591 - ~きり

JLPT N2: ~きり (haven't... since...)

Not too long ago, we had this lesson: [NDL #574] - JLPT N4: ~ていない.

In that lesson, we looked at how ~ていない translates into the negative present perfect in English (e.g. "haven't done") in addition to sometimes translating into the negative present progressive (e.g. "am not doing").

For example, we saw this sentence:


家族にはまだ彼氏を紹介していません
かぞく に は まだ かれし を しょうかい していません。
I haven’t introduced my boyfriend to my family yet.
Literally: “family + には + not yet + boyfriend + を + introduction + haven’t done.”

That sentence is for saying "haven't done yet" (=まだ...~ていない), but we can also use ~ていない when saying "haven't done since."

Generally speaking, we make sentences like that by using (~て)から...てない.

For example, we could say either of these:


朝の6時から、何も食べていないのでお腹が減りました。
あさ の ろくじ から、 なにも たべていない ので おなか が へりました。
I’m hungry because I haven't eaten anything since six o’clock this morning.
Literally: “morning + の + six o’clock + から + nothing + am not eating + ので (=because) + (I’m) hungry (=stomach + が + diminished).”

朝の6時に小さいサンドイッチを食べから、何も食べていないのでお腹が減りました。
あさ の ろくじ に ちいさい サンドイッチ を たべて から、 なにも たべていない ので おなか が へりました。
I’m hungry because I haven’t eaten anything since the little sandwich I had at six o’clock this morning.
Literally: “morning + の + six o’clock + に + small + sandwich + を + eat (and) + から, + nothing + am not eating + ので (=because) + (I’m) hungry (=stomach + が + diminished).”

There is a different way that we can say that last sentence, though. We can replace the ~てから with ~たきり in order to emphasize that a long time as passed since we last did something:


朝の6時に小さいサンドイッチを食べたきり、何も食べていないのでお腹が減りました。
あさ の ろくじ に ちいさい サンドイッチ を たべたきり、 なにも たべていない ので おなか が へりました。
I’m hungry because I haven’t eaten anything since the little sandwich I had at six o’clock this morning.
Literally: “morning + の + six o’clock + に + small + sandwich + を + ate + きり, + nothing + am not eating + ので (=because) + (I’m) hungry (=stomach + が + diminished).”

I didn't change the English translation, but do note that the ~たきり version puts more focus on the fact that the last time that the speaker ate was at six in the morning, which is perceived to be a long time ago.

In spoken language, it is common to put a little っ in front of きり

朝の6時に小さいサンドイッチを食べたきり、何も食べていないのでお腹が減りました。
あさ の ろくじ に ちいさい サンドイッチ を たべたっきり、 なにも たべていない ので おなか が へりました。
I’m hungry because I haven’t eaten anything since the little sandwich I had at six o’clock this morning.
Literally: “morning + の + six o’clock + に + small + sandwich + を + ate + っきり, + nothing + am not eating + ので (=because) + (I’m) hungry (=stomach + が + diminished).”


👷 👷 👷

As you can see in the above example, this is how we form these sentences:

V た()きり
haven't... since VERB-ing

When I first learned this grammar point, I found it helpful to imagine that this きり was 切り (きり) in the sense of "cutting off." Since a certain cutoff point, an action has not been done for a long time.


Note that the phrase following ~きり does not necessarily need to be conjugated into the ~ていない form:


あの高かったスーツは1回着たきり、タンスの肥やしとなってしまった。
あの たかかった スーツ は いっかい きたきり、 タンス の こやし と なって しまった。
I wore that expensive suit one time, and it’s been sitting in my closet ever since.
Literally: “that + was expensive + suit + は + one time + wore + きり, + items (esp. clothing) bought but never used (=cabinet/drawers + の + fertilizer) + と + (unfortunately) became.”


By the way, isn't タンスの肥やし (タンスのこやし) a cool phrase for referring to clothes that get bought but never worn?

Yeah, I bought this expensive jacket a couple of years ago, but it's been dresser fertilizer ever since.


Although we don't necessarily need to have ~ていない in the phrase after ~きり, in most cases ~きり is followed by a phrase with a negative verb conjugation.

For example:


妹は「ちょっとコンビニに行ってくる」と言って出かけたきり、いつまでたっても戻ってこない。
いもうと は 「ちょっと コンビニ に いって くる」 と いって でかけたきり、 いつまで たっても もどって こない。
My sister said, “I’m gonna go to the convenience store real quick,” and she still hasn’t come back after all this time.
Literally: “younger sister + は + ‘a little bit + convenience store + に + go (and) + come’ + と + say (and) + went out + きり, + no matter how much time passes + return (and) + doesn’t come.”


If you want to change things up, you can put です right after ~きり and then add a completely separate sentence after it:


遊園地なんて、小学生の時に行ったきりです。もう10年以上も行っていません。
ゆうえんち なんて、 しょうがくせい の とき に いったっきり です。 もう じゅうねん いじょう も いっていません。
I haven’t been to an amusement park since the time I went in elementary school. It’s already been over ten years since I went to one.
Literally: “amusement park + (things) like, + elementary school student + の + time + に + went + っきり + です. + already + ten years + も + am not going.”


Well, I think it's about time to "cut off" this lesson. ^^

See you in the next one...

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