What is the proper syntax for questions like "When was this message sent?" or "When did you receive my message?". Another example would be "What time was it when was this message received?".

Beyond that I'm having an inordinate amount of trouble with these things:

  1. In the case of IMs would 送信する、送る、or something else used as the verb?

  2. What verb form would be used for sent/received? is it a direct passive?

  3. Which 何時 would it be? Would なんじ, いつ, or something else be used here?

I'm looking for the right syntax as much as or more than the right words. I'm not really sure why this is harder for me than other "when" questions.

  • What context are you using this in? Are you trying to write it in a UI somewhere? Are you directly asking another person? Something else?
    – istrasci
    May 11, 2015 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


なんじ refers to a time of day. いつ is a generic "when". I see why you're confused, but いつ is going to be the more common in this context. なんじ is more of a fixed time of day as opposed to いつ, which is far more general. You can use なんじ, and it's not unnatural at all, but I think it reflects something of a "what time did you receive my text" rather than a "when did you receive my text".

送る and 送信する are both used for messaging. I use 送る as a person because it's more natural. 送信 is just too formal / mechanical.

It's passive if you need it to be. I'm not quite sure what you mean here. Just remember that メッセージ is the noun for messages.

  • 2
    A key difference between なんじ and いつ is the answer they merit. なんじ asks for a time, such as 6時ごろ, but いつ is general in the sense that you can just answer along the lines of 朝早い or something more vague.
    – sqrtbottle
    May 11, 2015 at 22:20
  • 2
    「送信」 does not sound formal or mechanical at all when used to talk about sending IMs, emais, etc. It is different from sending snail mail.
    – user4032
    May 12, 2015 at 12:18
  • Thank you. that helps quite a bit. The "when was this message recieved" form seems easy enough. I think part of the confusion is coming from expressing "time-sent", "send time", or more generally things like "date posted" or "date of postage". In that instance would it be 送信したとき、 送信されたとき、or something else? Is there a different word like how there's 発 for Arrival and departure times?
    – JNgpd
    May 13, 2015 at 14:47
  • 送信した/されたとき is enough, don't worry. 発 is more used for transport. 発信 is a word, but it translates more to "transmit" than send (like transmitting EM waves, or transmitting messages). You can say that you're transmitting messages, as with English, but 送信 is more everyday language.
    – sqrtbottle
    May 13, 2015 at 17:10

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