〜ながら ( = nagara)

= Nee mite! Maggie Sensei nenagara shigoto wo shiteiruyo.
= Hey, look! Maggie Sensei is working while sleeping!
Hi everyone! This lesson is a follow up lesson for my Facebook likers. (Maggie Sensei Facebook)
Today’s word is ながら(=nagara).
1) While doing something, do two actions at the same time.
How to form :
*verb plain form
寝る ( = neru) = to sleep  
1) make ます ( = masu) form 寝ます ( = nemasu) 
2) delete ます ( = masu)  
( = ne)  
3) add ながら ( = nagara)  
ながら ( = nenagara) while sleeping    
食べる ( = taberu) = to eat  
1) make a ます ( = masu) form 
食べます ( = tabemasu)
2) delete ます ( = masu) 
食べ ( = tabe)
3) add ながら ( = nagara)  
食べながら ( = tabenagara) while eating   
 See the pattern now? 
= shigoto wo suru 
= to work
:rrrr: 仕事をしながら
= shigoto wo shinagara
= while working
= kigaeru
= to change clothes
:rrrr: 着替えながら
= kigaenagara
= while changing clothes
= denwa wo suru
= to call on the phone
= denwa wo shinagara
= While calling on the phone
Now you just add what you are going do while doing something.
=Itsumo gohan wo tabenagara terebi wo miru.
=I always eat watching TV.
Ex. 歩きながら煙草を吸ってはいけません。
= Arukinagara tabako wo sutte wa ikemasen.
= Don’t smoke while walking.
Ex. 子供達は笑いながらゲームで遊んでいた。
= Kodomotachi wa warainagara geimu de asonde ita.
= The children were playing a game laughing.
= Kanojo no koto wo kangaenagara ichinichi wo sugosu.
= To spend a day thinking about her.
Ex. 日本にいながらフランス語のラジオ番組が聞ける。
= Nihon ni inagara furansugo no rajio bangumi ga kikeru.
= Even (while living) in Japan, we can listen to the radio program in French.
2) You can use ながら ( = nagara)  in a negative way. although, Even while, but, yet
Ex. 彼の気持を知りながら無視をしている。
= Kare no kimochi wo shirinagara mushi wo shiteiru.
= I know how he feels about me but I have been ignoring him.


Ex. 彼女は日本語なんてきらいだと言いながらもがんばって勉強している。

= Kanojo wa nihongo nante kiraida to iinagara mo ganbatte benkyou shiteiru.

= She said she didn’t like Japanese but she still has been studying very hard.

!star! verb (し) ておきながら(= ~ shite okinagara) even though you did something + unpleasant consequence
Ex. 私のことを好きって言っておきながら他の子とデートをするなんて!
= Watashi no koto wo sukitte itte okinagara hoka no ko to deito wo surunante!
= How dare he to date someone else even though he said he likes me.


Ex. あんなことしておきながらよくそんなことが言えるね。

= Anna koto wo shite okinagara yoku sonna koto ga ierune.

= How dare you to say things like that after you did such a thing.


Ex. 私が誘っておきながら一緒に行けなくてごめんなさい。

= Watashi ga sasotte okinagara issho ni ikenakute gomennasai.

= I am sorry that I can’t go out with you even though I am the one who asked you to go out with


 You can use it with a noun or an adjective.

🔹noun / adjective + ながら(=nagara): with, in spite, although, even while, despite the fact,

🔹 noun + ながら(=nagara)

子供 ( = kodomo) a childながら ( = nagara)

:rrrr: 子供ながら ( = kodomo nagara)

Ex. 子供ながらにいろいろなことをよく知っている。

 = Kodomo nagara ni iroirona koto wo yoku shitteiru.

= Even while being a child, he knows a lot.

Ex. マギーはもっとご飯を下さいと涙ながらに訴えた。

= Maggie wa motto gohan wo kudasai to namidanagara ni uttaeta.

= Maggie asked me to feed her more tearfully.

🔹 i-adjectiveながら ( =nagara)

小さい ( = chiisai) small ながら ( = nagara)

:rrrr: 小さいながら ( = chiisai nagara)

Ex. このホテルは小さいながら設備がいい。

= Kono hoteru wa chiisai nagara setsubi ga ii.

= This hotel is small but it is fully equipped.

Ex. 彼は貧しいながらも幸せな生活を送っていた。

= Kare wa mazushii nagaramo shiawase naseikatsu.

= He was poor but (Even while being poor) he was having a happy life.

🔹na-adjective (delete ) +  ながら ( = nagara)

★残念な ( = zannen na)

:rrrr: 残念 ( = zannen) +  ながら ( = nagara)

:rrrr:  残念ながら

= zannen nagara

= while being unfortunate / unfortunately

Ex. 残念ながら日本に行けません。

= Zannen nagara nihon ni ikemasen.

= Unfortunately I can’t go to Japan.

3) the way it is, keeping the same condition

Ex. この辺は昔ながらのお店が多い。

= Kono hen wa mukashinagara no omise ga ooi.

= There are many traditional stores around here.

Ex. 彼は生まれながらに人を見抜く才能を持っている。

= Kare wa umarenagara ni hito wo minuku sainou wo motte iru.

= He is gifted to see through people.

 (Note : 生まれながらに =うまれながらに =  umarenagarani =  inborn, naturally)

Adjective : 生まれながらの ( = umarenagara no)

生まれながらの才能 =うまれながらのさいのう= umarenagara no sainou=  genetic gift

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


= Kore kara ippai ressun wo tsukurimasu. Mainichi kono saito ni kite kudasaine.

= I will make a lot of lessons from now so please come visit this site every day.


 = Tabenagara benkyou shite mo daijyoubu desu.

= You can study eating something.

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  1. そうです。分かりましたと思います 😊

    Oh okay, because with what I was trying to do (彼に声を出して読めながら) whatever is being read is the subject, not who’s being read to. I was thinking the opposite for some reason, oops

  2. Hello, Maggie-sensei.

    About ながら, can you use it in a sentence that mixes a verb of human/animate being action (歩く) and an intransitive verb of non-human action (付く)? Like this one:


    While walking in the street the lights came on (by themselves).


    1. こんにちは 六誌
      In that case you can’t use ながら.
      It has to be the same person who does two actions at the same time.
      Ex. 歩きながら電話で話した。

  3. Hi, Maggie sensei. Does “to” particle change anything in this sentence?

    1. Sorry lOra
      I can see you wrote the same message a few times. The site has been acting up. You might have had a trouble accessing the comment section.
      Anyway this “to” is used to quote, saying ~ .

      In this case, it quotes 諦めるな ( = akirameru na = Don’t give up)
      ~ pointed the direction towards ~ saying “Don’t give up” with a laugh.

  4. Hi,

    so there’s no negative form for nagara? I mean:
    While I’m sleeping – Nenagara
    While I’m not sleeping – ? (can’t use nagara?)

  5. Hi sensei
    it is correct to say the following?

    Ex 1) While swimming in the sea/(river) I swallowed some water
    うみ(かわ) を およぎながら みず を のむ

    Ex 2) While swimming in the sea/(river) water entered my ears
    うみ(かわ) を およぎながら みず が みみ を はいる

    Thank you

  6. As always, thank you so much 🙏, I have one question… Can I say 「おかし食べながらテレビ見たい」, “I want to watch TV while I’m eating snacks”, It’s that ok? Can I use たい form in the main action in the same sentence with ながら?

  7. Hi Maggie. I was wondering what is ”し” doing next to “熱く”? ”熱い” doesn’t end with ”くし” like ”うつくし”. I’m talking about this phrase that I discovered in an 80’s japanese pop song:

    ”熱くしながら” = while feeling warm

    Maybe it’s some outdated form considering the period were the lyrics come from? Or is there a shinagara form that isn’t metioned in this post?

    1. Hello Yu,

      Ah, OK, it is not an out-dated form.
      See this pattern?
      (noun/person + を ) adjective + する = to make (something/someone) + adjective
      Ex. 胸を熱くする
      This する changes to し when it is attached to ながら
      (noun/person + を ) adjective + し+ながら
      = While making (something/someone) + adjective
      Ex. 胸を熱くしながら

      Ex.胸を熱くする= to make one’s heart warm = to feel warm

      1. Thank you! I also have a question. Do you accept translation requests in general?

        P.s. I love how you referenced ”胸” from the song. ;)

        1. And besides, I didn’t know that the context in the lyrics was to make >somethingnot beingするしながら<

          Those are just my after thoughts ^^'. And besides, I apologise if you don't accept such requests.

          1. *to make something >warm<, not for it being

            (This reply system is very strange… I actually wrote a longer reply clarifying that I didn't understand the context that I'm talking about here in *, but the bot detected that I repeated too much words! Just wondering, but is it possible to fix this?)

        2. Hi Yu,
          First, I am sorry but I don’t do the translation. If I do that, I have to do for everybody. Thank you for your understanding. :)
          I made an example sentence with 胸 but it could be anything. You have to read the sentence which comes before.
          Anyway if you know more about “adjective + する”, check this lesson.

          1. Okay! Everything’s alright. ^^

            I was thinking you were actually refering to the song ”君に胸キュン” by Yellow Magic Orchestra were I got the lyrics from. It’s a popular 80’s song in Japan and so I think you know it too.

            Just a bit of digression on my side. ^^’

          2. Ah then the subject of what they are making hot is “まなざしのボルテージ” (literal translation is “the voltage of my gaze”
            Yellow Magic Orchestra is so-called legend of Japanese music history. (^_−)−☆

          3. So you using ”胸” in your example was pure coincidence? ヾ( ゚∀゚)ノ ☆ー( -∀・)

            I have to also ask though if the entire sentence translates to “Making the voltage of my gaze warm.”? I mean, where’s the “while” meaning in the sentence.

            Sorry for asking too may questions. ^^’

          4. Right. When you hear 〜を熱くする, you can automatically link the image of 胸/心/気持ち or 目. (^_−)−☆
            〜ながら means “to do something (A) (while) doing something (B) ”
            (B)(while) making the voltage of my gaze hot”
            I don’t interpret the lyrics but it either goes to the motion or action in the previous line or the following line.

  8. Hi Maggie-sensei,

    In the example 「ご飯を食べながらテレビを観る」, is there an implication that the second action is happening while the first action is happening, and it is subordinate to the first action?

    What I mean is, there is a slight difference in emphasis between:

    “When I am eating, I watch TV.” (eating is the main action, watching TV is secondary)


    “When watching TV, I eat.” (TV is my main activity, the eating is secondary).


    1. Hi Matt,

      Oh great question. Actually I should change the English translation in the example sentence to make it clear.

      Watch TV while eating
      (main action is “to watch TV”)

      to eat while watching TV.
      (main action is “to eat”)

    2. And besides, I didn’t know that the context in the lyrics was to make >somethingnot being< warm. So that's why I wasn't aware of the ”し” after ”熱く” being a modified ”する” as in the example that you gave:


      Those are just my after thoughts ^^'. And besides, I apologise if you don't accept such requests.

  9. Hi Maggie,

    I’ve come across this sentence but I’m finding it hard to know exactly what it means, especially the 折りながら part:


    Does it mean:
    “While there is a chance Mel has returned, (I) head towards my private room.”

    Many thanks as always!

    1. Hello Peter,

      OK, first, the kanji 折りながら must be a typo.
      See the difference of kanji?
      折る= oru = to fold
      祈る= inoru = to pray, to wish for something

      the main action of this sentence is 自室へと向かった and 祈りながら (wishing) describes how this person goes to his/her room.
      I head towards my room wishing that Mel was back.

      1. Oh no! I feel very silly :)

        You are absolutely right – it is 祈 and not 折.
        That sentence makes much more sense now!

        The book I’m reading is quite small print and my eyes aren’t quite what they were…

        Thank you!

  10. Can ながら be used with a passive verb?
    To say you do something while receiving some action.
    For example “while being scolded, I let my mind wander”
    Or is there some other grammar for this?

    Great site by the way.

  11. Maggie sensei,
    What is the difference between ながら and つつ?Since they all means “doing something while doing something, are they interchangeable?”

    For example,

    Can I say

    1. Hi Frozenheart,

      Yes, you can say 彼の気持を知りつつ無視をしている。

      You can use both ながら & つつ while doing something / even though (+ something contradicted)
      つつ is a bit more formal than ながら. Also the usage of つつ is more limited. Ex. 残念ながら〜 X残念つつ

  12. question why is it ni?

    in the kodonagara ni iroiro na koto o shitteiru

    when ever i think i kno a particletheres these sentences that mess me up.
    can you ex plain why?

  13. Hi Maggie :)
    There is something I don’t understand – using TE IKEMASEN with NAGARA – because I have seen examples of this in both ways and can’t be sure which one is better.

    Example 1. Arukinagara tabako wo sutte wa ikemasen.
    I understand this one.

    Example 2. Terebi wo minagara, benkyou shinai de kudasai.
    Example 3. Toshokan de, ongaku wo kikinagara, benkyou shinai de kudasai.
    Why?? Why is it not ‘Benkyou shinagara, terebi o minaide kudasai’ (and same for example 3)??
    It is driving me crazy, haha
    Because it’s the first part of the sentence what’s not allowed.

    Thanks very much in advance!!

    1. @Diana

      Hi Diana,

      I see your confusion.

      Do not study watching TV.

      = terebi o minagara benkyou shite wa ikemasen.

      = Terebi o minagara benkou shinai de kudasai.

      Q* Because it’s the first part of the sentence what’s not allowed.

      What is not allowed is not just the first part (watching TV) but the whole action, which is
      “to study watching TV” = テレビを観ながら勉強する = terebi o minagara benkyou suru.

      Of course the main action is “to study” and the speaker wants to say not to study in certain condition.

      If you say

      = Benkyou shinagara terebi o minai de kudasai.

      The main action is テレビを観る, watching TV.
      So it means “Do not watch TV while you are studying.” and it changes the nuance.

      1. 恥ずかしながら is an expression but it doesn’t follow the rule with i-adjective.
        It is probably you deal it as a noun 恥ずかしいこと→恥ずかし in this case.

  14. Hi Maggie..
    Gohan o tabe nagara terebi o Mimasu..Can we say it – I am having food while watching TV. Or I am watching Tv while having food. Is it one and the same thing?
    If I am not right. Can you please explain..

    1. @Nitin Dikshit

      Gohan wo tabenagara terebi wo mimasu = the main action is terebi wo mimasu. Therefore, “To watch TV while eating.”

  15. I recently got handed down a katana that came from Japan during ww2. I do not have social media but I was wandering if I could get your email and send you a picture of the kanji and you could possibly translate it thanks!

    1. @Matt
      Sorry. I don’t use email to accept questions or do translation.
      If you tentatively make a Twitter account send me a picture.
      Usually they use an old writing style in katana. If so I don’t think I can read it. You have to ask an expert.

  16. My friend told me that nagara is added to masu form to say “while doing,” instead of changing to nai and then removing it.
    Don’t these two examples show pre masu form + nagara instead of nai–> remove nai–>add nagara?

    Ex. 子供達は笑いながらゲームで遊んでいた。
    Ex. 彼の気持を知りながら無視をしている。

    Btw your lessons are so great. マギー先生のサイトを見つけたのが よかった!

  17. Thanks a lot, but i found a copy&paste mistake:

    3) add ながら(=nagara)  食べながら(=nenagara) while eating   

    Should be:

    3) add ながら(=nagara)  食べながら(tabenagara) while eating   

      1. またこんにちはマーギ先生。

        I’m confusing myself as usual :P
        Trying to say “I fell asleep while he was reading to me.”

        Does 「彼に読み上げられていながら眠ってしまった」 sound right? Is it better to use something other than ながら? 「私に読み上げていたとき、眠ってしまった」?

        1. Hi Terry

          First of all, the verb 読み上げる, read out loud, in that situation is a bit not natural.
          Read a story to children, 読み聞かせる/読み聞かせをする/ お話を読んで聞かせる
          Or Reading something to someone , (someoneにsomething)を読む/声を出して読む is more natural.

          So your second sentence, 私に読み上げていたとき、眠ってしまった is better if you change the verb
          →彼が私に(somethingを)読み聞かせているときに、眠ってしまった。but it means
          I fell asleep when he was reading to me.

          I would use 間 ( = during/while) in this sentence because as I explained in this lesson, you use ながら when you describe one person’s actions.
          = I fell asleep while watching TV. (The subject of two actions, “fell asleep” and watching TV is the speaker/writer “I”)


          If you want to use just one subject, “I” and use ながら, reading a book to someone usually a positive/favorable action so てもらう works.

          1. Ooohkay, didn’t know if you could use 読む for reading aloud. When would you use 読み上げる?It’s hard to tell the nuance from the dictionary.

            From reading another comment, I wasn’t sure if it could describe both a person’s actions and actions that happen to that person. (先生に怒られながら心をさまよわせていた) Using 間 definitely seems much more straightforward here, gotta read that lesson now.


          2. You use 読み上げる  when you read something loud, read out something formal Ex. speech/statement

            Also you can use it when some app. reads out the text.

            As for the sentence
            Though you see the word 先生 in that sentence, the subject is still the same person, “I”
            (私は)先生に怒られる = I got scolded by my teacher
            (私は)心をさまよわせる = I let my mind wander

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