Wild Nihongo!


ながら Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: While doing X


  • Verb ます-Form + ながら
    • E.g. はなしながら [While speaking]
    • E.g. べながら [While eating]


  • ながら expresses an action that occurs concurrently or simultaneously with another action. It translates to “While doing X“. Importantly, the action that is connected to ながら is always secondary to the action expressed in the main clause.
    • E.g. みながらはなしましょう。[Let’s chat while we drink.] In this case, chatting is the main action under under discussion and drinking is a secondary action that occurs concurrently.
    • E.g. はなしながらコーヒーをみましょう。 [Let’s drink coffee while we chat.] In this case, drinking is the main action under under discussion and chatting is a secondary action that occurs concurrently.
  • ながら cannot be used when the subjects of the two actions are different people.
    • E.g. *ルームメートがステレオをきながらわたし勉強べんきょうした。[I studied while my roommate listened to the stereo.] This sentence is unacceptable because the subject of the main clause is the speaker, and the subject of the ながら clause is the roommate. In such a case, あいだ can be used instead of ながら.

Example Sentences:

田口たぐちさんはいつも新聞しんぶんみながらあさごはんをべる。[Mr. Taguchi always eats breakfast while reading the newspaper.]

あるきながらほんむのはあぶないですよ。[Reading a book while walking is dangerous.]

山口やまぐちさんはわらいながらわたしはなしいていた。[Ms. Yamaguchi was listening to my story while laughing.]

わたしながら小説しょうせつむのがきだ。[I like to read books while lying in bed.]

ものをべながらはなしてはいけません。[It’s bad to speak while eating.]

木村きむらくんは会社かいしゃはたらきながら学校がっこうっている。[Kimura-kun is going to school while working at a company.]

WILD Examples:

At 0:27, this line is sung: きながらある一人ひとりぼっちのよる [I walk crying on this lonely evening]
From 2:05, listen for this line: 一人ひとり部屋へやながながかみとかしながらかんがえているわたしのこんなくららしいつまでつづくの [Alone in this room, while brushing my long long hair, I’m wondering how long my life will continue like this]
Listen to this line at 3:15: ひかりあびびながらあるそう [While basking in the light, I will begin walking]

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