Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 9: 11/20


As soon as, No sooner than, The instant that, No sooner had

While it can be used with the past form, non-past is more common.


Verb[る](1) + (はや)いか + Phrase[た]

(1) Verb[た]


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About が早いか

(はや)いか is an expression in Japanese that groups with verbs, for the purpose of indicating an action which is immediately followed by a second, often unexpected action. It is a combination of the case-marking particle が, the い-Adjective (はや)い 'soon', and the adverbial particle か. It is often translated as 'no sooner than (A), (B)', or 'the instant that (A), (B)'. The more literal translation, taking into account the use of か, is '(A), or possibly sooner, (B)'. This just illustrates the instantaneousness of the (B) action in that (A) was unable to be determined as actually completed before (B) started.
This grammar pattern is formal, and will follow verbs in their dictionary or past tense forms. The verb that comes in the (B) phrase will always be in the past tense.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)(かれ)()いた手紙(てがみ)()(はや)いか(かな)しさのあまりで()(はじ)めた。
    As soon as she read the letter from her boyfriend, she started to cry out of sadness.
  • 息子(むすこ)食卓(しょくたく)(すわ)(はや)いか(なら)べてあった夕食(ゆうしょく)()()むように()()げた。
    As soon as my son sat at the dining table, he ate all the food that was out as if he sucked them up.
  • 木村(きむら)くんはアラームが()った(はや)いか、スヌーズボタンを()した。
    As soon as the alarm went off, Kimura-kun pressed the snooze button.
  • 警察官(けいさつかん)犯人(はんにん)()つけた(はや)いか犯人(はんにん)()びつき手錠(てじょう)をかけた。
    As soon as the police officer saw the suspect, he jumped onto him and handcuffed him.
(A) will tend to be actions that happen momentarily, or having a clearly defined finish point. For actions that don't have a clearly defined finish point, ()わる 'to finish' will often be linked to the stem form, in order to specify the end. Additionally, while the (B) action will often be unexpected, it will also usually be volitional, that is to say something done intentionally.
Due to (はや)いか always expressing something in the past, it cannot be used to express wishes or intentions for the future. Additionally, it will not highlight the speaker's own actions.
  • (あめ)()(はや)いか()かけるつもりだ。
    As soon as the rain stops, I am planning to go out. (Unnatural Japanese)
  • (おれ)毎日(まいにち)(いえ)荷物(にもつ)()(はや)いか友達(ともだち)(いえ)()く。
    I go to my friends house as soon as I drop my stuff off at home, everyday. (Unnatural Japanese)




    As soon as mom had baked the cake, dad started eating it.


    As soon as the man dressed completely in black noticed the detective, he dashed off like the wind.


    At night, as soon as the young wizard opened the window, a white owl flew in.


    As soon as the automatic doors opened, people promptly entered the train.


    Novel: 'As soon as Tanaka opened his eyes, he jumped out of bed.'

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