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おや もう到着ですか

空想を楽しんでいたところだったのに

How does たところだった here work?

I understand

るところだった is "I almost did x" but how does it work with the past version then?

https://nihongonosensei.net/?p=12827

This site seems to suggest it's also used for past, however all examples of ところだった reference the non past version.

Is he still saying "I was almost enjoying the daydream" here too?

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The plain use of ~る・~たところだ・だった ignoring it's use with conditionals for the moment, is simply a means of setting the relative time of an event.

するところだ 'is about to [just going to] do'

するところだった 'was about to [just going to] do'

したところだ 'has just done'

したところだった 'had just done'

Extending this to the example with 楽しんでいたところ, 'I had just been enjoying a daydream'.

The sense of 'almost' that you mention comes especially with sentences introduced with もうそこし・ちょっとで:

もう少しで行かないところだった "I almost didn't go"

As per the link in sundowner's comment, it can also be used in counterfactual conditionals.

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  • Isn't ところだった "I almost did" x?
    – Bluegate
    Nov 23, 2023 at 22:11
  • Yes, I suppose fundamentally 'is/was just about to V' is the same as 'almost V', but I think in general this meaning is emphasized by a preceding もう少し・ちょっとで, or 危うく 'dangerously [close to]', or indeed by a conditional ~たら clause, or even a clause giving a reason, e.g., 店員の話がとても上手だったから、高い服を買ってしまうところだった.
    – N. Hunt
    Nov 23, 2023 at 22:58

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