished by remem-bering their English equivalents. English equivalent: “by.”

   i) 明日あした10時までに空港くうこうあつまってください。

Meet up at the airport by 10:00 tomorrow.

  ii) この書類書類のコピーをひるまでに取らなければなりません。

I have to make a copy of this document by noon.

5. から … まで (kara … made)

A combination of から (2) and まで (3). Indicates the  starting point and ending point  of an interval of time during which an action takes place. English equivalent: “from … to.”

   i) 仕事しごと月曜日げつようびから金曜日きんようびです。

Work/my job is from Monday to Friday.

  ii) デパートは10時から8時まで開いています。

The department store is open from 10:00 to 8:00.

6. より (yori)

Like から (2), indicates the  point in time  from which an action commences, but より has a more formal or official sound. English equivalent: “from.”

   i) 大統領だいとうりょう記者会見きしゃかいけんは3時よりおこなわれる。

The President’s press conference will be held from 3:00.

  ii) 入社式にゅうしゃしき午前ごぜん10時より11時半じはんまでの予定よてい

The ceremony to welcome new employees is scheduled to be held from 10:00 until 11:30 A.M.

7. ほど (hodo)

Indicates an  approximate amount of time , with the slight connotation that the figure given is the maximum. It has a formal ring to it. English equivalent: “approximately.”

   i) 電車でんしゃ到着とうちゃくは、事故じこのため30分ほどおくれます。

Due to an accident, the train will be approximately 30 minutes late.

  ii) 会社かいしゃますので、あと15分ほどしたらそちらにうかがいます。

I am leaving the office now, so I will arrive there (where you are) in approximately 15 minutes.

8. くらい, ぐらい (kurai, gurai)

Indicates an  approximate amount of time , with the slight connotation that the figure given is the minimum. This particle does not have the formal sound of ほど (7). くらい and ぐらい are interchangeable. English equivalent “about,” “around.”

   i) いえから会社かいしゃまで、40分くらいかかります。

It takes about 40 minutes from home to the office.

  ii) 仕事しごとが後5分くらいわりますので、すこしおちください。

The work will be finished in another five minutes or so, so please wait a bit longer.

9. ころ, ごろ (koro, goro)

Indicates  approximation when referring to a point in time . The two particles are largely interchangeable. Compare this with に (1), which indicates an exact point in time, and くらい, ぐらい (8) which indicate an approximate amout of time. English equivalents: “around,” “about.”

   i) 3時ごろ、そちらに伺います。

I will call on you around 3:00.

  ii) 毎朝まいあさ6時ごろきます。

I get up every morning around 6:00.

10. ばかり (bakari)

Follows a verb in the past tense and indicates that an action  has just been concluded . English equivalent: “just.”




A:I am sorry to be late and to keep you waiting.

B:Don’t mention it. I have just arrived myself.



I just finished cleaning and here you are already making a mess.

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