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HomeCultureばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

ばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

How do you describe what you simply did in Japanese? Perhaps you simply brushed your enamel, otherwise you simply purchased a automobile. How will you describe these previous actions which have simply occurred?

Nicely, you have acquired two nice choices: ばかり and ところ. Say you wish to inform somebody that you just simply purchased a automobile in Japanese. To easily say you “purchased a automobile,” it is 車を買った. Nonetheless, if you wish to say it simply occurred, you need to use both ばかり or ところ and say:

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

Each are translated as “I simply purchased a automobile” on this case. So do they imply the identical factor? The reply isn’t any, and that is why we’re writing this text! Past what you see within the English translation, there are variations in nuance, and one works higher than the opposite relying on the state of affairs or what you are actually making an attempt to say. Which one would you utilize, for instance, should you’re conserving somebody up to date in your whereabouts and also you wish to allow them to know you have simply completed the errand on the automobile dealership? How about if somebody scratches your new automobile and also you wish to scream at them that it is a automobile you solely simply purchased?

Should you’re curious, preserve studying! On this article, we’ll cordially introduce you to every one, clarify the persona variations between ばかり and ところ, and aid you determine which one to whip out relying on the state of affairs. You simply plopped your self all the way down to learn this text anyway, so may as effectively preserve going!

Earlier than going deeper on the topic, we additionally wish to make clear that this text will focus completely on utilizing ばかり and ところ after they comply with verbs of their previous tense to speak about latest happenings, as in 〜たばかり or 〜たところ.

You will have additionally heard ばっか or ばっかし used as a substitute of ばかり, or とこ as a substitute ところ. These are simply informal variations of ばかり and ところ. Examples you see on this article primarily use ばかり and ところ, however know that they are all interchangeable.

Stipulations: This text assumes you already know hiragana and katakana. Should you want a refresher, check out our Final Hiragana Information and Final Katakana Information. To get probably the most out of this text, be sure to’re already accustomed to tense usually, particularly previous tense kinds. Bonus factors should you’re already a bit of accustomed to ところ and ばかり, however don’t fret if you do not know an excessive amount of but. That is what you are right here for!

What Are ばかり and ところ?

First issues first: what’s ばかり and what’s ところ? Earlier than leaping into the variations between them, let’s first get to know extra about what every does, and what every means.


ばかり originates from the Japanese phrases for measurement or quantity — 計り, 測り, and 量り, all pronounced はかり — and has a number of completely different meanings at the moment. A kind of meanings is “simply” or “solely.”

In case you have by no means seen how ばかり means “simply” or “solely,” this is a fast instance. If you wish to describe that each one somebody does is sleep, you possibly can say that they 寝るばかり (solely sleeping) and never doing the rest. In the identical method, you possibly can complain that your child’s doing ゲームばかり (solely video games) on a regular basis. And when it will get used with previous tense verbs (which this text is all about), it principally means “this factor occurred, and solely simply a bit of time has handed since then.”

When you consider it, “solely” or “simply” is subjective. You may consider a glass of water as half empty — there’s solely this a lot water — or as half full. It simply is dependent upon your standpoint.

When ばかり is used to explain a previous occasion, it expresses how one thing feels prefer it occurred just lately to you, the speaker, most likely with the intention to make some form of level. In that sense, ばかり is fairly subjective in that the precise period of time that has handed does not actually matter. You possibly can even use it to explain one thing you probably did some time in the past — so long as it feels latest to you in that context.

a person saying "It feels like it just happened."

This is an instance. You bought your nails performed a number of days in the past, and somebody asks you to dig a gap for his or her pet alligator’s funeral. You may indignantly exclaim:

  • でもネイルしに行ったばっかりだよ!
  • However I simply acquired my nails performed!

Technically it is not one thing you simply did if it occurred a number of days in the past. Nonetheless, you need to use ばかり right here as a result of it nonetheless feels latest to you, particularly contemplating this case the place somebody’s requested you to assist them dig a gap within the floor. With these contemporary nails? No means!


Truly, you could know what ところ means already. It is the identical as 所, a Japanese phrase for “place” or “location.” An necessary factor to bear in mind right here is that ところ does not solely imply a “place” within the bodily sense — it may possibly additionally imply a “place” in time.

When ところ is used to say what you simply did, it is such as you’re saying, “This factor simply occurred, and that is the place I am at now.” For instance, should you simply completed consuming some water, you can say this:

  • 飲んだところです。
  • I simply completed consuming.

By saying ところ on this sentence, you are merely pointing to the second shortly after gulping down water and saying, “This is the place I am at.”

You possibly can really use different verb tenses with ところ too. It simply is dependent upon which stage of the exercise you are at, and which one you wish to level to!

someone just before, during, and after drinking a glass of water

飲むところ is if you find yourself about to begin consuming. 飲む is within the so-called current tense, however it may be used for a future motion as effectively. 飲んでいるところ is if you find yourself within the means of consuming, as a result of as you may know, 飲んでいる is the current steady kind. Then, 飲んだところ is when you might have simply completed consuming, as 飲んだ is previous tense. Utilizing ところ, you’re merely reporting the place you’re within the course of: “I am about to do that,” “I am in the course of doing this,” “I simply did this,” and so on.

Utilizing ところ, you’re merely making an attempt to state the very fact of the place you’re on a timeline.

Did you discover how ところ is goal in comparison with ばかり, which is dependent upon the subjective feeling of recency?

Now, let’s check out one of the widespread examples of how that is used for one thing that simply occurred. Should you’re in your strategy to meet up with a pal and so they ask you the place you’re, you may say this:

  • 家を出たところ。
  • Simply left the home.
    (Actually: I am on the level the place I simply left the home.)

On this state of affairs, you are both actually standing exterior your entrance door, you have solely taken a number of steps away from it, or possibly you have made it down the road, however not a lot farther. It is undoubtedly solely been a number of brief seconds/minutes because you ventured into the skin world. And in contrast to ばかり, it may possibly’t solely be your feeling that you’ve got simply left the home. It is an proven fact! They have safety digicam footage to show it and all the pieces.

Now that you just get the essential gist of ところ, wanna strive making a full sentence with it? Oh yeah, I do know you do. So, what if somebody needs to know your progress on that report you have been engaged on?

  • 今レポートを書き終わったところです。
  • I simply completed writing the report.
    (Actually: I’m on the level the place I simply completed writing the report.)

That is it — nothing extra to say, simply that the report is finished, and also you performed did it simply now. This sentence sounds so impartial and detached, you can whip it out to your boss and so they would not bat an eyelash. Should you wished to, you may add some emotional colour to this assertion with additional phrases or phrases, and even the tone of your voice. However not like ばかり, ところ is fairly simple by itself.

ばかり vs ところ: What is the Distinction?

Alright, we have met the subjective ばかり and shaken palms with the extra goal ところ. Now, let’s evaluation what every one is about earlier than we transfer onto the nuances of every.

To reemphasize, ばかり is extra subjective and could be linked to the speaker’s emotions, whereas ところ is extra goal and studies the place you are at in “time.”

Whenever you wish to make a press release about how latest one thing feels to you, you could wish to use ばかり. It does not matter when it really was. Its focus is reasonably on how little time appears to have handed since, so it provides a subjective really feel.

Nonetheless, once you merely wish to specify a cut-off date to explain what you have simply performed, you may wish to use ところ. You are reporting your standing or stage of progress objectively by telling “the place you’re at” in time. This stuff have most likely actually simply occurred otherwise you’ve simply performed them, and there is not essentially a lot feeling concerned. Not too exhausting to understand, huh?

However simply to delve a bit of deeper, we’ll present you examples to be able to evaluate the 2 aspect by aspect and actually see the variations between them.

Evaluating the Nuances Between ばかり and ところ

For comparability’s sake, let’s begin with conjuring up some conditions the place it is perhaps extra pure to make use of one over the opposite.

Scenario #1: “I Simply Purchased a Automobile”

Hey, bear in mind the instance state of affairs of shopping for a automobile we supplied at the start of this text? It is time to lastly discover out what the distinction is once you use ばかり vs ところ on this state of affairs.

You now know that ばかり is used once you wish to make a barely stronger assertion of the way you really feel like one thing “simply” occurred, whether or not or not it was significantly latest. You are most likely making a degree about how you are feeling a few sure state of affairs. Folks typically use ばかり to say that it is inconvenient/nonsensical for [second thing] to occur, as a result of they really feel like [first thing] only in the near past occurred.

For instance, take a look at this sentence about shopping for a automobile.

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

By saying ばかり, you are placing emphasis on the finished motion and the way little time you are feeling has handed since then. You simply purchased a brand new automobile! Perhaps somebody’s pressuring you to purchase a brand new automobile, however you are feeling prefer it’s means too quickly for that because you simply purchased your present automobile a number of months in the past. Otherwise you scratched the automobile you obtain final yr, and it is a disgrace since you’d hoped to maintain it in good situation for for much longer. Or maybe it’s important to scrap your automobile, regardless that you obtain it model new three years in the past. Oof!

someone surprised to find their car scratched

See how the precise period of time that is handed does not matter? Form of like how folks say “it appears like solely yesterday!” Tossing ばかり into your sentences can have these layered implications about how you are feeling in regards to the state of affairs, so be sure to’re utilizing it deliberately.

Alternatively, you additionally know that ところ is used once you merely wish to state the very fact of the place you’re on a timeline. Not like ばかり, you are not likely placing emphasis in your emotions in regards to the state of affairs or subjectively commenting on the recentness of the occasion. As an alternative, you are pinpointing a particular second in time.

For example, you can objectively report this about the place you’re within the car-buying course of:

  • 車を買ったところ。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

Fairly matter-of-fact! You simply purchased a automobile, and that is the place you’re at. Perhaps you obtain a automobile actually simply now, and your mother is questioning the place you’re within the progress of your errands. She texts you 「今どこ?」 (“The place are you?”), and also you’re reporting, “I am at a degree the place I simply purchased a automobile.” Do you discover how the tone and implication of the sentence varies relying on which one you utilize?

This is one other slight distinction: As a result of ところ describes a particular level on a timeline, it carries a nuance that following the finished motion, there will likely be one other motion. For instance, saying 車を買ったところ brings up a timeline within the listener’s thoughts – possibly going grocery procuring would be the “subsequent factor” you do after shopping for the automobile, which you may most likely inform them within the subsequent breath. However saying 車を買ったばかり does not have fairly the identical impact.

Scenario #2: “I Simply Obtained within the Taxi”

Now let us take a look at a state of affairs the place both one can be okay, however they carry completely different nuances. Think about you are texting somebody you are assembly up with.

  • タクシーに乗ったところ。
  • I simply acquired within the taxi.

This sentence is just reporting that you just simply acquired in a taxi. It could possibly be a strategy to inform your pal that you just’re in your means and provides an concept of once you’ll arrive. ところ is ideal for conserving somebody up to date about your whereabouts like this.

  • タクシーに乗ったばかり。
  • I simply acquired within the taxi.

Whether or not it is best to throw out a ところ or ばかり actually is dependent upon the context and what tone you are making an attempt to convey.

Alternatively, should you used ばかり, it seems like somebody (most likely the particular person you are texting) is speeding you to get to the vacation spot. Perhaps they’re texting you issues like まだ着かないの? (“Are you not right here but?”) and also you’re saying you will not be capable of get there as rapidly as anticipated, as a result of it is barely been a minute since you bought within the taxi.

See? Technically each imply “I simply acquired within the taxi,” however they carry completely different nuances. Whereas ところ merely studies your progress, ばかり emphasizes how little time has handed primarily based in your emotions.

Scenario #3: “I Simply Completed My Homework”

This is our last state of affairs. Your pal’s calling to see what you are as much as and ask if you wish to seize dinner collectively. You simply completed your homework, so that you’re all the way down to exit for dinner. Which one do you suppose works higher — ところ or ばかり? Relying in your selection, you may come off otherwise. Let’s first check out an instance utilizing ところ.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったとこ。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I am able to exit).
a timeline showing they did homework before the current moment, and they are seeing a movie sometime after the current time

ところ works effectively right here because it simply merely studies the place you are at on a timeline. “However cannot you then use ところ once you cannot exit for dinner too?” you may ask. Nicely, you are proper. You can use ところ even if you cannot exit for dinner — utilizing it to clarify that you’ve got simply completed your homework and that there is one thing arising subsequent in your agenda, for instance:

  • 今宿題が終わったところで、これから映画に行くんだ。ごめんね。
  • I simply completed my homework, and I’ll a film now. Sorry.

See how you need to use ところ to put out your timeline like this? Now, let’s look into how ばかり works on this state of affairs.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったばかり。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I must take a breather first).

Utilizing ばかり comes off as unnatural on this state of affairs the place you are making an attempt to say “sure” to the invitation. ばかり makes it sound such as you want a minute to sit back out first or one thing, as a result of the main target is on how little time you are feeling has handed because you completed your homework. And should you want a while to loosen up, you most likely would not say “sounds good,” proper?

However is it okay to make use of ばかり if the reply was “possibly a bit of later,” you surprise? That is an awesome guess, as a result of ばかり may really work in that case. Because the drawback with ばかり earlier was that it sounded such as you wanted a minute for no matter purpose, it really works nice in a sentence like:

  • 今宿題が終わったばかりだから、ちょっと後でもいい?
  • I simply completed my homework (and I must take a breather first), so is it okay if we go a bit of later?

ばかり and ところ For Issues That Truly Occurred A Whereas In the past

Up till now, we have mentioned lots about how ばかり and ところ are used to explain issues which have simply occurred. You simply dropped your graphing calculator in the bathroom (oops). However time to unleash the entire reality: Each can be utilized for occasions that truly occurred some time in the past, too. Like possibly that poor calculator took the last word plunge in tenth grade, and now you are retelling that story. Stick with me! It will make sense in a minute.

For ばかり, this works when the speaker subjectively feels that it hasn’t been a lot time because the factor occurred, however that period of time is weeks, months, years, and so on. And for ところ, this is applicable once you’re telling a narrative in regards to the previous, and also you’re pointing to the place you had been on that timeline within the story — typically utilizing the previous tense ところだった.

Need to study extra? Alright, let’s crack open our good pal ばかり first.

Take into consideration this instance state of affairs. If a child begged their mother to purchase them a brand new telephone, the ママ (mama) may retort:

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Despite the fact that I simply purchased (you a brand new telephone) half a yr in the past?

This sentence carries a powerful emotional tone of “I simply purchased you a brand new telephone just lately, so do not push your luck, squirt!” If this sentence had been an emoji, it might be the incredulous one with the raised eyebrow. 🤨

Whether or not one thing could be thought of “latest” is dependent upon the state of affairs and folks’s emotions about it.

However again to the primary level right here — see how the factor that occurred wasn’t really that latest, it simply feels that strategy to the speaker? Mama is expressing her opinion that six months shouldn’t be that way back to have purchased a brand new telephone for the little scamp.

Besides, you most likely would not say one thing like this if the child’s asking for a brand new sponge, proper?

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Despite the fact that I simply purchased (you a brand new sponge) half a yr in the past?

You see how this does not make a lot sense, proper? Hopefully you are shopping for new sponges extra typically than each six months! So regardless that ばかり has fairly a little bit of leeway for subjectivity, there are nonetheless some boundaries and contexts the place it is simply nonsensical to think about an occasion latest.

However you recognize what gives lots much less wiggle room? ばかり’s counterpart ところ, as a result of solely info matter to ところ. Let’s shuffle again to the automobile dealership and revisit the car-buying instance, we could? Evaluate these two sentences:

  • 数年前に車を買ったばかりだ
  • I simply purchased a automobile a number of years in the past.
  • ❓数年前に車を買ったところだ
  • I (am presently on the level the place I) simply purchased a automobile a number of years in the past.

See how ところ does not actually make sense on this context? Conceivably, somebody may really feel that a number of years in the past is latest, so ばかり can be utilized. However ところ? Sorry buddy, it simply will not fly. Except you are time touring, you didn’t actually “simply now” purchase a automobile “a number of years in the past.” That may be pointing to 2 completely different factors on the timeline on the identical time, which is bending the legal guidelines of spacetime in a means that the Japanese language does not enable!

Nonetheless, there’s a means you need to use ところ to speak about issues that occurred some time in the past, and it is when telling a narrative in regards to the previous — pointing to a previous second of the place you “had been” on the timeline. Attempt sticking a previous tense だった after ところ as a substitute of current tense だ. On this case, possibly somebody invited you to affix them on a visit a number of years in the past, however you did not go. And now, you are explaining what you had been as much as again once you had been invited. You may say…

  • ちょうど車を買ったところだったので、お金がなかった。
  • I had simply purchased a automobile, so I used to be broke.
    (Actually: It was proper on the level once I had simply purchased a automobile, so I used to be broke.)
a timeline from a few years ago when someone was poor and bought a car, to a conversation occuring now

So long as you are describing a particular level prior to now and never the current, you need to use ところ for issues that occurred some time in the past. It is not latest anymore, however it was latest in some unspecified time in the future, and that time is what you are shoving your index finger at once you use ところ this manner.

Obtained it? Good! Let’s transfer on to only one extra grammatical distinction between ばかり and ところ.

ばかり for Modifying Nouns

We have solely talked about once we use ばかり and ところ to explain latest happenings, like “I simply purchased a gown.” However what if you wish to discuss “a gown you simply purchased,” modifying a noun?

  • ワンピースを買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a gown.

You most likely acknowledge this grammatical sample from earlier examples. When the noun comes first like this, both ばかり or ところ is ok, relying on what vibe you are going for. However if you wish to flip the sentence round and begin it by saying “The gown I simply purchased…,” ばかり tends to work higher more often than not.

  • 買ったばかりのワンピース
    ❓ 買ったところのワンピース
  • a gown I simply purchased

As a result of ばかり focuses on how little time has handed since one thing occurred, it is typically used to specific how new one thing feels. Perhaps you are saying “The gown I simply purchased has a gap in it already!” See? It is sensible, since how just lately you obtain the gown is related to the sentiments you are expressing in regards to the state of affairs, which is why ばかり is there.

ばかり is commonly used like this to explain belongings you’ve simply purchased, cleaned, repaired, and so on.

Alternatively, ところ merely factors to a second in time. You not often see ところ getting used this manner, as a result of the intention to change nouns is often to attract consideration to how new or contemporary one thing is to you and make a degree about that.

Folks additionally typically use ばかり to explain occasions that simply occurred, or somebody who simply took a selected motion, like so:

  • 結婚したばかりのカップル
  • a pair who simply acquired married

Once more, that is the place ばかり shines — ところ isn’t used this manner. You is perhaps about to specific emotions about this couple, or a minimum of point out one thing related to how they simply acquired married. Perhaps how seeing newlyweds makes you are feeling glad, or the way you’re planning to purchase a present for the couple who simply acquired married. So bear in mind, should you’re modifying nouns, you are most likely going to wish to use ばかり.

You Simply Discovered!


Should you may perceive (a minimum of most of) the 2 sentences above and the completely different vibes they specific, congratulations! You are smarter than you had been “simply” a couple of minutes in the past.

To sum it up, you need to use each ばかり and ところ to explain latest occasions or actions. However bear in mind, ばかり expresses extra subjectivity and feeling about how just lately one thing occurred, whereas ところ provides a extra impartial, goal report of the place you are at on a timeline. And you need to use them to speak about previous occasions too, in some circumstances.

Hopefully after studying this text, you have discovered your self in a barely smarter ところ in life than you had been earlier than!



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