9
  • 料理をしているところ電話がかかってきて困った。
  • デートをしているところ友だちに見られてしまった。
  • 電車に乗ったところ今日は祝日だと気づいた。

In the above sentences, what decide the particle following ところ? They all seem to indicate a happening during/while the user is engaged in an activity.

  • Love this question! I struggled with this exact problem when I learned this pattern. – istrasci Oct 7 '14 at 3:38
3

As user4092 said, it is the verb that matters.

I will break down each sentence by explaining the verb.

Sentences

  1. 料理をしているところに電話がかかってきて困った。

    電話がかかってくる accepts a number of things marked by に, and one of them is the time (compare: 「仕事中に電話がかかってきた。」).

    Thus, 料理をしているところ in this first sentence is functioning as a time.

  2. デートをしているところを友だちに見られてしまった。

    Explaining this one is a little complicated since it's just a complicated sentence (using the adversarial passive), so you may want to come back to this after you know more Japanese, but anyways...

    Necessary tangent: 見られる is the passive of 見る. When you form a passive, you lift something from the underlying sentence to が, and the が-marked thing in the underlying sentence to に.

    In this case, the original sentence is 友達が[(私が)デートをしているところ]を見た, and the 私が gets promoted to the が-marked thing of the passive, and of course 友達 becomes the に-marked thing:

    友達が   [(私が)デートをしているところ]を         見た
    ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓
    (私が)      [デートをしているところ]を  友達に  見られた

    So, the thing being marked by を is the thing being seen.

    As such, デートをしているところ here is not behaving like a time as in (1), but instead as a noun referring to a past event.

  3. 電車に乗ったところで今日は祝日だと気づいた。

    Unlike (1), 気付く doesn't accept times in the に position.

    So, instead, 電車に乗ったところ here functions as a "location in time" where you did the realizing of 今日は祝日だ.

    Compare, 「電車に乗った時点で今日は祝日だと気づいた。」, where 〜時点 is another "location in time" sort of thing.

Summary

Basically, the complicated thing here is not ところ -- ところ is just flexible in terms of what it can behave as (time, location, noun) -- and that flexibility brings out the complexity of verbs in Japanese.

Being able to pick the right place to jam ところ with a verb more or less comes down having a good feeling for the verb and understanding what arguments it accepts.

  • 2
    With all due respect, I disagree with the notion that #3=location. IMHO, both #1 & 3 are time. #1 is "B happened while I was in the middle of doing A." #3 is "I had no sooner done A than I did B." – l'électeur Oct 7 '14 at 9:37
  • @非回答者 I probably should have elaborated. The scare quotes around location were suppose to indicate that it's not literally a location. Similar to how "I stopped around where he waved his arms" can mean "I stopped around when he waved his arms", I think it's a "location-like thing" (syntactically speaking) which is standing for a past event. The alternative is for that で to be the copula, but that was not the sense I had at all. Do you think it's not even a location in the sense I'm describing here? – Darius Jahandarie Oct 7 '14 at 16:10
  • I tried editing in a little more about that. Let me know. – Darius Jahandarie Oct 7 '14 at 17:22
  • (Thank you for the very kindly-written comment, by the way!) – Darius Jahandarie Oct 7 '14 at 21:38
0

It's the verb that counts.

  1. A phone call came to the part where I am cooking.
  2. My friend witnessed the part where I am going out.
  3. I noticed today was a holiday at the part where I got on the train.
  • While it is definitely the verb that counts, I don't think the English sentences are grammatical, so I'm not sure the parallel you're trying to draw is working. – Darius Jahandarie Oct 7 '14 at 5:25
  • Can this be explained in a simpler way?The above is not particularly helpful. – IUnknown Oct 7 '14 at 5:44
  • 1
    @DariusJahandarie The sentences are perfectly grammatical-- they're just nonsensical. – alexhatesmil Oct 7 '14 at 6:08
0
  1. Just as / while I was cooking, the phone rang.

  2. While I was in a date, I was seen by a friend.

However, をstress 「デートをしている」 as a direct complement, so literally, "the friend saw the fact I was in a date" .

  1. While on the train, I noticed that today was a day off.

で stresses place here.


If you want to understand them better as well as their translation, you should check subordinate sentences regarding grammar.

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