I'm a bit confused in the usage as "possession" of time.

I know 時間 is time and 時 would be more like when, but... Some thing's time would be Jikan or toki? If it was someone, would it still be the same? For example, bike's time could be バイクの時? As if, "when I'm on the bike"? And, Anna's time would still be アンナの時?As if, "when I'm with Anna"? Or would that be wrong?

  • someone might formulate an answer, but in the meantime you can look up sample sentences on alc.co.jp or jisho.org and see the different usages for yourself.
    – yadokari
    Aug 7, 2013 at 19:23
  • You might want to watch out for 時期, 時刻 and 期間 as well, all of which could be translated as "time".
    – blutorange
    Aug 8, 2013 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


Aside from the fact that "bike's time" and "Anna's time" don't make even sense in English (except for a very small set of contexts), I can't think of many scenarios where you'd use "possessive" time except for the following. And generally 時間 refers to the amount of time or the specific time of something, so it wouldn't always be interchangeable with とき without a slight change in meaning.

  • Representing an "era" or (subjectively) long period of time with とき

    • 子供のとき → When I was a child
    • 留学のとき → When I studied abroad
    • 留学の時間 → The amount of time I studied abroad
  • When using a noun from which a similar/exact verb could reasonably be inferred, meaning "It's time to 〜", "〜 time", or "when (I) 〜"

    • ダンスのとき・時間だ! ←→ ダンスする/踊るとき・時間だ! ←→ It's time to dance! / It's dance time!
    • ○ 食事のとき ←→ 食事をする/食べるとき ←→ When eating
    • ○ 散歩のとき ←→ 散歩する/歩くとき ←→ When I (take a) walk
    • ? バイクのとき → Doesn't make sense because バイクする isn't a verb, and it can't be reasonably inferred what's happening with the バイク; are you riding it? Fixing it? Buying it? In such case, you need to specify unless context or familiarity with the listeners would already afford that knowledge (which is to say probably not often)
      • ○ バイクに乗るとき → When I ride my motorcycle
      • ○ バイクの修理をするとき → When I'm repairing my motorcycle
    • × アンナのとき → Doesn't make sense at all. Again there is no default verb one could infer from アンナ, so you have to specify what you mean
      • ○ アンナといっしょにいるとき → When I'm with Anna

The only time I could see "bike's time" making sense is if you meant something like "the time displayed on the motorcycle's dashboard clock", in which case you'd be better off saying something like バイクの内蔵時計の表示する時刻. Similarly, I can only see "Anna's time" making sense in the context of some kind of race, and you're referring specifically to the time it took her to finish (アンアの完了の時間).

  • I would sometimes think of 時 as a "pointer" or "reference" to a time period while 時間 as the time itself. Thus 時 can be thought of as a number, a date, while 時間 is the time "stuff" located at that date.
    – ithisa
    Aug 12, 2013 at 23:54
  • Thanks a lot for the complete answer, it cleared up a lot! I'm sorry if it doesn't make much sense, English is not my native language, so it's likely that some mistakes came from that. One last thing - if I were to make a pie graphic of a day's hours, and mark pieces as examples I've asked before, what would be the correct way to put it?
    – user3799
    Aug 24, 2013 at 15:11
  • 3
    Programmer spotted @EricDong.
    – istrasci
    Aug 25, 2013 at 3:32

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