791 -(か)とおもうと

JLPT N2:(か)と思うと《no sooner than; just when; as soon as

(か)と思うと is used when expressing that Event B happens right after Event A.

It is typically used for contrast, emphasizing that Event B happened sooner than one would expect, is undesirable, etc. 

An example:

やっと台風が過ぎたかと思うと、今度は大雪が降ってきた。
やっと たいふう が すぎた かとおもうと、 こんど は おおゆき が ふって きた。
Just when the typhoon had finally passed, it started snowing a bunch.
Literally: “finally / at last + typhoon + が + passed + no sooner than, + this time + は + heavy snow + が + fall (and) + came.”


Event A = the typhoon finally passed
Event B = it started snowing heavily
↓ ↓
the typhoon finally passed かと思うと it started snowing heavily
↓ ↓
Just when the typhoon had finally passed, it started snowing a bunch.

(I thought that "a bunch" sounded more natural than "heavily" here. Maybe we even could have put something like, "we got heavy [a bunch of] snow.")


It should be noted that both Event A and Event B are things that actually happen(ed).

Accordingly, the phrase after(か)と思うと will not be a command, request, volitional statement, etc.

You also can't use(か)と思うと when Event B is something that you (=the speaker) did [do].

Since the following sentence is volitional (and Event B is something the speaker will do) it doesn't make sense:

✕ シャワーを浴びたと思うと、すぐ寝よう。
✕ シャワー を あびた とおもうと、 すぐ ねよう。
No sooner did I take a shower than I think I’ll go to sleep.
✕ Literally: “shower + を + bathed / basked in + no sooner than, + right away + let’s sleep.”



↑ Note that the was removed from かと思うと. As you'll see in a couple of our later examples, including is optional.

 

👷 Construction 👷

Just put a verb in plain past tense before(か)と思うと, and you'll be good to go:

V た(か)と思うと


I love it when the construction is simple.

 

We don't necessarily have to be talking about things that happened in the past, by the way:

うちの子はアルバイトを始めたかと思うと、いつもすぐやめてしまう。
うち の こ は アルバイト を はじめた かとおもうと、 いつも すぐ やめてしまう。
As soon as my daughter [son] gets a job, she [he] always ends up quitting right away.
Literally: “we / our family + の + child + は + (non-career / casual) job + を + started + no sooner than, + always + right away + ends up quitting.”

 

The verb 思う can be used in conditional forms other than 思うと, too.

Specifically, you're likely to come across(か)と思ったら

妻は出かけたと思ったら、10分もしないうちに帰ってきた。
つま は でかけた とおもったら、 じゅっぷん も しない うち に かえって きた。
My wife went out, but then not ten minutes later she was back home.
Literally: “wife + は + went out + no sooner than, + ten minutes + も + not do + within (a period of time) + return home (and) + came.”

 

Last example, yo:

彼は明子さんと別れたかと思ったら、もう春菜さんと付き合っている。
かれ は あきこさん と わかれた かとおもったら、 もう はるなさん と つきあっている。
No sooner had he broken up with Akiko-san than he was already dating Haruna-san.
Literally: “he + は + Akiko-san + と + broke up + no sooner than, + already + Haruna-san + と + is going out with / is hanging out with.”

 

Done!

We'll see a few other grammar points that are very similar to(か)と思うと in some future lessons, too.

How very exciting. *_*
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