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ところだ (In The State Of)

ところだ (In The State Of)

ところだ (In The State Of) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: X is in the state of Y / X is in the state of having just done X

Construction:

  • Verb informal + ところだ
    • E.g. はなすところだ [The state in which X is about to speak / The state in which X has just spoken]
    • E g. べるところだ [The state in which X is about to eat / The state in which X has just eaten]
  • Verb Progressive Form + ところだ
    • E.g. はなしているところだ [The state in which X is in the midst of speaking]
    • E.g. べているところだ [The state in which X is in the midst of eating]
  • い-Adjective informal nonpast + ところ
    • E.g. いそがしいところ [The state in which X is busy]
  • な-Adjective Stem + なところ 
    • E.g. 大事だいじなところ [The state in which X is important]
  • Noun + のところ
    • E.g. やすみのところ [The state in which X is on vacation]

Notes:

  • The noun ところ means “Place“, but when combined with a modifier or modifying phrase it means “State” or “Time“. ところだ essentially nominalizes a state or situation so that it can be used as a noun phrase (i.e. as the subject, predicate, with particles, with the copula, et cetera).
    • E.g. ぼくはいまかけるところです。 [I’m in a state in which I’m about to head out.]
    • E.g. やすみのところ [The state in which one is on vacation]
  • The interpretation of sentences with Verb + ところ depends on the verb tense. Specifically, simple present and simply past verbs indicate that the subject is about to be in some state or was just in some state, respectively. Present progressive and past progressive verbs indicate that the subject is in the midst of some state or has been in the midst of some state, respectively.
    • E.g. Simple Present Tense: 春江はるえばんはんべるところだ。[Harue is just about to eat her supper.]
    • E.g. Present Progressive Tense: 春江はるえばんはんべているところだ。[Harue is in the midst of eating her supper.]
    • E.g. Simple Past: 春江はるえばんはんべたところだ。[Harue has just eaten her supper.]
    • E.g. Past Progressive Tense: 春江はるえばんはんべていたところだ。[Harue has been eating her supper.]
  • When the verb that precedes ところ is nonpast and non-progressive and the copula is in the past tense, the sentence can be interpreted as “Someone / something almost did X” or “Someone / something was about to do X“. Adverbs such as もうすこしで [By just a little] and あぶなく [Nearly] may be paired with this type of sentence.
    • E.g. わたしはもうすこしで宿題しゅくだいわすれるところだった。 [I almost forgot about my homework.]
    • E.g. わたしあぶなくおぼれるところだった。[I nearly drowned.]
  • ところ can be followed by the copula as in the previous examples, or by particles such as , , , and . In particular, when Noun + or an adjective precedes ところ, the phrase is typically followed by a particle rather than the copula.
    • E.g. わたしあぶないところをジーンにたすけてもらった。[I was saved by Jin when I was in danger.] In this case, an adjective precedes ところ, so the copula is not used.
    • E.g. 仕事中しごとちゅうのところをすみません。[I’m sorry to bother you in the midst of your work.] In this case, an adjective phrase precedes ところ, so the copula is not used.
    • E.g. いそがしいところをどうもありがとうございました。[Thank you for helping me while in the state of being busy.] In this case, an adjective precedes ところ, so the copula is not used.
    • E.g. やすみのところをすみません。[I’m sorry to bother you in the midst of your vacation.] In this case a noun precedes ところ, so the copula is not used.
    • E.g. *わたしいまいそがしいところです。[I’m in the state of being busy.] When an adjective precedes ところ, the phrase is marked by a particle such as rather than the copula だ.
    • E.g. *わたしいまやすみのところです。[I’m in the state of being on vacation.] When a Noun + の precedes ところ, the phrase is marked by a particle such as rather than the copula だ.
  • ところ resembles とき, but the they are not the same and are not interchangeable. The difference is that ところ expresses a state and とき expresses a time.
    • E.g. ぼく電話でんわをかけるところだ。[I’m in the state where I’m about to make a phone call.]
    • E.g. *ぼく電話でんわをかけるときだ。[I am in the time when I’m about to make a call.]
  • The structure Verb + ているところだ closely resembles the regular stative verb form ている. The difference is that ているところ focuses on the overall state or scene, whereas ている focuses specifically on the action itself.
    • E.g. ジョンがはしっている。[John is running.]
    • E.g. *ジョンがはしっているところだ。[John is in the state of running.] This sentence doesn’t work; the sentence should clearly focus on the action of John running rather than the state of being in the midst of running.
    • E.g. この写真しゃしん学生がくせいがフリズビーをしているところです。[In this picture, the students are in the midst of playing frisbee.] It makes sense to describe a picture in terms of the overall scene or state that is shown. There is no actual action taking place in this sentence.
    • E.g. この写真しゃしん学生がくせいがフリスビーをしています。[In this picture, the students are playing frisbee.] This sentence doesn’t work because it emphasizes the specific action of the kids in the photo rather than the overall scene.
  • Verb informal past + ところだ resembles Verb informal past + ばかりだ. The difference is that Verb informal past + ところだ indicates that someone is in the state of “having just done” something. ばかりだ, on the other hand, emphasis that someone or something did something and a relatively short period of time has elapsed since then. In other words, ところだ shouldn’t be used in contexts where a relatively long time has passed since the action.
    • E.g. わたし山本やまもと先生せんせいには一週間前いっしゅうかんまえったばかりだ。[I just met Yamamoto-sensei last week.] This sentence makes sense. The speaker met with Yamamoto-sensei last week, and a relatively short period of time has elapsed since that meeting.
    • E.g. *わたし山本やまもと先生せんせいには一週間前いっしゅうかんまえったところだ。[I am in the state of having just met Yamamoto-sensei last week.] A week has elapsed since the meeting with Yamamoto-sensei, so it doesn’t make sense for the speaker to say that he is “in the state of having just met Yamamoto-sensei”.

Example Sentences:

春江はるえばんはんべるところだ。[Harue is just about to eat her supper.]

春江はるえばんはんべているところだ。[Harue is in the midst of eating her supper.]

春江はるえばんはんべたところだ。[Harue has just eaten her supper.]

春江はるえばんはんべていたところだ。[Harue has been eating her supper.]

わたしはもうすこしで宿題しゅくだいわすれるところだった。 [I almost forgot about my homework.]

わたしあぶないところをジーンにたすけてもらった。[I was saved by Jin when I was in danger.]

仕事中しごとちゅうのところをすみません。[I’m sorry to bother you in the midst of your work.]

ぼくいまかけるところだ。 [I’m in a state in which I’m about to head out.]

テリーとおどっているところをマーサにられてしまった。[I was seen by Martha while in the midst of dancing with Terry.]

はんわったところにまりがたずねてきた。[Mariko came to see me when when I was in the state of having just finished my meal.]

三章さんしょうまでんだところでてしまった。[I fell asleep when I was in the state of having read up to chapter three.]

わたしはあぶなくおぼれるところだった。[I nearly drowned.]

いそがしいところをどうもありがとうございました。[Thank you for taking the time while in the state of being busy.]

ボブは一番いちばん大事だいじなところでよく勉強べんきょうしなかったからなにもからなくなってしまった。[In the state when it was the most important, Bob didn’t study. So it has come to the point where he doesn’t understand anything.]

やすみのところをすみません。[I’m sorry to bother you while you’re in the state of being on vacation.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 1:10: Oh My Jeep, おれいまうみところだ [I’m in the state of having just headed out to see the ocean.]
Listen to this line from 1:44: ごめんね、よるおそるどころだったでしょう? [Sorry for disturbing you late at night, You were in the middle of sleeping, weren’t you?]

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