830 - と (as soon as; when)

JLPT N3: と (as soon as; when)

The particle is used in a lot of grammatical constructions. We've seen quite a few of these usages in our N4 lessons:

[NDL #637] - JLPT N4: と ([direct quotation])
- [NDL #638] - JLPT N4: と ([indirect quotation])
- [NDL #742] - JLPT N4: と ([conditional] when; once)
- [NDL #743] - JLPT N4: と~た ([discovery])
- [NDL #744] - JLPT N3: と~た ([coincidence])

In this N3 lesson, we'll be looking at how is used when expressing that some action is performed right after another action.

In our English translations of sentences containing this usage of , we'll often see phrases like "as soon as," "right away," etc.

An example:

はは は でんわ を きる と、 あわてて でていきました。
As soon as my mom got off the phone, she rushed out the door.
Literally: “mother + は + hung up the phone (=phone + を + cut) + と, + become flustered / rushed (and) + exit (and) + went.”


👷 Construction 👷

Nothing too fancy here:

V る


Another example:

かれ は め を さます と、 すぐ に ちょうしょく を つくりはじめました。
He started making breakfast right after he woke up.
Literally: “he + は + wake up (=eye + を + awaken) + と, + immediately + に + breakfast + を + started to make.”

In the pattern "Clause 1 + + Clause 2," the person performing the actions is the same in both clauses.

In other words, the subject doesn't change. Here we have "he wakes" and "he starts making." The same person is performing two different actions in succession.

Similarly, in our first example, "my mom" was the same person "getting off the phone" and "rushing out the door."


💀 Quiz Time 💀

Question: What is different about the following example sentence, compared to the two that we saw above?

ももか さん は ひこうき を おりる と、 まっさき に タバコ を すい に いく。
The second Momoka-san gets off the plane, she goes straight to have a smoke.
Literally: “Momoka-san + は + airplane + を + get off / disembark + と, + first and foremost / before anything else + に + cigarettes / tobacco + を + goes to smoke (=smoking + に + goes).”

💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

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💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

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💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

💀💀 Thinking Space 💀💀

Answer: The second half of the sentence is in present tense!

In our first two examples, the second half of the sentences was in past tense, and in each case we were describing two events that happened in succession.

When the second half of the sentence is in present tense, however, the nuance is that we are talking about a habitual series of actions.

In short, Momoka-san goes straight to have a smoke whenever she gets off a plane.

We'll see a habitual series of actions in our last example, too.


Last one:

ちち は しごと から かえって くる と、 すぐ おふろ に はいります。
My dad gets in the bath right after he gets home from work.
Literally: “father + は + work / job + from + return home (and) + come + と, + immediately + bath + に + enter.”

I think this goes without saying, but, when using in the way we're seeing it in this lesson, the second half of sentence will never have a request, volitional action, etc.

Instead, we describes things that happen(ed).