JLPT N3 Grammar – うちに (How to say “During…” in Japanese)

Posted by on February 15, 2021 – Japanese Study
how to say during in Japanese uchi ni

We have yet another JLPT grammar point companion blog!  Today we are looking at Yuka-sensei’s video about the JLPT N3 grammar point: うちに (uchi ni) meaning, “during” or “while”.

Not to be confused with ながら, うちに is a different expression.  It is used to refer to “while” or “during” a timespan, as opposed to “while” doing another action.

First watch the video on Youtube, then read this companion blog!

How to Use JLPT Grammar Point: うちに in Japanese

First of all, うちに (uchi ni) is made up of うち, a noun meaning “inside”, and the grammar particle に.

This is not to be confused, however, with うち when referring to one’s home in Japanese.  For example: うちに帰ります – meaning: “I will return home.”  This is a different use.

As stated, in the video above, uchi ni is used to refer to “while” or “during”.  “Uchi ni” means “within” a timespan.

The form is:

Short form verb/い adjective + うちに

Noun + の + うちに

なadjective + な + うちに

Let’s break down some of Yuka-sensei’s examples!

Example 1:

このピザ温かいうちに食べてください。
Kono piza atatakai uchi ni tabete kudasai.
Please eat this pizza while it is hot.

In this example, the speaker is requesting to eat the pizza during the timespan in which it is still hot.  Notice the short form adjective 温かい followed by うちに – “While it is hot.”

Later on, the pizza would get cold and lose its freshness.  So it’s best to eat it while it is still warm!

Let’s look at another example.

Example 2:

雨が降らないうちに帰りたいです。
Ame ga furanai uchi ni kaeritai desu.
I want to go home before it starts raining.

Because it will be more inconvenient to go home in the rain later on, Yuka-sensei says she wants to go home while it is still not raining.

This example utilizes a negative verb form – 降らない, to not rain.  But as you can see, the principle stays the same for short form + uchi ni.

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