How to use 中=chuu

January 6, 2015 in Beginners, Kanji



= Nee, koko aite iru kara chotto nozoite mo ii?

= Hey, this store is open. Can I take a peek?

Hi everyone! Happy New Year!!! This is your first lesson of the year here.

You will have lots of lessons this year. Are you ready?

OK, today’s lesson for beginners. I will teach you how/when to use 

First, let’s look at the kanji.



 !star! How to read the kanji


* 訓読み(=kun yomi) kun-reading

:rrrr: なか=naka

* 音読み(=on yomi) on-reading 

:rrrr: ちゅう/じゅう= chuu/juu

*the meaning: “middle /  center / inside

This is one of the easiest kanji. Even I can write it!



maggie 中

But there are some important ways to use it so here we go. !DANCING!

1) location: in / inside

*箱の= hako no naka = in a box, inside of a box

Ex. 箱のには何が入っていますか?

= Hako no naka ni wa nani ga haitte imasu ka?

= What’s inside the box?

*教室の= kyoushitsu no naka= in the classroom

Ex. 教室のには生徒が5人だけいた。

= Kyoushitsu no naka ni wa seito ga gonin dake ita.

= There were only five students in the classroom.

*建物の= tatemono naka = in/ inside of the building

Ex. この建物のにはエレベーターがありません。

= Kono tatemono no naka ni wa erebeetaa ga arimasen.

= There are no elevators in the building.

Ex. にどうぞお入り下さい。

= Naka ni douzo ohairi kudasai.

= Please come in.

*頭の= atama no naka = in one’s head, in one’s mind

Ex. 頭のは、仕事のことでいっぱいだ。

= Atama no naka wa, shigoto no koto de ippai da.

= I am preoccupied with work.

2) location: middle, center /  a center of attention, activity, etc.

*真ん=mannaka = right in the middle

Ex. あの二人は道の真んでずっとおしゃべりしている。

= Ano futari wa michi no mannaka de zutto oshaberi shiteiru.

= Those two has been chatting in the middle on the street for a long time.

*= chuushin= center

Ex. 円の= en no chuushin= middle of a circle

Ex. 世界の= sekai no chuushin = in the center of the world

Ex. 話題の= wadai no chuushin= focus of interest

Ex.心人物 = chuushin jinbutsu= the central figure

3) during a certain period of time, the entire/the whole/throughout+ certain period of time , from the beginning to the end

*午前= gozenchuu = in the morning/ during the morning

Ex. 午前ずっと寝ていた。

= Gozenchuu zutto nete ita.

= I was sleeping in all the morning

*一日= ichinichijuu = all day long

Ex. 一日、ゲームをしていた。

= Ichinichijuu, geimu wo shiteita.

= I was playing a game the whole day.

Ex. ハワイは一年暖かい。

= Hawai wa ichinenjuu atatakai.

= Hawaii is warm throughout the year.

Ex. 今日に返事を下さい。

= Kyoujuuu ni henji wo kudasai .

= Please give me your answer

4) all over, everywhere, the whole ~

Note: To avoid some confusion, we tend to use hiragana. ちゅう(chuu) /じゅう(=juu)

Ex. (家じゅう)* 探したがどこにもなかった。

= Uchijuu sagashita ga dokoni mo nakatta.

= I looked all over the place at home, but I couldn’t find it.

(*You can also say 家の中じゅう= ie/uchi no naka jyuu)

Ex. 日本にはコンビニがそこらじゅうにあります。

= Nihon niwa konbini ga sokora juu ni arimasu.

= There are convenience stores everywhere in Japan.

Ex. あの二人のことは学校じゅう)の噂だ。

= Ano futari no koto wa gakkoujuu no uwasa da.

= Everybody is talking about those two at school.

Ex. 彼は面接の間じゅう落ち着かなかった。

= Kare wa mensetu no aida juu ochitsukanakatta.

= He was restless the whole time during the interview.

Ex. 彼は私が話している間じゅうずっと私の目をみつめていた。 boucingheart! 

= Kare wa watashi ga hanashite iru aida juu zutto watashi no me wo mitsumete ita.

= He was looking into my eyes the whole time while I was talking.

Ex. こんないい先生は世界、どこにもいません。

= Konna ii sensei wa sekaijuu dokoni mo imasen.

= You cannot find such a great teacher anywhere in the world.

(What? Are you talking about me? ) :wink: 

Ex. マギーに顔中(じゅう)舐められた。

= Maggie ni kaojuu namerareta.

= passive tense (I god licked all over my face by Maggie.)

= Maggie licked all over my face.

Ex. 体中(じゅう)が痛い。

= Karadajuu ga itai.

= My whole body hurts.

5) among ~/ out of ~

Ex. モモクロので誰が一番好き?

= Momokuro no naka de dare ga ichiban suki?

= Who do you like the most among “Momokuro”*?

(*Japanese idol group ももいろクローバーZ = Momoiro Kuroobaa zetto)

Ex. 乗客のに医者が一人いた。

= Joukyaku no naka ni isha ga hitori ita.

= There was one doctor in the passengers.

Ex. このに日本に行ったことがある人はいますか?

= Kono naka ni nihon ni itta koto ga aru hito wa imasu ka?

= Is there anybody among us who has been to Japan?

6) in the middle of some activity, while doing ~ , to be doing something now

*勉強=benkyouchuu = to be studying, in the middle of studying

Ex. 今、勉強なので静かにして下さい。

= Ima, benkyouchuu nanode shizuka ni shite kudasai.

= I am studying now so please be quiet.

*仕事= shigotochuu = in the middle of working

Ex. 仕事は携帯に出られません。

= Shigotochuu wa keitai ni deraremasen.

= I can’t answer my cell phone when I am working.

*食事 =shokujichuu = in the middle of a meal, at the table

Ex. 食事は煙草を吸わないで下さい。

= Shokujichuu wa tabako wo suwanai de kudasai.

= Please do not smoke when we eat.

*旅行= ryokouchuu = while traveling

Ex. 旅行に彼と出会った。

=Ryokouchuu ni kare to deatta.

= I met him while traveling.

*在学= zaigakuchuu= while  in  school

Ex. 大学に在学に日本語能力試験1級を取った。

= Daigaku ni zaigakuchuu ni nihongo nouryokushiken ikyuu wo totta.

= I passed the JLPT N1 test while I was in a college.

*睡眠= suiminchuu = during sleep

Ex. 睡眠にこの音楽を聞くと朝の目覚めがいい。

= Suiminchuu ni kono ongaku wo kiku to asa no mezame ga ii.

= If you listen to this music while you sleep, you can wake up easily in the morning

*話し=hanashichuu = to be talking / in the middle of conversation / the line is busy

(1) When the phone is busy, we say


=(O) Hanashichuu desu

= the line is busy

*お話し(=ohanashichuu) is more polite than 話し中 (=hanashichuu)

Ex. 今、ゆかりに電話をかけたが話しだった。

= Ima,  Yukari ni denwa wo kaketaga hanashichuu datta.

= I just called Yukari, but the line was busy.

(2) When two people are talking and you have to interrupt them, you say

Ex. お話し、すみません。

= Ohanashichuu, sumimasen.

= I am sorry for interrupting.

*考え = kangaechuu = to be thinking, in the middle of thinking

Ex. 彼と別れるかどうかまだ考えです。

= Kare to wakareru ka douka mada kangaechuu desu.

= I am still thinking whether or not I should break up with him.

*営業= eigyouchuu = to be in business / Open

Do you see the sign

 *営業= eigyouchuu,      in the picture above?

You will see that everywhere in Japan.

It means the store is in business →It’s open!

And you will see the sign

 :rrrr: 準備中 = junbichuu = in preparation before they open.

*撮影= satsueichuu = in the middle of shooting (a film)

Ex. その映画の撮影はどの俳優もリラックスしていた。

= Sono eiga no satsueichuu wa dono haiyuu mo rirakkusu shiteita.

= All the actors looked very relaxed during  shooting the film

試験= shikenchuu = during an exam

Ex. 試験、おしゃべりは禁止です。

= Shikenchuu, oshaberi wa kinshi desu.

= Talking during the exam is prohibited.

* = saichuu = right in the middle of doing something

Ex. 今、交渉している最です。

= Ima, koushou shiteiru saichuu desu.

= We are right in the middle of negotiation.

Note: in middle of negotiation = 交渉(=koushouchuu)

right in the middle of negotiations

交渉の最中  (= koushou no saichuu )


交渉している最中  (= koushou shiteiru saichuu)

7) under certain condition

Ex. 工事

= koujichuu

= under construction

Ex. 雨の、来てくれてありがとう。

= Ame no naka, kite kurete arigatou.

= Thank you for coming under the rainy weather.

Ex. お忙しい、お返事有り難うございます。

= Oisogashii naka, ohenji arigatou gozaimasu.

= Thank you for your reply despite being busy.

* We also say ご多忙= gotabouchuu = when you are very busy

*= mochuu = in mourning

Ex. 喪中なので年賀状がだせません。*

= Mochuu nanode nengajou ga dasemasen.

= I am in mourning so I can not send New Year’s cards.

 :rrrr: (See the cultural note in my New Year’s lesson.)

*Colloquial words:

*婚活中= 婚カツ中  (= konkatsuchuu) to be actively looking for a future husband or wife.

Ex. 今、婚カツです。

= Ima, konkatsuchuu desu.

= I am actively looking for a future husband/wife.

(Learn more about 婚カツ (= konkatsu) in this lesson. )

*就活= 就カツ(= shuukatsuchuu ) to be looking for a job (job hunting)

maggie-senseiマギー先生より = Maggie sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Ima, nihongo wo benkyouchuu no hito wa, kono saito ni mainichi, kite kudasai ne.

= If you are studying Japanese now, please come visit my site everyday.