In this lesson, friend will find out to usage toki in Japanese (時 - とき) to express the time when some states or actions exist or occur.

You are watching: What does toki mean in japanese


とき (toki) connects 2 sentences and expresses the time when the state or action described in the key sentence takes place.

Verb dict-formときMain sentence
Verb ない-formときMain sentence
Verb た-formときMain sentence
い-adjectiveときMain sentence
な-adjective + なときMain sentence
Noun + のときMain sentence

As displayed above, the various forms of Verbs, い-adjectives, な-adjectives and Nouns the are associated to とき are the same as the creates when nouns space modified.

Let"s usage some instances to display how to kind sentences using toki in Japanese...


図書館で本を借りる とき、カードが要ります。toshokan de hon wo kariru toki, ka-do ga irimasuMeaning: as soon as you borrow publications from the library, you require a card.


使い方が分からない とき、田中さんに聞いてください。tsukaikata ga wakaranai toki, tanaka mountain ni kiite kudasaiMeaning: when you don"t know exactly how to usage it, ask ms Tanaka.


体の調子が悪い とき、医者へ行きます。karada no choushi ga warui toki, isha e ikimasuMeaning: once I am not feeling well, ns visit the doctor.


暇な とき、テレビを見ます。hima na toki, terebi wo mimasuMeaning: ns watch TV once I am free.


母が病気の とき、会社を休みます。haha ga byouki no toki, kaisha wo yasumimasuMeaning: when my mommy is sick, i take a day off work.


学生の とき、あまり勉強しませんでした。gakusei no toki, amari benkyoushimasen deshitaMeaning: as soon as I was a student, ns did not study much.


子供の とき、よく海で泳ぎました。kodomo no toki, yoku umi de oyogimashitaMeaning: I provided to swimming in the sea once I to be a child.

Tense does Not matter in Adjective & Noun Sentences

The it is too dirty of adjective sentences and also noun sentence which modify とき is not affected by the tense of the main sentence.

In example 6 above, the English translation is "When I was a student, I did not study much". You provided past tense for both the first sentence and second (main) sentence.

However in Japanese, you don"t require past tense because that the noun sentence in former of とき (学生のとき - gakusei no toki). Tense does not matter here.

In example 4 above, the English translate in is "I watch TV when I am free". You can additionally say 暇なとき、テレビを見ました (hima na toki, terebi wo mimashita), which translated to "I used to watch TV once I was free".

In both cases, it"s still 暇なとき (hima na toki). The it is too dirty of the な-adjective sentences in prior of とき is not impacted by the it is too dirty of the main sentences.

Let"s use another two examples for toki in Japanese through adjective and noun sentences.


母は若い とき、きれいでした。haha wa wakai toki, kirei deshitaMeaning: My mommy was beautiful as soon as she to be young.


鈴木さんは二十五歳の とき、結婚しました。suzuki san wa nijuugo sai no toki, kekkon shimashitaMeaning: grandfather Suzuki acquired married when he to be 25 years old.

As you can see, both examples are talking around past events but the it s too dirty of the adjective and noun sentences are not influenced by the key sentences (in Japanese).

toki in Japanese has actually Different definitions for verbs in present or past Tense

With verbs, it helps to save in mind the non-past kind indicates an activity that wake up "all the time" or is "not however completed". The past type is used when the activity is "over and also finished".

Let"s check out some examples...


日本へ行く とき、カメラを買いました。nihon e iku toki, kamera wo kaimashitaMeaning: ns bought a camera when I was on my method to Japan. (before reaching Japan, top top the way there)


日本へ行った とき、カメラを買いました。nihon e itta toki, kamera wo kaimashitaMeaning: ns bought a camera once I checked out Japan. (arrived in Japan and also bought a camera there)

In instance 1 above, 行く (iku) indicates that the action had not been completed. The speaker bought a camera somewhere on his/her method to Japan. (the camera might be bought in his/her very own country).

In example 2 above, 行った (itta) shows that the activity had to be completed and the speak bought a camera after arriving in Japan.

More instances for toki in Japanese through Verbs

寝る とき、「おやすみなさい」と言います。neru toki, "oyasuminasai" to iimasuMeaning: i say "Good Night" before going to bed.

In this case you cannot use 寝たとき (neta toki) because it will typical that you room saying "Good Night" while you are sleeping.

部屋に入る とき、「失礼します」と言います。heya ni hairu toki, "shitsurei shimasu" come iimasuMeaning: ns say "Excuse Me" prior to entering the room.

In this case you cannot usage 部屋に入ったとき (heya ni haitta toki) since it will typical that you space saying "Excuse Me" after girlfriend have gotten in the room. It"s considered rude if you carry out this to her boss.

今朝友達に会った とき、「おはようございます」と言いました。kesa tomodachi ni atta toki, "ohayou gozaimasu" to iimashitaMeaning: I stated "Good Morning" as soon as I met my friend this morning.

In this situation you cannot use 今朝友達に会うとき (kesa tomodachi ni au toki) because it will typical that you were saying "Good Morning" prior to you met her friend. You would be talking to no one if you did that.

Common wrong While making use of toki in Japanese

There is one usual mistake the many human being make as soon as they making use of toki in Japanese. とき (toki) is a time expression.

Therefore if there is currently a time expression in a sentence, you don"t add in とき after that time expression.

For example, 朝 (asa - morning) is already a time expression, so friend cannot combine it through とき and say 朝のとき (asa no toki).

If you use a term the is no a time expression prefer 眠い (nemui - sleepy), then you can combine it through とき and say 眠いとき (nemui toki). Because that example...


朝の とき、コーヒーを飲みます。 X asa no toki, ko-hi- wo nomimasu X朝コーヒーを飲みます。 O asa ko-hi- wo nomimasu OMeaning: i drink coffee in the morning.


眠い とき、コーヒーを飲みます。 O nemui toki, ko-hi- wo nomimasu OMeaning: i drink coffee when I am sleepy.

Using Verb て-form いる with toki in Japanese

You can additionally use Verb て-form いるとき come express the moment in the center of action, if you are doing something.

For example, ご飯を食べているとき (gohan wo tabete iru toki) method in the middle of eating.

ご飯を食べる ときgohan wo taberu tokiMeaning: before eating mealご飯を食べている ときgohan wo tabete iru tokiMeaning: in the midst of eating mealご飯を食べた ときgohan wo tabeta tokiMeaning: finished eat meal

Let"s usage some instances to show this...

ご飯を食べている とき、山田さんがうちへ来ました。gohan wo tabete iru toki, yamada san ga uchi e kimashitaMeaning: While ns was eating, grandfather Yamada came to my house.ゆうべ寝ている とき、地震がありました。yuube nete iru toki, jishin ga arimashitaMeaning: While i was resting last night, there was an earthquake.

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