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HomeCultureばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

ばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

How do you describe what you simply did in Japanese? Perhaps you simply brushed your enamel, otherwise you simply purchased a automotive. How will you describe these previous actions which have simply occurred?

Nicely, you’ve got bought two nice choices: ばかり and ところ. Say you wish to inform somebody that you simply simply purchased a automotive in Japanese. To easily say you “purchased a automotive,” it is 車を買った. Nonetheless, if you wish to say it simply occurred, you should use both ばかり or ところ and say:

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automotive.

Each are translated as “I simply purchased a automotive” on this case. So do they imply the identical factor? The reply isn’t any, and that is why we’re writing this text! Past what you see within the English translation, there are variations in nuance, and one works higher than the opposite relying on the state of affairs or what you are actually attempting to say. Which one would you employ, for instance, should you’re protecting somebody up to date in your whereabouts and also you wish to allow them to know you’ve got simply completed the errand on the automotive dealership? How about if somebody scratches your new automotive and also you wish to scream at them that it is a automotive you solely simply purchased?

For those who’re curious, preserve studying! On this article, we’ll cordially introduce you to every one, clarify the persona variations between ばかり and ところ, and enable you to resolve which one to whip out relying on the state of affairs. You simply plopped your self right down to learn this text anyway, so would possibly as nicely preserve going!

Earlier than going deeper on the topic, we additionally wish to make clear that this text will focus solely on utilizing ばかり and ところ once they comply with verbs of their previous tense to speak about current happenings, as in 〜たばかり or 〜たところ.

You will have additionally heard ばっか or ばっかし used as an alternative of ばかり, or とこ as an alternative ところ. These are simply informal variations of ばかり and ところ. Examples you see on this article primarily use ばかり and ところ, however know that they are all interchangeable.

Stipulations: This text assumes you already know hiragana and katakana. For those who want a refresher, check out our Final Hiragana Information and Final Katakana Information. To get probably the most out of this text, be sure to’re already accustomed to tense basically, particularly previous tense varieties. Bonus factors should you’re already slightly accustomed to ところ and ばかり, however don’t be concerned if you do not know an excessive amount of but. That is what you are right here for!

What Are ばかり and ところ?

First issues first: what’s ばかり and what’s ところ? Earlier than leaping into the variations between them, let’s first get to know extra about what every does, and what every means.


ばかり originates from the Japanese phrases for measurement or quantity — 計り, 測り, and 量り, all pronounced はかり — and has a number of totally different meanings right now. A type of meanings is “simply” or “solely.”

In case you’ve got by no means seen how ばかり means “simply” or “solely,” this is a fast instance. If you wish to describe that each one somebody does is sleep, you possibly can say that they 寝るばかり (solely sleeping) and never doing anything. In the identical method, you possibly can complain that your child’s doing ゲームばかり (solely video games) on a regular basis. And when it will get used with previous tense verbs (which this text is all about), it mainly means “this factor occurred, and solely simply slightly time has handed since then.”

When you consider it, “solely” or “simply” is subjective. You would possibly consider a glass of water as half empty — there’s solely this a lot water — or as half full. It simply is determined by your perspective.

When ばかり is used to explain a previous occasion, it expresses how one thing feels prefer it occurred not too long ago to you, the speaker, in all probability as a way to make some type of level. In that sense, ばかり is fairly subjective in that the precise period of time that has handed does not actually matter. You’ll be able to even use it to explain one thing you probably did some time in the past — so long as it feels current to you in that context.

a person saying "It feels like it just happened."

Here is an instance. You bought your nails finished a number of days in the past, and somebody asks you to dig a gap for his or her pet alligator’s funeral. You would possibly indignantly exclaim:

  • でもネイルしに行ったばっかりだよ!
  • However I simply bought my nails finished!

Technically it isn’t one thing you simply did if it occurred a number of days in the past. Nonetheless, you should use ばかり right here as a result of it nonetheless feels current to you, particularly contemplating this example the place somebody’s requested you to assist them dig a gap within the floor. With these recent nails? No approach!


Really, it’s possible you’ll know what ところ means already. It is the identical as 所, a Japanese phrase for “place” or “location.” An essential factor to remember right here is that ところ does not solely imply a “place” within the bodily sense — it could additionally imply a “place” in time.

When ところ is used to say what you simply did, it is such as you’re saying, “This factor simply occurred, and that is the place I am at now.” For instance, should you simply completed ingesting some water, you possibly can say this:

  • 飲んだところです。
  • I simply completed ingesting.

By saying ところ on this sentence, you are merely pointing to the second shortly after gulping down water and saying, “Here is the place I am at.”

You’ll be able to really use different verb tenses with ところ too. It simply is determined by which stage of the exercise you are at, and which one you wish to level to!

someone just before, during, and after drinking a glass of water

飲むところ is when you’re about to begin ingesting. 飲む is within the so-called current tense, however it may be used for a future motion as nicely. 飲んでいるところ is when you’re within the means of ingesting, as a result of as you would possibly know, 飲んでいる is the current steady type. Then, 飲んだところ is when you may have simply completed ingesting, as 飲んだ is previous tense. Utilizing ところ, you’re merely reporting the place you’re within the course of: “I am about to do that,” “I am in the course of doing this,” “I simply did this,” and so forth.

Utilizing ところ, you’re merely attempting to state the actual fact of the place you’re on a timeline.

Did you discover how ところ is goal in comparison with ばかり, which is determined by the subjective feeling of recency?

Now, let’s check out one of the crucial widespread examples of how that is used for one thing that simply occurred. For those who’re in your strategy to meet up with a buddy and so they ask you the place you’re, you would possibly say this:

  • 家を出たところ。
  • Simply left the home.
    (Actually: I am on the level the place I simply left the home.)

On this situation, you are both actually standing outdoors your entrance door, you’ve got solely taken a number of steps away from it, or possibly you’ve got made it down the road, however not a lot farther. It is positively solely been a number of brief seconds/minutes because you ventured into the skin world. And in contrast to ばかり, it could’t solely be your feeling that you have simply left the home. It is an undeniable fact! They have safety digital camera footage to show it and all the things.

Now that you simply get the essential gist of ところ, wanna attempt making a full sentence with it? Oh yeah, I do know you do. So, what if somebody desires to know your progress on that report you’ve got been engaged on?

  • 今レポートを書き終わったところです。
  • I simply completed writing the report.
    (Actually: I’m on the level the place I simply completed writing the report.)

That is it — nothing extra to say, simply that the report is completed, and also you finished did it simply now. This sentence sounds so impartial and detached, you possibly can whip it out to your boss and so they would not bat an eyelash. For those who wished to, you may add some emotional shade to this assertion with additional phrases or phrases, and even the tone of your voice. However in contrast to ばかり, ところ is fairly simple by itself.

ばかり vs ところ: What is the Distinction?

Alright, we have met the subjective ばかり and shaken arms with the extra goal ところ. Now, let’s assessment what each is about earlier than we transfer onto the nuances of every.

To reemphasize, ばかり is extra subjective and might be linked to the speaker’s emotions, whereas ところ is extra goal and experiences the place you are at in “time.”

While you wish to make an announcement about how current one thing feels to you, it’s possible you’ll wish to use ばかり. It does not matter when it really was. Its focus is reasonably on how little time appears to have handed since, so it provides a subjective really feel.

Nonetheless, once you merely wish to specify a time limit to explain what you’ve got simply finished, you would possibly wish to use ところ. You are reporting your standing or stage of progress objectively by telling “the place you’re at” in time. This stuff have in all probability actually simply occurred otherwise you’ve simply finished them, and there is not essentially a lot feeling concerned. Not too laborious to understand, huh?

However simply to delve slightly deeper, we’ll present you examples to be able to examine the 2 facet by facet and actually see the variations between them.

Evaluating the Nuances Between ばかり and ところ

For comparability’s sake, let’s begin with conjuring up some conditions the place it could be extra pure to make use of one over the opposite.

Scenario #1: “I Simply Purchased a Automotive”

Hey, bear in mind the instance state of affairs of shopping for a automotive we supplied at the start of this text? It is time to lastly discover out what the distinction is once you use ばかり vs ところ on this situation.

You now know that ばかり is used once you wish to make a barely stronger assertion of the way you really feel like one thing “simply” occurred, whether or not or not it was notably current. You are in all probability making a degree about how you are feeling a couple of sure state of affairs. Individuals usually use ばかり to say that it is inconvenient/nonsensical for [second thing] to occur, as a result of they really feel like [first thing] only recently occurred.

For instance, take a look at this sentence about shopping for a automotive.

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automotive.

By saying ばかり, you are placing emphasis on the finished motion and the way little time you are feeling has handed since then. You simply purchased a brand new automotive! Perhaps somebody’s pressuring you to purchase a brand new automotive, however you are feeling prefer it’s approach too quickly for that because you simply purchased your present automotive a number of months in the past. Otherwise you scratched the automotive you got final 12 months, and it is a disgrace since you’d hoped to maintain it in good situation for for much longer. Or maybe it’s a must to scrap your automotive, though you got it model new three years in the past. Oof!

someone surprised to find their car scratched

See how the precise period of time that is handed does not matter? Type of like how folks say “it appears like solely yesterday!” Tossing ばかり into your sentences can have these layered implications about how you are feeling concerning the state of affairs, so be sure to’re utilizing it deliberately.

Alternatively, you additionally know that ところ is used once you merely wish to state the actual fact of the place you’re on a timeline. In contrast to ばかり, you are not likely placing emphasis in your emotions concerning the state of affairs or subjectively commenting on the recentness of the occasion. As an alternative, you are pinpointing a selected second in time.

As an illustration, you possibly can objectively report this about the place you’re within the car-buying course of:

  • 車を買ったところ。
  • I simply purchased a automotive.

Fairly matter-of-fact! You simply purchased a automotive, and that is the place you’re at. Perhaps you got a automotive actually simply now, and your mother is questioning the place you’re within the progress of your errands. She texts you 「今どこ?」 (“The place are you?”), and also you’re reporting, “I am at a degree the place I simply purchased a automotive.” Do you discover how the tone and implication of the sentence varies relying on which one you employ?

Here is one other slight distinction: As a result of ところ describes a selected level on a timeline, it carries a nuance that following the finished motion, there will probably be one other motion. For instance, saying 車を買ったところ brings up a timeline within the listener’s thoughts – possibly going grocery purchasing would be the “subsequent factor” you do after shopping for the automotive, which you will in all probability inform them within the subsequent breath. However saying 車を買ったばかり does not have fairly the identical impact.

Scenario #2: “I Simply Obtained within the Taxi”

Now let us take a look at a state of affairs the place both one could be okay, however they carry totally different nuances. Think about you are texting somebody you are assembly up with.

  • タクシーに乗ったところ。
  • I simply bought within the taxi.

This sentence is just reporting that you simply simply bought in a taxi. It may very well be a strategy to inform your buddy that you simply’re in your approach and provides an concept of once you’ll arrive. ところ is ideal for protecting somebody up to date about your whereabouts like this.

  • タクシーに乗ったばかり。
  • I simply bought within the taxi.

Whether or not it is best to throw out a ところ or ばかり actually is determined by the context and what tone you are attempting to convey.

Alternatively, should you used ばかり, it appears like somebody (in all probability the individual you are texting) is speeding you to get to the vacation spot. Perhaps they’re texting you issues like まだ着かないの? (“Are you not right here but?”) and also you’re saying you will not be capable of get there as rapidly as anticipated, as a result of it is barely been a minute since you bought within the taxi.

See? Technically each imply “I simply bought within the taxi,” however they carry totally different nuances. Whereas ところ merely experiences your progress, ばかり emphasizes how little time has handed based mostly in your emotions.

Scenario #3: “I Simply Completed My Homework”

Here is our ultimate situation. Your buddy’s calling to see what you are as much as and ask if you wish to seize dinner collectively. You simply completed your homework, so that you’re right down to exit for dinner. Which one do you assume works higher — ところ or ばかり? Relying in your alternative, you will come off in another way. Let’s first check out an instance utilizing ところ.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったとこ。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I am able to exit).
a timeline showing they did homework before the current moment, and they are seeing a movie sometime after the current time

ところ works nicely right here because it simply merely experiences the place you are at on a timeline. “However cannot you then use ところ once you cannot exit for dinner too?” you would possibly ask. Nicely, you are proper. You might use ところ even if you cannot exit for dinner — utilizing it to clarify that you have simply completed your homework and that there is one thing developing subsequent in your agenda, for instance:

  • 今宿題が終わったところで、これから映画に行くんだ。ごめんね。
  • I simply completed my homework, and I’ll a film now. Sorry.

See how you should use ところ to put out your timeline like this? Now, let’s look into how ばかり works on this state of affairs.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったばかり。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I have to take a breather first).

Utilizing ばかり comes off as unnatural on this state of affairs the place you are attempting to say “sure” to the invitation. ばかり makes it sound such as you want a minute to sit back out first or one thing, as a result of the main focus is on how little time you are feeling has handed because you completed your homework. And should you want a while to chill out, you in all probability would not say “sounds good,” proper?

However is it okay to make use of ばかり if the reply was “possibly slightly later,” you marvel? That is a terrific guess, as a result of ばかり may really work in that case. Because the downside with ばかり earlier was that it sounded such as you wanted a minute for no matter purpose, it really works nice in a sentence like:

  • 今宿題が終わったばかりだから、ちょっと後でもいい?
  • I simply completed my homework (and I have to take a breather first), so is it okay if we go slightly later?

ばかり and ところ For Issues That Really Occurred A Whereas In the past

Up till now, we have mentioned so much about how ばかり and ところ are used to explain issues which have simply occurred. You simply dropped your graphing calculator in the bathroom (oops). However time to unleash the entire fact: Each can be utilized for occasions that really occurred some time in the past, too. Like possibly that poor calculator took the final word plunge in tenth grade, and now you are retelling that story. Stick with me! It will make sense in a minute.

For ばかり, this works when the speaker subjectively feels that it hasn’t been a lot time because the factor occurred, however that period of time is weeks, months, years, and so forth. And for ところ, this is applicable once you’re telling a narrative concerning the previous, and also you’re pointing to the place you have been on that timeline within the story — usually utilizing the previous tense ところだった.

Need to study extra? Alright, let’s crack open our good buddy ばかり first.

Take into consideration this instance state of affairs. If a child begged their mother to purchase them a brand new cellphone, the ママ (mama) would possibly retort:

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Although I simply purchased (you a brand new cellphone) half a 12 months in the past?

This sentence carries a powerful emotional tone of “I simply purchased you a brand new cellphone not too long ago, so do not push your luck, squirt!” If this sentence have been an emoji, it will be the incredulous one with the raised eyebrow. 🤨

Whether or not one thing might be thought of “current” is determined by the state of affairs and folks’s emotions about it.

However again to the principle level right here — see how the factor that occurred wasn’t really that current, it simply feels that strategy to the speaker? Mama is expressing her opinion that six months just isn’t that way back to have purchased a brand new cellphone for the little scamp.

Besides, you in all probability would not say one thing like this if the child’s asking for a brand new sponge, proper?

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Although I simply purchased (you a brand new sponge) half a 12 months in the past?

You see how this does not make a lot sense, proper? Hopefully you are shopping for new sponges extra usually than each six months! So though ばかり has fairly a little bit of leeway for subjectivity, there are nonetheless some boundaries and contexts the place it is simply nonsensical to think about an occasion current.

However you understand what presents so much much less wiggle room? ばかり’s counterpart ところ, as a result of solely details matter to ところ. Let’s shuffle again to the automotive dealership and revisit the car-buying instance, lets? Examine these two sentences:

  • 数年前に車を買ったばかりだ
  • I simply purchased a automotive a number of years in the past.
  • ❓数年前に車を買ったところだ
  • I (am presently on the level the place I) simply purchased a automotive a number of years in the past.

See how ところ does not actually make sense on this context? Conceivably, somebody may really feel that a number of years in the past is current, so ばかり can be utilized. However ところ? Sorry buddy, it simply will not fly. Until you are time touring, you didn’t actually “simply now” purchase a automotive “a number of years in the past.” That will be pointing to 2 totally different factors on the timeline on the similar time, which is bending the legal guidelines of spacetime in a approach that the Japanese language does not permit!

Nonetheless, there’s a approach you should use ところ to speak about issues that occurred some time in the past, and it is when telling a narrative concerning the previous — pointing to a previous second of the place you “have been” on the timeline. Attempt sticking a previous tense だった after ところ as an alternative of current tense だ. On this case, possibly somebody invited you to affix them on a visit a number of years in the past, however you did not go. And now, you are explaining what you have been as much as again once you have been invited. You would possibly say…

  • ちょうど車を買ったところだったので、お金がなかった。
  • I had simply purchased a automotive, so I used to be broke.
    (Actually: It was proper on the level after I had simply purchased a automotive, so I used to be broke.)
a timeline from a few years ago when someone was poor and bought a car, to a conversation occuring now

So long as you are describing a selected level previously and never the current, you should use ところ for issues that occurred some time in the past. It isn’t current anymore, but it surely was current in some unspecified time in the future, and that time is what you are shoving your index finger at once you use ところ this fashion.

Obtained it? Good! Let’s transfer on to only one extra grammatical distinction between ばかり and ところ.

ばかり for Modifying Nouns

We have solely talked about once we use ばかり and ところ to explain current happenings, like “I simply purchased a costume.” However what if you wish to discuss “a costume you simply purchased,” modifying a noun?

  • ワンピースを買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a costume.

You in all probability acknowledge this grammatical sample from earlier examples. When the noun comes first like this, both ばかり or ところ is ok, relying on what vibe you are going for. However if you wish to flip the sentence round and begin it by saying “The costume I simply purchased…,” ばかり tends to work higher more often than not.

  • 買ったばかりのワンピース
    ❓ 買ったところのワンピース
  • a costume I simply purchased

As a result of ばかり focuses on how little time has handed since one thing occurred, it is usually used to specific how new one thing feels. Perhaps you are saying “The costume I simply purchased has a gap in it already!” See? It is smart, since how not too long ago you got the costume is related to the emotions you are expressing concerning the state of affairs, which is why ばかり is there.

ばかり is commonly used like this to explain stuff you’ve simply purchased, cleaned, repaired, and so forth.

Alternatively, ところ merely factors to a second in time. You hardly ever see ところ getting used this fashion, as a result of the intention to change nouns is often to attract consideration to how new or recent one thing is to you and make a degree about that.

Individuals additionally usually use ばかり to explain occasions that simply occurred, or somebody who simply took a specific motion, like so:

  • 結婚したばかりのカップル
  • a pair who simply bought married

Once more, that is the place ばかり shines — ところ is never used this fashion. You could be about to specific emotions about this couple, or not less than point out one thing related to how they simply bought married. Perhaps how seeing newlyweds makes you are feeling completely happy, or the way you’re planning to purchase a present for the couple who simply bought married. So bear in mind, should you’re modifying nouns, you are in all probability going to wish to use ばかり.

You Simply Discovered!


For those who may perceive (not less than most of) the 2 sentences above and the totally different vibes they specific, congratulations! You are smarter than you have been “simply” a couple of minutes in the past.

To sum it up, you should use each ばかり and ところ to explain current occasions or actions. However bear in mind, ばかり expresses extra subjectivity and feeling about how not too long ago one thing occurred, whereas ところ offers a extra impartial, goal report of the place you are at on a timeline. And you should use them to speak about previous occasions too, in some instances.

Hopefully after studying this text, you’ve got discovered your self in a barely smarter ところ in life than you have been earlier than!



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