Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 10/18

か〜ないかの(うち)

Right after, As soon as, Just when, Barely

Structure

Verb[る]+ + Verb ない(*) + のうちに

(*) The same Verb has to be repeated

Details

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    Formal

  • 使用域

    硬い

About か〜ないかのうちに

か~ないかのうちに is a slightly formal grammar structure used in Japanese to indicate a precise point in time where the action of (A) can not be determined as either being started, or finished. Usually, it highlights the exact moment either before or after (A) commences. This grammar structure is comprised of か, ない, か, の, the noun (うち) 'within', and に. Literally, it just means 'while not knowing whether (A) or not (A), (B)'.
The verb that appears before か and ないか must be repeated in this grammar pattern, and may be used in its dictionary form. Standard translations include 'right after (A)', 'as soon as (A)', and 'barely when (A)'.
  • (ちち)はビールを()()わる()()わらないかのうちに(あたら)しい(かん)()けた。
    My father opened a new can of beer as soon as he finished his beer.
  • (かれ)椅子(いす)(すわ)(すわ)ないかのうちに、テレビをつけた。
    He turned his TV on just as he sat down.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)(くるま)()まる()まらないかのうちに、ドアを()けて(えき)へと(はし)っていった。
    Just as the car stopped, she opened the door and ran to the station.
Additionally, か~ないかのうちに may be used to highlight relatively short periods of time within which something happens. This is usually in regard to some sort of positive or negative occurrence that would not usually be expected to be able to happen so quickly.
  • 就活(しゅうかつ)(はじ)めて1週間(しゅうかん)()()ないかのうちに仕事(しごと)()つかった。
    In just a week of looking for a new job, I found a job.
  • 戦争(せんそう)()わる()わらないかのうちに原爆(げんばつ)()とされた。
    An atomic bomb was dropped, just when the war was about to end.

Examples

  • (くるま)(あら)いきる(あら)いきらないかのうちに(あめ)()()したんだ。とてもイライラしたよ。

    Right after I washed my car, it started raining. I was so frustrated.

  • いつも(いえ)()()ける()ないかのうちにうちの(いぬ)(いえ)から()()して(かお)をなめる。

    As soon as I open the door our dog always jumps out and licks my face.

  • 現代(げんだい)(じん)って()()ます()()まさないかのうちにスマホをとってネットサーフィンする

    These days, people take out their smartphones and surf the web as soon as they wake up.

  • ()がす()がさないかのうちに(にく)()のが(ぼく)流儀(りゅうぎ)

    My style is to take off the meat just when it starts to burn.

  • 御馳走(ごちそう)をいただくいただかないかのうちに(かえ)時間(じかん)になってしまった。

    Just when I was going to be treated, I had to go home (had to pay my own way).

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か〜ないかのうちに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • s1212z

    s1212z

    About 3 years ago

    削除される されない かのうちに 、自ら手を引た方がいい。

    Do you think 身を引た方がいい sounds more natural here? I thought the former was more of an escape from meaning while the later is a retire from meaning. Of course the context is unknown here.

  • Fuga

    Fuga

    About 1 year ago

    Hey @s1212z !

    Since this sentence does not have any context, 手を引た方がいい is perfectly fine!

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