303 - ~ところだ

One of the first words you'll learn in Japanese is:


ところ
place; spot; area

For example, let's say that you go to an izakaya with your Japanese classmates and teachers.

(Note: An izakaya is a Japanese-style pub. For more info, check out this lesson: [NDL #56] - Cool Phrases for Izakaya & Restaurants.)

By the way, if you do study at a Japanese language school in Japan, then you may very well find yourself going out for drinks with all of your classmates and teachers. I remember thinking that this was absurd when it first happened to me, because I grew up in the US, where teachers get in big trouble for drinking with students.

I even saw one of my teachers get dragged out of the building passed-out drunk once. He made a formal apology to everyone the following Monday. I felt pretty bad for him.

Anyways, you're getting distracted. Well, I am. Pay attention, everyone.

Maybe the izakaya you go to is really cool-looking. Maybe it has swords hanging up on the walls like the izakaya in Toby in Tokyo. In that case, you could turn to your teacher and say:

面白いですね。
おもしろい ところ です ね。
This is a cool [fun / interesting] place, isn't it?
Literally: "interesting + place + ですね."
Note: You could also say お店 (おみせ // store; shop) instead of ところ.

This is NOT the ところ we're looking at today.

Instead, we're looking at what I like to call "Grammar ところ."


~ところだ

A grammar book I have says that this means "about to" when it attaches to verbs.

Mmm... yeah... sometimes...

I'm gonna explain it a bit differently though.

Construction: ~ところだ will always attach to the plain form of a verb.

Remember that. It's important.

Specifically, it will attach to a verb in plain present form (e.g. する), plain present continuous form (e.g. している), or plain past form (した).

In each case, it will have a slightly different meaning.

Memorize these:

するところだ
just about to do

しているところだ
just now doing

したところだ
just now did

Note 1: After ところ, だ will be です in more formal sentences.

Note 2: If we are speaking about something in the past (e.g. "had just done" or "had just been doing"), then だ and です will be だった and でした, respectively (this sounds complicated when you explain it, but it will feel natural over time).

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

If so, fret not. We have examples...


just about to do


息子は間もなく2才になるところです
むすこ は まもなく にさい に なる ところ です。
My son is just about to turn two.
Literally: "son + は + soon + 2 [age] + に + become + ところです."


駅に着いたのは7時だった。ちょうど電車が出発するところだった
えき に ついた の は しちじ だった。 ちょうど でんしゃ が しゅっぱつ する ところ だった。
I arrived at the station at seven. My train was just about to leave.
Literally: "station + に + arrived + のは + seven o'clock + was. + just / exactly + train + が + departure + do + ところだった."


just now doing


結婚式は2時に始まります。今、会場の用意をしているところです
けっこんしき は にじ に はじまります。 いま、 かいじょう の ようい を している ところ です。
The wedding starts at two. Right now, they're getting the ceremony (lit. meeting) hall ready.
Literally: "wedding ceremony + は + two o'clock + に + will start. + now, + meeting place + を + preparation + を + are doing + ところです."


A:
ダニエルさん、クッキーを食べますか。
ダニエルさん、 クッキー を たべますか。
Daniel-san, would you like a cookie?
Literally: "Daniel-san, + cookie + を + eat + か."

B:
今、掃除をしているところなので、後で食べます。
いま、そうじ を している ところ なので、 あと で たべます。
I'm in the middle of cleaning right now, so I'll have one later.
Literally: "now, + cleaning + を + am doing + ところ + なので (="because), + later (で) + will eat."


just now did


A:
もう宿題はしましたか。
もう しゅくだい は しました か。
Did you do your homework yet?
Literally: "already + homework + は + did + か."

B:
ええ、さっき終わったところです
ええ、 さっき おわった ところ です。
Yeah, I just finished it a little while ago.
Literally: "Yeah, + a little while ago + finished + ところです."


(Phone Call)
A:
美雪さん、飲みに行きましょう。
みゆきさん、 のみ に いきましょう。
Miyuki-san, let's go drinking together.
Literally: "Miyuki-san, + drinking + に + let's go."

B:
ちょうどよかった。今仕事が終わったところなの
ちょうど よかった。 いま しごと が おわった ところ なの。
Perfect timing. I just finished work.
Literally: "just / exactly + was good. + now + work + が + finished + ところ + なの."
Note: This ending なの is feminine language. A male speaker would say なんだ instead.


Use it or lose it, babe.

I learned this grammar point fairly early in my studies, but I didn't find myself using it for at least a couple of years after I started studying Japanese.

Why?!

Well, I think it's because I never really took the time to focus on the verb forms that ~ところ comes after. So maybe read through those example sentences several times before you go archiving this lesson.


Confession:

I said that this is "Grammar ところ," and in my mind it really is. In fact, though, there are multiple "Grammar ところ."

In particular, we'll see ところ used in all kinds of fun grammar constructions for N2 and N1 lessons.

Oh, and there are still a few things that I want to teach about the N3 (technically this is both N4 and N3 grammar) ところ, but I'll save it for the next N3 lesson.




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