How to use Verb + ところ ( = tokoro)



= Dipper Sensei, kyou wa nani wo oshiete kureru no?

= Dipper Sensei, what are you going to teach us?


= Ima, nani wo oshieru ka kangaete iru tokoro desu.

= I am thinking about what to teach now.

Hi everyone!
Today’s guest teacher is Dipper Sensei.
Dipper Sensei is a fashionable Dutch bunny.



Hi! I’m Dipper.
My mom is going to Tokyo for a few months this fall… So I want to help her learn Japanese.
Today I will teach you how to use  verb + ところ ( = tokoro).
There are many ways of using ところ ( = tokoro), but I will focus how to use it with verbs.

!star! How to form:

verb (plain form) present form, present progressive form, past tense + ところ ( = tokoro) + ( = da) / polite です ( = desu)

*話す= hanasu = to talk

* 話す ( = hanasu) +ところ ( = tokoro) + ( = da) / polite です( = desu)  (to be going to talk)

* 話している ( = hanashite iru) + ところ ( = tokoro) + ( = da) / polite です ( = desu)  (to be in the middle of talking)

* 話した ( = hanashita) + ところ ( = tokoro) + ( = da) / polite です( = desu)  (Just talked)

 !star! When to use

☆with present tense: to be about to do something

Ex. これから彼に話すところです。

= Kore kara kare ni hanasu tokoro desu.

= I am about to talk to him.

☆with present progressive form:  in the middle of doing something

Ex. 今、彼に話しているところです。

= Ima, kare ni hanashite iru tokoro desu.

= I am talking to him right now.

☆with past tense: just did something


= Kare ni hanashita tokoro desu.

= I just talked to him.

So depending on the tense, it changes the meaning.

 !yflower! When you are about to do something

Ex. 今、出かけるところです。

= Ima, dekakeru tokoro desu.

= I am just about to leave.

Note: (=ima) actually means “now” but in this past tense it would be translated to “just” to indicate something has just happened.

Ex. 「ねえ、手伝って。」

= Nee, tetsudatte.

= Hey, can you give me a hand?


= Sorosoro neru toko nandakedo…

= But I am about to go to bed now, you know.

Note: とこ ( = toko) is a casual contraction of ところ ( = tokoro). You may hear this a lot in conversation.

Ex. 今からご飯を作るところなんだけど今日、帰ってくる?

= Ima kara gohan wo tsukuru tokoro nan dakedo kyou, kaette kuru?

= I am about to start cooking. Are you coming back home today?

うん、今、電話をかけようと思っていたとこだよ。(male speech)

= Un, ima, denwa wo kakeyou to omotte ita toko dayo.

= Yes, I was just about to call you.

☆When you are in the middle of doing something

Ex. 今、先生とどこの大学に行くか相談しているところです。

= Ima, sensei to dokono daigaku ni iku ka soudan shite iru tokoro desu.

= I am now asking my teacher’s advice as to which university I should go to.

Ex. 会社に育児休暇をかけあっているところです。

= Kaisha ni ikujikyuuka wo kakeatte iru tokoro desu.

= I am now negotiation with my company on maternity leave.

Ex. 「来年の夏はどこかに行くの?」

=  Rainen no natsu wa dokoka ni ikuno?

= Are you going anywhere next summer?


= Ima, kangaete iru tokoro.

= I am thinking about that now.

 :ee: When you just did something

Ex. 今、仕事が終わったところです。これから会社を出ます。

= Ima, shigoto ga owatta tokoro desu. Kore kara kaisha wo demasu.

= I just finished my work now. I am leaving the office now.

Ex. 「ねえ、どうしたの?なんか、ぼうっとしてない?」

= Nee, doushitano? Nanka boutto shite nai?

= Hey, what’s wrong? You look spaced out somehow.


= Sakki, okita toko dakara mada atama ga hatarakanain da.

= I just woke up a little while ago so my brain isn’t working yet.

Ex. 今、マギー先生のことを話していたところです。

= Ima, Maggie Sensei no koto wo hanasite ita tokoro desu.

= We were just talking about you, Maggie Sensei.

Ex. ちょうど今、タクシーに乗ったとこ!着いたらメールするね。(conversational)

= Choudo ima, takushii ni notta toko! Tsuitara meiru surune.

= I just got in the taxi. I will text you when I get there.

Note: The difference between ところ  ( = tokoro) & ばかり ( = bakari)

Maggie sensei made a lesson explaining how to use ばかり( = bakari)  before.
As we have seen,  you use ところ ( = tokoro) with the present tense or the present progressive form but you only use ばかり ( = bakari) with the past tense when you use it ito mean “just did something”

So verb past tense + ばかり ( = bakari) also means “just did something”

1) 今、食べたばかりです。

= Ima, tabeta bakari desu.

= I just ate.

2) 今、食べたところです。

= Ima tabeta tokoro desu.

= I just ate.

There is no big difference between 1) & 2) in English and 1) and 2) are more or less interchangeable in conversation.
I would say verb past tense + ばかり( = bakari) emphasizes the fact that not much time has passed so much time after the speaker ate and focus on the state right after you ate.  And when you focus on the action itself, we tend to use verb past tense + ところ( = tokoro)

Other difference between verb past tense + ばかり ( = bakari) ・ところ ( = tokoro)

You should pay attention to what kind of time related word are used.  While you tend to use verb past tense + ところ ( = tokoro) + ( = da)/ です( =desu) with the time related words which represent “now”,

 :rrrr: Ex. (=ima) now, たった今 ( = tatta ima) just now, ちょうど ( = choudo) just now,

you use ばかり ( = bakari) even when someone did something a long time ago if the speaker psychologically thinks they just did something.

Ex. 彼は1ヶ月前に日本に来たばかりだ。

= Kare wa ikkagetsu mae ni nihon ni kita bakari da.

= He just came to Japan a month ago.

 :rrrr: X Since it has already passed one year, it is not natural to use ところ(=tokoro)

Ex. 1年前に家を建て替えたばかりなのにもう雨漏りがする。

= Ichinen mae ni ie wo tatekaeta bakari nanoni mou amamori ga suru.

= We just rebuilt the house a year ago but the roof of the house is already leaking.

 :rrrr: X You can’t use ところ ( = tokoro)

You can modify a noun with ばかり( = bakari) + ( = no) but you can’t modify a noun with ところ ( = tokoro)  + ( = no)


= Katta bakari no shatsu

= A shirt that one just bought.

 :rrrr: X You can’t say 買ったところのシャツ ( = Katta tokoro no shatsu)

Other usage of ところ ( = tokoro)

★ when you did something  / while doing something + something happened (result, consequences)

Ex. 医者に2週間分の薬を出して欲しいとお願いしたところ断られた。

= Isha ni nishuukanbun no kusuri wo dashite hoshii to onegai shita tokoro kotowarareta.

= When I asked my doctor to give me enough medicine for two weeks, he turned me down.

Ex. 一人で渋谷を歩いていたところ、モデルにスカウトされた。

= Hitori de Shibuya wo aruite ita tokoro, moderu ni sukauto sareta.

= I got scouted to be a model while walking alone around Shibuya.

Ex. 上司にもう会社をやめたいと言ったところ、来月まではやめないで欲しいと言われた。

= Joushi ni mou kaisha wo yametai to itta tokoro, raigetsu made wa yamenai de hoshii to iwareta.

= When I asked my boss that I wanted to quit the company, I was told not to quit until next month.

Ex. マギー先生に日本語の宿題を手伝ってもらったところ、答えがみんな間違っていた。

= Maggie sensei ni nihongo no shukudai wo tetsudatte moratta tokoro, kotae ga minna machigatte ita.

=   I asked Maggie sensei to help do my Japanese homework, it turned out all the answers were wrong.

 :rrrr: From Maggie

ごめんね。= Gomenne= I’m sorry.   !ase!

I won’t go into this too far in this lesson but you can use ところ ( = tokoro) with adjectives.

Ex. お忙しいところ申し訳ございません。

= Oisogashii tokoro moushiwake gozaimasen.

= I am sorry to bother you when you are busy.

Ex. いいところに来ましたね。

= Ii tokoro ni kimashita ne.

= You showed up in perfect timing.

★almost / nearly did something (hypothetical) :

When you almost do something but you didn’t. Expressing your relieved feelings.

Ex. もう少しで信じるところだった。

= Mou sukoshi de shinjiru tokoro datat.

= I almost believed it.


Ex. 危ないところだった。

= Abunai tokoro datta.

= That was very close. / That was a close call. 


Now this part is for upper level people.


I think the hard part for you is the usage of ところ ( = tokoro)  with different particles.

:rrrr:ところ ( = tokoro) + particles ( ( = e), ( = ni),   ( = de) , ( = wo), etc.

Always pay attention to the function of the particle.

ところ ( = tokoro de)

*Indicating the location / time / situation / When it fills certain conditions~

Ex. 駅の近くでケーキを買ったところ彼女に偶然会った。

= Eki no chikaku de keeki wo katta tokoro de kanojo ni guuzen atta.

= I met her by chance when I just bought some cakes near the station.

Ex. 皆さんがそろったところ乾杯しましょう。

= Minasan ga sorotta tokoro de kanpai shimashou.

= Since everybody is here, let’s toast.

(=ta) + ところ(=tokorode)

 :rrrr:  even if / although / even though / no matter how ~(the result won’t be desirable anyway)


= Imakara benkyou shita tokoro de shiken ni ukaru hazu wa nai.

= Even if I start to study, there is no way that I would pass the exam.

Ex. いくら話し合ったところ問題は解決しない。

= Ikura hanashiatta tokoro de mondai wa kaiketsu shinai.

= No matter how much we talk about it, we won’t be able to solve this problem.

ところ (= tokoro ni)  & ☆ところ  ( = tokoro e)

*When two things happen at the same time / when you focus on the time more than location.

Ex. 道に迷って困っていたところ (ところ) ちょうどおまわりさんが通りかかった。

= Michi ni mayotte komatte ita tokoro ni (tokoro e) choudo omawarisan ga toorikakatta.

= When we were having trouble getting lost, a policeman passed by.

Ex. 私達が話し合っているところ (ところ) 彼が帰ってきた。

= Watashitachi ga hanashiatte iru tokoro ni (tokoro e) kare ga kaette kita.

= He came back when we were discussing.

Note: A lot of time, ところ ( = tokoro ni) and ところ  ( = tokoro e) are interchangeable.

The basic  difference between ( = ni) and ( = e)

:rrrr: * (= ni) is used to indicate “to where” “destination”

:rrrr: * (= e) is to indicate “direction in general”.


ところ ( = tokoro wo)

As you know (=wo) is an object marker. You use ところ ( = tokoro wo) when focus on the situation or some action has done to the situation.

Ex. 海に溺れているところイルカに助けられた。

= Umi ni oborete ita tokoro wo iruka ni tasukerareta.

= I was saved by a dolphin when I was drowning.

Ex. 父は、どろぼうが家に入ろうとしているところ見つけて捕まえた。

=  Chichi wa, dorobou ga ie ni hairou to shiteiru tokoro wo mitsukete tsukamaeta.

= My father caught a thief when he was trying to break in the house.

Ex. 彼が歌っているところ見たことがない。

= Kare ga utatte iru tokoro wo mita koto ga nai.

= I have never seen him singing.

Ex. 彼女に別の女の子とデートしているところみられた。

= Kanojo ni betsu no onnanoko to deeto shiteiru tokoro wo mirareta.

= ( Passive form: I was seen when I was on a date with someone else by my girlfriend.)

= My girlfriend saw me out on a date with someone else.

*to show contrast

*When things happen not in an usual way / when you do things against the proper way.

Ex. いつもは1800円のところ木曜日は1000円で映画を観ることができます。

= Itsumo wa senhappyakuen no tokoro wo mokuyoubi wa senen de eiga wo miru koto ga dekimasu.

= It usually costs 1,800 yen but you can watch a movie for 1,000 yen on Thursdays.

Ex. 本来ならばこちらから伺わなければいけないところわざわざお越し頂きありがとうございます。

= Honrai naraba kochirakara ukagawanakereba ikenai tokoro wo wazawaza okoshi itadaki arigatou gozaimasu.

= Even though I am the one who should be visiting you, you came all the way to see me. Thank you.

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


= Dipper sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Dipper Sensei!


= Watashi mo choudo sonna akai seetaa wo sagashite iru tokoro desu.

= I am looking for a red sweater like yours.


= Doko de katta no kanaa.

= I wonder where you bought it.




Our wonderful friend, Marianne translated this lesson in French.

If you speak French, go check this Facebook post.

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  1. Maggie sensei,


    Thank you so much for such a useful lesson.
    I would like to ask you about a rule I read through Internet. That is,
    as opposed to ばかり, ところ couldn’t be placed before a 名詞. For example:

    I opened the present I just received from him.

    What about:


    Could it work as other formal nouns which modifies verbs,
    like つもり、予定 and so on?

    Thanks again and please, forgive me for such a trivial question. :P

    1. Hello Daniele!
      「彼にもらったところのプレゼントを開けました」 sounds unnatural to me.
      You cannot use ところ for 連体修飾 because ところ is used as a metaphor for specifying a period of time when something is going to happen, is happening, or just happened.
      The main difference between ~たばかり and ~たところ is that ~たところ is used for events that happened seconds or minutes ago (objectively a moment ago).
      ~たばかり is used for events that happed relatively (subjectively) not long ago. This pattern can be used for events that happened even over a year ago, but the speaker’s memories are still fresh (for example when we are talking about a war that ended a few years ago).
      Also ばかり implies very often some negative emotions =>「彼からもらったばかりのプレゼントが盗まれた」.
      Pure theoretically the pattern 動詞+ところ+の+名詞+を+動詞 can be used => 高田が会社を出ようとしているところの後を追った (I caught up Takato while was leaving his office).

      As for つもり, it can be used as 連体修飾, EX. 家に帰った時、食べるつもりのケーキが食べられてしまったことに気付いた。

      ( `・∀・´)ノヨロシク。

  2. Thank you so much for this lesson! I have an N3 grammar book which I was studying, I came across this grammar point and it mentioned the different particles but offered no explanation. Your lessons have saved me for the 100th time, Maggie-sensei! They are easy to follow and I have learnt so much thanks to you. boucingheart! !Anapple!

  3. こんにちは、マギー先生!質問があります。手伝ってくれますか。
    日本語が上手ではないのにupper levelの文法をまた習いたいです。しかし本当に難しいですよ。
    ところで ところに(へ) ところを as for me seems pretty similar to ~たら/~と if-grammar (I might be wrong, but most sentences you translated as ‘when’, so…)
    So, if I’m right, and it has the same meaning as ~たら/~と I want to now what is nuance between them?

    1. @chaos_prinz

      You are right. Some usage of 「ところに(へ)」is similar to 「たら」

      (You can’t interchange this with と)
      While ところ is focusing on the point of time, you use「たら」when some condition is filled (Please check my lesson)

      1. I learnt 「たら」 but it feels like I need to review it /cries
        Sorry, I forgot to add few more questions:
        ☆た+ ところで even if / although / even though / no matter how ~(the result won’t be desirable anyway)
        and のに means the same or?
        ☆Also, do we always need to use such words as 今 ちょうど with ところ or sentence is correct even w/o them?
        Thanks in advance boucingheart!

        1. @chaos_prinz

          ☆た+ ところで and のに are different.
          のに is used when you actually did something but you don’t get the expected result.
          たところで is used for hypothetical situation.
          Ex. 一生懸命勉強したのに試験に受からなかった。
          = Isshoukenmei benkyou shita noni shiken ni ukaranakatta.
          = Even though I studied so hard I didn’t pass the exam.

          Ex. 一生懸命勉強したところで試験には受からない(だろう)
          = Even if I study so hard, I am not going to pass the exam.

          ☆Not necessary 今ちょうど but we use ~ ところです with some time related word.

          1. Thank you very much for explaining this to me!!!
            I think I live in your site, ahahahaha.
            But Japanese has so much similar grammar, that I start to think I’ll never master it, pfff.

  4. I had a question about
    when you did something / while doing something + something happened (result, consequences)
    usage of ところ

    コミックコンに着いて、入ったところ思ったよりたくさんの人がビルの中にいました。 (I think that is how it’s used here)

    But it seems like たら is better used here with the past form for something happened and than a result you didn’t expect. コミックコンに着いて入ったら、思ったよりたくさんの人がビルの中にいました。?

    Is there a difference between the two? Whenever you have time.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. @yzr
      考え中 and 考えているところ means the same but you usually use 中 with a noun/noun form.

      you can’t say 食べ中, you say

      You can’t say 読んで中, you say

  5. いつもお世話になってすみません。

    Since I’m thoroughly reading and re-reading a lot of your old lessons I could do some proof-reading if you like. I just didn’t want to spam the comments on every lesson. :-? And I feel a bit awkward correcting a sensei, as do I now when I have to say that the translation for 溺れている you wanted to write was “drowning”… :oops: But don’t worry, just now I had to look up how to spell “thoroughly” and “awkward” myself, hope I got it right. :P

  6. Maggie-sensei, I always find your pages in google when I’m trying to puzzle out a phrase I didn’t learn in my few JP language classes! Your lessons are so helpful… I find myself on this site so often that I thought I’d give you a big ありがとうございます!

  7. ご教示ありがとうございました。 いつもどおりちょっと問い合わさなきゃんだけど。

    1. I often see “Verb+tokoro da” accompanied by the adverbs まさに and ちょうど. These adverbs are as often combined with the “Verb-Volitional+to suru/shite iru/shite ita” expression, and it seems to mean the same thing. So is there a difference between:


    2. Also, what puzzles me is the second meaning of “V-Volitional+to suru” as “trying”, because in these sentences are to my understanding no connotations of “trying”. However, you gave the example: 父は、どろぼうが家に入ろうとしているところを見つけて捕まえた。 In this sentence, “V-Volitional+to shite iru” actually means “trying”, so I was wandering whether one can combine these forms like this:

    食べるところだ。 – I was just about to eat.
    ちょうど食べようとしている。 – I was just about to eat.
    ちょうど食べようとしているところだ。 – I was just about to try to eat.

    3. I saw some sentences with “Verb+tokoro datta/deshita”. Is that also correct?


    お返事のかわりに誤字を二つ知らせてあげます。「drawing」と「uattte」を探してくださいね。 :maggie-small:

    1. @Zetsuboumanadeshi

      Thank you for spotting the typo again. I really appreciate it!!

      a) まさに/ちょうど食べる(食べた)ところだ。
      b) まさに/ちょうど食べようとしている(いた。)

      The translation is the same but you use ところ when you describe the state more vividly.

      2. Right ~しようとしている means “to try to do something” but sometimes the translation is not natural.
      Because you don’t actually “try” when you eat something.
      食べようとしている =”I am about to eat or I am going to eat now” is more natural.

      3. Ah, yes. I didn’t cover that, huh? Maybe I should add that information later.
      ~ ところだった/でした is used when you had some risk and it almost affected you but nothing happened/you managed to avoid it after all.

  8. 漢字を勉強していたところに頭痛がしました! lol see I remembered how to say headache!!! But as far as the rest of the sentence I seek your guidance and correction haha (I hope it’s grammatically correct) !happyface!

    1. @Courtney

      Hi Courtney! Good now you remember how to say 頭痛がする
      Just one thing. 頭痛がする is a state so it will be more natural to say
      漢字の勉強をしたところ、頭痛がしてきました。(getting a headache)

      Hope it won’t give you a headache. :)

      1. lol studying Japanese will never give me a headache, I love it too much!! Thank you! I can always count on you! so してきました is the present perfect continuous conjugation of する right? So your sentence would be translated as…”I have been getting a headache when studying kanji.” right? Thank you in advance!

        1. @Courtney

          Yes, してきている means “has been getting something” and your translation is right.
          The present perfect continuous conjugation of する is している but when you describe gradual change you use してきている.
          And I know you always love studying Japanese!

  9. Hello! Thanks for this lesson. It is a bit complicated in some parts, but I can understand it.

    I have a couple of questions:

    In this sentence, 駅の近くでケーキを買ったところで彼女に偶然会った I am trying to use the other forms of tokoro to understand them better.

    So by ところで you’re indicating that you met her after buying cake.

    If you use ところに you’re indicating that you met her while buying cake. Both happened at the same time.

    And if you use ところを you’re focusing on the action of buying cake? I don’t really get the difference here. And depending on the context it can mean that it is something unusual to meet her while buying the cake?

    And the second question:

    Is there any difference between 今、彼に話しているところです。 and 今、彼に話している。 ?

    Thanks again for this lesson!

    1. @reid

      Hello reid,
      OK, I have to slightly change the sentences to explain.

      1) ケーキを買ったところで彼女に偶然会った。
      I saw her right after I bought cake.
      (Focusing on the situation.)

      2) ケーキを買っているところに(へ)彼女がやって来た。
      She showed up when I am buying cake.
      (Two actions are happening at the same time.)
      (Focusing on the time) 

      3) ケーキを買っているところを彼女に見られた。
      She saw me buying cake.
      (focusing on the action)


      While 今、彼に話している。is just describing the action, 今、彼に話しているところです。describes the action more vividly and also has more explanatory tone.
      So if someone asks you to give them updates on some issue,
      今、彼に話しているところです。sounds more convincing than 今、彼に話しています。

      1. Hmmm I understand them, but why did you have to change the sentences? The other forms wouldn’t work in the original?

        Thanks for the reply!

        Ah, I have two unrelated things to ask. Is there a lesson about honorific speech?(Did I ask about this before? I am not sure, hahaha)

        And I am little confused about the use of とか. Is it only used in lists? Here is an example sentence of what I am not sure.


        Is that example of とか use incorrect?

        Thanks again. You’re such a great help!

        1. @reid
          I changed the sentence because you can’t say
          駅の近くでケーキを買った< ところに> or< ところ>を 彼女に偶然会った
          Why… ところに(or へ) You might say “But two actions are happening at the same time…” but the subject is the same “I” (I bought cake and I met her)
          You usually have different subjects for two actions.

          And you use an object marker, を in ところを. That means you have to have some action to be an object.
          〜ところを見られた= I was seen ~ = She saw me buying

          As for とか I have a lesson so please go check that lesson.

  10. このサイトは本当に便利ですよ。ここからたくさん日本語を習いました。マギー先生、ありがとうございますね!

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