751 - と～た ([cause])
JLPT N3: と～た・～たら～た (when... did)
By following「Vる ＋ と」or「Vたら 」with a phrase in the past tense (～た), we can describe that something occurred because of something else.
The action occurring before と or ～たら is the impetus for the action after と or ～たら.
Our translations of this type of sentence will often include the word "when."
おかあさん が えさ を まくと、 ハト が あつまって きました。
When my mom scattered the food, pigeons gathered around.
Literally: “mother + が + food (for animals) + を + scatter + と, + pigeons + が + gathered around (=collect / gather [and] + came).”
You'll have noticed that these sentences are following the same pattern as a couple of grammar points we've seen before.
The meanings of the sentences differ, but the constructions are pretty much the same:
- [NDL #743] - JLPT N4: と～た ([discovery])
- [NDL #744] - JLPT N3: と～た ([coincidence])
Here's another example:
みぎ の スイッチ を おすと、 おんがく が ながれはじめました。
When I flipped the switch on the right, music started playing.
Literally: “right + の + switch + を + press + と, + music + が + started playing.”
I was tempted to translate the above sentence as "When I pushed the switch..." but I thought that using the verb "push" with "switch," though closer to the Japanese, sounded a bit strange.
The thing is, they do often have light switches that you would "push" in Japan:
You'll also notice that these light switches are horizontal and not vertical, which is often the case.
Like the other uses of と～た that we've seen, it is also possible to say ～たら～た, like so:
チョコ を あげたら、 その こ は なきやみました。
When I gave the child chocolate, she stopped crying.
Literally: “chocolate + を + if/when (I) gave, + that + child + は + stopped crying.”
This has pretty much the same meaning as と～た, except ～たら～た sounds a bit more colloquial.
You'll come across both と～た and ～たら～た. If I had to guess, I'd say that I hear ～たら～た more often.
Here's another example with ～たら～た：
おなか いっぱい たべたら、 ねむく なりました。
After filling up on food, I got tired.
Literally: “stomach + full + if/when (I) ate, + sleepy + became.”
And with that, you've now studied all of the と～た・～たら～た grammar points. Your name be praised, Oh Studious One.