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)

⭐️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 negotiating 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 words 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. 今  ( = 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) + の  ( = no) but you can’t modify a noun with ところ  ( = tokoro)  + の  ( = no)


= Katta bakari no shatsu

= A shirt that one just bought.

 :rrrr: ❌ 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 if 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, but it turned out all the answers were wrong.

 :rrrr: From Maggie

ごめんね。= Gomenne= I’m sorry.  😅

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 did 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.

ところで  ( = 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.

verb past tense Vた ( = ta) + ところで  ( = 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に  (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 に  ( = ni) and へ  ( = 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 を ( = wo) is an object marker. You use ところを  ( = tokoro wo) when focusing on the situation or some action has been 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 into 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 the 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 into French.

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  1. こんにちはMaggie先生

    1. こんにちは、壱茶

      1) 今、彼に(or と)話しているところです/ところだ
      = I am just talking to/with him./ I am in the middle of talking to him right now./ I am in the process of talking to/with him now.

      It is emphasizing the ongoing process or being in the middle of the action
      2) 今、彼に(or と)話しています。/いる
      = I am talking to/with him now.
      It simply states the fact that talking is happening without emphasizing the ongoing action.

  2. Hi sensei,
    むかしむかしある所に is once upon a time .
    but i dont understand why ある所にis used why not only所に

    1. Hello ritesh
      You can’t say むかしむかし所に
      あるところ means “in a certain place” and you don’t want to specify where it is so you add ある.

  3. Super helpful!

    Long sentences with ところで always gave me headaches because I didn’t know what it means xD

    Now I understad a lot better

    1. モテ is from a word モテる = popular with girls/women or boys/men
      めちゃ is from めちゃめちゃ/めちゃくちゃ and it means “very”

    2. こんにちは!!
      Could you please explain me what’s the difference between 「部屋を掃除している」and 「部屋を掃除しているところ」
      I don’t really get the difference between them :(
      Thank you so much

      1. こんにちは Daniela,

        They both can be translated
        “I am cleaning the room (now)” but difference is
        If 部屋を掃除している doesn’t have a word such as 今 (= ima = now), it can be “I have been cleaning the room for certain period of time. or I clean the room regularly.

        Talking about one’s habitual action/routine:
        Ex. 私は(いつも)部屋を掃除している。 = I (always) clean the room.
        Ex. 私は、部屋を掃除しているが、弟は部屋を掃除しない。= I clean my room but my little brother don’t clean his room.

        部屋を掃除しているところ means “I am middle of cleaning the room.” and focuses on the current moment.

        Hope this explanation helps..

    1. Hi Alan

      It seems like I haven’t answered your question yet. So sorry.
      めちゃモテ means めちゃくちゃモテる = すごくモテる = very popular with the men/women, boys/girls.

  4. こんにちは先生!I am actually confused how ところで is used. Could you please give more example and explanation? ありがとうございます!Also, I also encounter ところだから in my book, can you also please explain during when it is used?

    1. Hi Kailyn

      I listed two usages of ところで
      1) Indicating the location / time / situation / When it fills certain conditions~
      2) even if

      Which usage do you have a problem understanding? Or if you are talking about some other usage that you have seen, give me an example first. I will explain.

      から give a reason for the following part.
      今、食べたところ = I just ate
      Ex. (When someone offers you something to eat)
      今、食べたところだからいらないです。 = I just ate so I don’t want it.

      1. The first usage of ところで indicating the location/time/situation/when it fills certain conditions.. What are those certain conditions? and how do I know if I’ll use ところで? :)

        1. Ah OK, the usage “when it fills certain conditions”?
          Like in my example sentence,
          Ex. 皆さんがそろったところで乾杯しましょう。
          = Since everybody is here, let’s toast.

          皆さんがそろった (everybody are here) is the condition for the following part, 乾杯しましょう。

          The exam was over so I guess I go traveling.
          (Filling the condition of 試験が終わる leads to the next action.)

          when to use ところで

          Q:how do I know if I’ll use ところで?

          indicating the location
          ところ = place + で: do/did something~ where ~

          indicating the time

          one action is done + ところで+ some other action

          When you did/finish something, something else happened/you or someone did some other action.


          1. すみません先生、I think you comment has been cut but I appreciate the detailed explanation. ありがとうございます先生!

  5. Hi maggie sensei, thanks again for your wonderful lesson, Can u perhaps do a lesson on ての ? Imabi’s site is too confusing with its deep analysis, perhaps you can clear things up if it is in your convenience? Also ての vs masu- form for nomilisation of a verb, thank you very much. I love your site way more, because it gives me easier understanding, unlike somethings… ==

      1. unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything regarding this other than 1 site, Sorry for requesting such a hard task, I understand that you are very busy. :)

  6. Hello! I’m very confused regarding the difference between “ところに” and “ところを”, I just don’t seem to get it :(.

    I’m currently thinking of taking the N3 soon, but I was doing an exercise where I had to use one of the two and didn’t know which one to choose.

    学校を休んで遊んでいる( )友達のお母さんに見られた

    My book says it should be とことを and not ところに, could you please help me understand why, マギー先生?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello アレハンドロ,
      OK, focus on the function of the particle に and を and think without ところ first.

      に indicates certain time
      を object marker

      Ex. 遊んでいる時に、友達のお母さんがやってきた。
      = When I was playing, my friend’s mother came over.
      (You can’t use を here)

      Ex. 友達のお母さんは私が遊んでいるのを見た。
      My friend’s mother saw me playing.

      You use を here because 私が遊んでいるの is an object of the action of 見る
      Now make this sentence into a passive form.
      Ex. 遊んでいるのを友達のお母さんに見られた。
      見られる is a passive form but still 私が遊んでいるの is an object of the action 見る

      If you understand the difference between this に and を, add ところ

      学校を休んで遊んでいる( )友達のお母さんに見られた

      What the friend’s mother saw was “me playing” (“object”) so you use ところを

      1. わかりました!マギー先生の説明のおかげで今明白みたいです。ありがとうございました。

  7. Hello Sensei!
    Could you, perhaps, help me understand the subtle difference between 間に, うちに, ながら and ところ? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it, especially around ところ. From what I gather:
    A間にB – action or state B finishes before A does;
    AうちにB – similar to 間に, but A being unfinished is the condition for B;
    AながらB – basically like 間に, but A is much less important, it’s more like some background information;
    Aところ(some particle)B – unlike earlier, A can be in the past tense and is more like “In the moment of A”, kind of locking A in time, which allows “Aところ” to be used gramatically as a noun of sorts (hence the possibility of other particles following it).
    Do I understand those points correctly? Neither Shin Kanzen nor the dictionaries of Japanese grammar by Makino and Tsuitsui help. Maybe you would be able to?

    I can only imagine how much work you put into this whole site and, believe, I am truly thankful for all you have done so far, as it has helped me tremendously, but unfortunately, not this time.

  8. こんにちは、マギー先生!いつもありがとう!
    I’m having a lot of trouble understanding how to use 「ところを」。If it’s not too much trouble, do you think you could explain it in a different way, with maybe a shorter sentence?
    Also, in いつもは1800円のところを木曜日は1000円で映画を観ることができます, where can I pause? After the particle?

    1. こんにちは、Sora!
      Ah that usage of ところ is different from what I covered here.
      Vところ also means “although, whereas”
      “Whereas it’s usually 1,800 yen, you can see a movie for 1,000 yen on Thursday. “

  9. is this right ?


    Context :
    When i looking a good book (from yesterday untill find the video), i found a video.

    The video is a review about books, so after watching the video i stop looking for book…

    1. Hi Manila,

      No, it’s not.
      The reasons are:
      1) AところにB
      The doer of the action of A and B should be different.
      2) 昨日から〜探している that means you have been looking for a book since yesterday not in the middle of action.

  10. hello sensei.
    i just learn about tokoro from shinkanzen master and confused by tokoro + particle.
    And i came here to learn more.

    i’m really sorry but i’m still confused between tokoro de and tokoro ni.

    i’m trying to understand from this example :

    i’m thinking why it isn’t using tokoroni. in my viewpoint, it’s 2 action that happened on the same time. so, i think why it’s using tokoro de ?
    as you have already wrote that tokoro de used when it fulfill some condition. i don’t understand what condition on this example that fulfilled ?

    i’ve already asked my friend about this, and he asked to read again about difference ni and de ? but i don’t still understand…

    thank you very much sensei !

    1. Hi Michael C,
      Ex. 駅の近くでケーキを買ったところで彼女に偶然会った。
      Action 1: finish buying a cake (the action of buying some cakes is completed. → the condition of buying some cakes is fulfilled.)
      Action 2: met her
      So Action 1 and 2 are not happening at the same time.
      When Action 1 is just finished, Action B happened.

      If when you are buying some cake, she popped in the store you say
      Action 1 : buying some cakes
      Action 2 : She is entering the store.
      Action 1 and 2 are happening at the same time.

      1. hii…

        aah… so it’s my mistake to read the translation carelessly .
        now i understand…

        thank you thank you a lot for explaining it to me…

  11. Hello Maggie sensei,

    Did you have a nice trip ?

    Did you take back some omiyage for me :)
    An answer for my question is valuable gift, I need nothing more than it.

    Could you teach me if my understanding is correct, about tokorode/tokoroni

    I will use tokorode for place and tokoroni for time
    For example



    My understanding is
    (1) = He came when we just finished eating
    (2) = We met him at the place we just finished eating.

    Thank you for your gift to me, my Lady .

    1. ただいま! I had a great time! My omiyage for you is a big smile for you!

      In this case ところに and ところで both indicate the time not the place but
      ところに You focus on the moment, right after we finish eating, something happened, in this case “he came”
      ところで after completing some action, you do something, in this case, “we met him”

      1. Hello Maggie sensei,

        Thanks for your big smile and very happy when you’re back.

        I understand that point.

        But could you please give me some examples when ところで indicate a location?

        Second question is about the example


        What does tokoro de indicate here ? Is it a location or a situation (after everybody is ready, then kanpai0

        Thanks my Lady.

        1. Hello!

          Sure, for example,
          Please wait for me around the corner.

          This ところで indicates the situation. once(or when) everyone is here/everyone has arrived

        2. 簡単に分かれば、上記の「ところで」の意味は「~たら」と同じ。


  12. Thank you for this lesson! You always help me a lot preparing for the JLPT N4 in December.

    I still have some troubles with the difference between たところ and たばかり. I thought I got it from your explanation but this sentence from a sample JLPT test still confuses me:


    Why do I need to use ばかり here? The sentence doesn’t involve any negative emotion and I think that it’s about an event that really happened just a minute ago.

    Is it because it’s about a general event?
    I really cannot tell.

    Thank you in advance!!

    1. Hi Shiro,
      Sorry for the late reply. I was on vacation.
      I see. Good question.

      They mean the same. I just came back to Japan.
      The other difference between ばかり and ところ that I didn’t mention in the lesson is while you focus on the moment of just did something with ばかり, you use ところ when you focusing on the moment for the next movement/action.


      生まれたばかりです。is just focusing on the moment of birth, it will be unnatural to use ところ.

  13. Hello Maggie sensei
    I was looking for the case of use of tokoro with chousho tansho..pls could you explain

    1. Hell Szilvia,
      You mean 長所(ちょうしょ = chousho) and 短所(たんしょ = tansho)?
      長所(ちょうしょ = chousho) advantage, one’s strong point/strength/ merit
      短所(たんしょ = tansho) disadvantage, one’s weak point/weakness/demerit

  14. Hello again,

    Maggie sensei, I find that there is case that ~ているところに and  ~るところ both mention the same thing (though they have a different grammar), and would like to ask you.

    (1) 彼に話すところです。
    This sentence grammar is るところ and it shows the meaning ” I am about to talk to him”.

    (2) 彼に話そうとおもっちいるところ。
    The grammar is ているところ but
    Also means ” I was about to talk to him”

    The grammar is also ているところbut
    Also means “I was about to talk to him”.

    I think the translation is the same.
    But are they different?

    1. I’m sorry for my typo in (1) and I’d like to correct it.ごめんなさい!
      (2) 彼に話そうと思っているところ。
      The grammar is ているところ but
      Also means ” I was about to talk to him”

    2. 1) 話すところ I am about to talk.
      2) 話そうとしているところ 
      These two mean the same. 2) is a volitional form so the literal translation would be
      I am about to try to talk.

      話そうと思っているところ is still thinking.
      I am thinking about talking to him.

  15. Hello Maggie sensei,

    Thanks for the great lesson!

    I have a question about this sentence
    Which I need to choose in the bracket [], ところに or 間に

    I feel no problem with ところに and no problem with 間に also.
    Both will make the meaning “While I was writing email to that person, that person came”.

    Thanks Maggie sensei :)

    1. Hello

      Good question.
      As I explained in the section,

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

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

      That ところに is more like “when”.
      When I was just writing an email

      If you use 間に, it indicates the duration,
      While I was writing an email,
      In this case, ちょうど doesn’t fit in the sentence.

      1. Thanks Maggie sensei. I understand that ちょうど does not fit 間に now.

        If that sentence has no ちょうど, then are both 間に and ところに suitable?
        Or is there any nuance difference ?


        1. Yes, as I wrote in my previous comment,
          ところに when (Right in the time I was writing an email, that person showed up)
          間に while I was waiting (it implies this person has been waiting for certain period of time. While I was writing and email, that person showed up.)

  16. Can you use ところ in the middle of a sentence like, 宿題をし終えたところ/ところで,休めよう for “I have just finished my homework, now I’ll rest”?

    1. 宿題をし終えたところ/ところで,休めよう→ In this case,休もう= talking about the future so たら will be better. 

      宿題をし終えたら休もう。 or 宿題が終わったら休もう。

      You can use ところで in the middle of a sentence.

      1. I guess what I’m really asking is how can you say something like “I just finished doing X, so I’m going to do Z now.” It seems to me that usually there are almost always two different subjects in sentences with ところ. In your example for instance, (私が)宿題をし終えたところで休もうと思っていたら電話がかかってきた. So now you have watashi and denwa as two subjects. But can you use only one subject? Like 私がケーキを買ったところで(私が今)映画館に向かっている – I just bought cake, now I’m going to the movie theater. I think ところだが might work better here, am I wrong?

        And yes, I actually meant to write 休もう, that was a mistake.

  17. Hi!Maggie sensei!
    Thank you for your effort!
    Could you please tell me the meaning of the next sentence?:無い無い(笑)って流すところだったん.

    1. Hi Bere,
      I don’t do the translation here. Also it is hard to tell by just the sentence but is it a typo?
      流すところだったん →流すところだった
      I guess the person denying something saying “That is not possible/I don’t have something./ It can’t be true (depending on the context)” and 流す means he/she doesn’t try to answer the former question seriously. ところだった means “almost/was about to do something”
      So he/she almost didn’t try to answer the question seriously denying the possibility laughing.

  18. こんばんわ、マギー先生!

    Is it possible to use ところ for things that happen elsewhere while you’re doing something unrelated in a another place?

    Last night, while eating dinner with my friends, I got fined for a parking violation.

    Of course, the traffic cop didn’t come to find me at the table to hand me the fine personally, instead I found the ticket on my windscreen after dinner ended.

    1. こんにちは、altuser

      OK, so you are talking about the usage,
      ★ when you did something / while doing something + something happened (result, consequences)

      And yes, your example sentence works! :)

      1. Sorry for the ultra late reply, thanks for the answer!

        I must admit I was unsure it would come out right, when I reread the sentence it sounded like the cop came to me at the restaurant to issue the fine :-P

        Though I suppose, it could be read that way as well if someone didn’t get the context?

        P.S. 実は例文じゃありません、本当に罰金を科せられました! でも、まだ払っていません。笑

        1. Hello again, altuser,

          I don’t think anybody would think the police comes to you and charge the fine at the table from that sentence unless you say レストランで食事をしていたところ警官がきて駐車違反の罰金を払わされた。 (^_−)−☆
          Uh-oh… 実話でしたか?

  19. Hi Maggie先生、

    Gee wiz, you must be a workaholic.
    So many examples and just as many answered questions (Thankyou! XD).

    But i have to admit…. This time i read the examples、and i read them as if ところ wasn’t there.

    Q: Could i summarize that ところ adds emphasis to “the” verb or adjective (in everyday conversation atleast)

    If ところ, was left out of the examples, would that make it sound as if the speaker is less interested, and just conveying the facts/thoughts.

    サンキュウ for your time。

    1. Hi Shaun

      You can say many sentences without ところ
      Let’s pick up a few sentences.




      Yes, as you say without ところ you just convey the facts/thoughts. I wouldn’t say the speaker is less interested.
      By using ところ, you can simply emphasize you are in middle of doing something or about to do something and you want the listener to understand you are trying to call or what you are about to do is more important.

      From your “workaholic” teacher 😉

      1. Thankyou for the reply Maggie.
        I will work on this more and more.

        Currently my vocabulary is maybe ‘N5’,

        But, beautiful tools like “Rikaichamp” are available, so i can keep learning all grammar in context, like on you page on 〜はしない (it’s fantastic!).

    1. Vているところ ( = te iru tokoro) emphasizes “right in the middle” of doing something”.
      Vています = teimasu is used to state what someone is doing or does usually.

      Ex. 彼はこの会社で働いています。
      = Kare wa kono kaisha de hataraite imasu.
      = He works for this company.
      (It states what he does for living.)

      = Kare wa ofuro ni haitte imasu.
      = He is taking bath (now)

      = Kare wa ofuro ni haitte iru tokoro desu.
      = He is taking bath. (the translation is the same as above but it emphasizes “He is in the middle of taking bath).

  20. Maggie-Sensei.

    What’s the difference or what will be the proper translation for this, if I used と in this sentence?
    これから彼に話すところです.I am about to talk to him.

    would it be
    “I am about to talk with him.” or “From now on I will talk with him.”?

  21. Hi maggie-sensei,

    In this sentence, why is past tense 勉強した used since it is 今から?


    1. Hi Chang
      Ah I see.
      It is a hypothetical sentence.
      Though you use a past tense, it doesn’t mean you are talking about the past. It is just a pattern.

      For example, you still have to use a past tense if you are talking about hypothetical situation in future.

      Even if I see him tomorrow, nothing would change.

      = Even if I take the exam, I would fail it again.

  22. こんにちはマギー先生、
    I was wondering… When do you know to use ている+ところ instead of just plain old ている? : o
    For example…
    今、彼に話しているところです。versus 今、彼に話しています。

    1. こんにちは!

      話しています。 I have been talking to him. or I am talking to him.
      話しているところ I am talking to him right now./ I am middle of talking to him.
      ところ emphasizes when I am middle of talking to him. and it sounds more explanatory.

      So when you just describe someone is talking to someone, you say
      Ex. マギーは彼と話しています。

      But if you need to explain something. (Ex. どうしてマギーは忙しいのですか? =Why is Maggie busy? /あの件はどうなりましたか?= How is that matter going?)


  23. 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。

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

          2. @ chaos_prinz

            You’re welcome.
            If you try to understand the whole difference and details, it will stress you out. Take baby steps.

          3. Hi Maggie

            What would be the difference between these two sentences?



  26. 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. @Gallus

      Hi Gallus

      You can also say 入ったら instead of 入ったところ. They mean the same.
      たら is more conversational than ところ

    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

  27. 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

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

      1. Maggie Sensei
        I have found something like ところだった。
        ところ の 過去形ですか?


  30. 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!

  31. 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.

          1. Oh I completely understand it now. Thank you very much! I will definitely study the lesson for toka too.

  32. 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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