Home Culture ばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

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 tooth, otherwise you simply purchased a automotive. How are you going to describe these previous actions which have simply occurred?

Nicely, you’ve got received two nice choices: ばかり and ところ. Say you need to inform somebody that you simply simply purchased a automotive in Japanese. To easily say you “purchased a automotive,” 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 automotive.

Each are translated as “I simply purchased a automotive” 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, for those who’re preserving somebody up to date in your whereabouts and also you need to allow them to know you’ve got simply completed the errand on the automotive dealership? How about if somebody scratches your new automotive and also you need to scream at them that it is a automotive you solely simply purchased?

In the event you’re curious, hold studying! On this article, we’ll cordially introduce you to every one, clarify the character variations between ばかり and ところ, and show you how to determine which one to whip out relying on the state of affairs. You simply plopped your self right down to learn this text anyway, so may as properly hold going!

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

You’ll have additionally heard ばっか or ばっかし used as an alternative of ばかり, or とこ as an alternative 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. In the event 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 you’re already conversant in tense normally, particularly previous tense types. Bonus factors for those who’re already slightly conversant in ところ and ばかり, however don’t be concerned 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 just a few completely different meanings right now. A type of meanings is “simply” or “solely.”

In case you’ve got by no means seen how ばかり means “simply” or “solely,” here is a fast instance. If you wish to describe that each one somebody does is sleep, you may say that they 寝るばかり (solely sleeping) and never doing the rest. In the identical method, you may 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 mainly means “this factor occurred, and solely simply slightly time has handed since then.”

When you concentrate on 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 depends upon your viewpoint.

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, in all probability so as to make some sort 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 just a few 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 received my nails performed!

Technically it isn’t one thing you simply did if it occurred just a few 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 example the place somebody’s requested you to assist them dig a gap within the floor. With these recent nails? No method!


Really, you could know what ところ means already. It is the identical as 所, a Japanese phrase for “place” or “location.” An essential factor to bear in mind right here is that ところ does not solely imply a “place” within the bodily sense — it could 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, for those who simply completed ingesting some water, you might say this:

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

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 truly use different verb tenses with ところ too. It simply depends upon which stage of the exercise you are at, and which one you need to level to!

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s check out one of the vital frequent examples of how that is used for one thing that simply occurred. In the event you’re in your method to meet up with a pal they usually ask you the place you might be, 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 situation, you are both actually standing outdoors your entrance door, you’ve got solely taken just a few steps away from it, or perhaps you’ve got made it down the road, however not a lot farther. It is undoubtedly solely been just a few quick seconds/minutes because you ventured into the skin world. And in contrast to ばかり, it could’t solely be your feeling that you have simply left the home. It is an incontrovertible fact! They have safety digicam footage to show it and the whole lot.

Now that you simply get the fundamental 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’ve got 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 might whip it out to your boss they usually would not bat an eyelash. In the event you wished to, you might add some emotional coloration to this assertion with further phrases or phrases, and even the tone of your voice. However in contrast to ばかり, ところ is fairly easy 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 assessment what every one is about earlier than we transfer onto the nuances of every.

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

While you need to make an announcement about how latest one thing feels to you, you could need to use ばかり. It does not matter when it truly was. Its focus is slightly on how little time appears to have handed since, so it provides a subjective really feel.

Nonetheless, if you merely need to specify a time limit to explain what you’ve got simply performed, you may need to use ところ. You are reporting your standing or stage of progress objectively by telling “the place you might be at” in time. These items have in all probability actually simply occurred otherwise you’ve simply performed them, and there is not essentially a lot feeling concerned. Not too onerous to know, huh?

However simply to delve slightly deeper, we’ll present you examples as a way to examine the 2 facet by facet 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.

State of affairs #1: “I Simply Purchased a Automotive”

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

You now know that ばかり is used if you need to make a barely stronger assertion of the way you really feel like one thing “simply” occurred, whether or not or not it was notably latest. You are in all probability 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, have a look at this sentence about shopping for a automotive.

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

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 automotive! Perhaps somebody’s pressuring you to purchase a brand new automotive, however you are feeling prefer it’s method too quickly for that because you simply purchased your present automotive just a few months in the past. Otherwise you scratched the automotive you acquire final yr, and it is a disgrace since you’d hoped to maintain it in good situation for for much longer. Or maybe you must scrap your automotive, though you acquire 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? Kind of like how folks say “it looks 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 you’re utilizing it deliberately.

However, you additionally know that ところ is used if you merely need to state the very fact of the place you might be on a timeline. In contrast to ばかり, you are probably not placing emphasis in your emotions in regards to the state of affairs or subjectively commenting on the recentness of the occasion. As a substitute, you are pinpointing a selected second in time.

As an illustration, you might objectively report this about the place you might be within the car-buying course of:

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

Fairly matter-of-fact! You simply purchased a automotive, and that is the place you might be at. Perhaps you acquire a automotive actually simply now, and your mother is questioning the place you might be 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 automotive.” 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 selected 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 – perhaps going grocery buying would be the “subsequent factor” you do after shopping for the automotive, which you will in all probability inform them within the subsequent breath. However saying 車を買ったばかり does not have fairly the identical impact.

State of affairs #2: “I Simply Acquired 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 received within the taxi.

This sentence is just reporting that you simply simply received in a taxi. It may very well be a method to inform your pal that you simply’re in your method and provides an thought of if you’ll arrive. ところ is ideal for preserving somebody up to date about your whereabouts like this.

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

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

However, for those who used ばかり, it appears like somebody (in all probability the particular person you are texting) is dashing 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 to get there as shortly as anticipated, as a result of it is barely been a minute since you bought within the taxi.

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

State of affairs #3: “I Simply Completed My Homework”

This is our closing situation. 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 right down to exit for dinner. Which one do you suppose works higher — ところ or ばかり? Relying in your alternative, you will come off in another way. 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 properly right here because it simply merely experiences the place you are at on a timeline. “However cannot you then use ところ if you cannot exit for dinner too?” you may ask. Nicely, you are proper. You might use ところ even if you cannot exit for dinner — utilizing it to clarify that you have simply completed your homework and that there is one thing developing 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 have to 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 relax out first or one thing, as a result of the main focus is on how little time you are feeling has handed because you completed your homework. And for those who want a while to calm down, you in all probability would not say “sounds good,” proper?

However is it okay to make use of ばかり if the reply was “perhaps slightly later,” you marvel? That is an amazing guess, as a result of ばかり might truly work in that case. For the reason that 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 have to take a breather first), so is it okay if we go slightly later?

ばかり and ところ For Issues That Really 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 fact: Each can be utilized for occasions that truly occurred some time in the past, too. Like perhaps that poor calculator took the final 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 forth. And for ところ, this is applicable if you’re telling a narrative in regards to the previous, and also you’re pointing to the place you have been on that timeline within the story — typically utilizing the previous tense ところだった.

Need to be taught 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 have been an emoji, it could be the incredulous one with the raised eyebrow. 🤨

Whether or not one thing will be thought of “latest” depends upon the state of affairs and other people’s emotions about it.

However again to the principle level right here — see how the factor that occurred wasn’t truly that latest, it simply feels that method 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 in all probability 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 though 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 what provides lots much less wiggle room? ばかり’s counterpart ところ, as a result of solely information matter to ところ. Let’s shuffle again to the automotive 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 automotive just a few years in the past.
  • ❓数年前に車を買ったところだ
  • I (am at present on the level the place I) simply purchased a automotive just a few years in the past.

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

Nonetheless, there’s a method 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 “have been” on the timeline. Strive sticking a previous tense だった after ところ as an alternative of current tense だ. On this case, perhaps somebody invited you to affix them on a visit just a few years in the past, however you did not go. And now, you are explaining what you have been as much as again if you have 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 automotive, so I used to be broke.
    (Actually: It was proper on the level once I had simply purchased a automotive, 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 selected level previously 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, nevertheless it was latest sooner or later, and that time is what you are shoving your index finger at if you use ところ this fashion.

Acquired 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 after we use ばかり and ところ to explain latest happenings, like “I simply purchased a costume.” However what if you wish to discuss “a costume you simply purchased,” modifying a noun?

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

You in all probability 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 costume 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 costume 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 precise how new one thing feels. Perhaps you are saying “The costume I simply purchased has a gap in it already!” See? It is sensible, since how just lately you acquire the costume 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 forth.

However, ところ merely factors to a second in time. You not often see ところ getting used this fashion, as a result of the intention to switch nouns is often to attract consideration to how new or recent 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 specific motion, like so:

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

Once more, that is the place ばかり shines — ところ is never used this fashion. You is perhaps about to precise emotions about this couple, or not less than point out one thing related to how they simply received 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 received married. So bear in mind, for those who’re modifying nouns, you are in all probability going to need to use ばかり.

You Simply Discovered!


In the event you might perceive (not less than most of) the 2 sentences above and the completely different vibes they categorical, congratulations! You are smarter than you have 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 offers 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 instances.

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



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