For example in the sentence below:


Rather, when I was younger I'd expect to be the one getting cautioned in public.

How does using 頃 change the meaning from using とき in this sentence and more generally? Thanks.

3 Answers 3


By using either 時{とき} or 頃{ころ} you are describing a time relation between (at least) two events, states, or actions (let's say A and B).

With 時 the relation between A and B is closer like English "when", "while", "at the time". With 頃 the relation is more vague like English "around the time", "around".

Just like in English you can also use 頃 to express not only the sheer relation, but also your attitude (you don't remember exact order of actions or their relation, our you don't want to provide such information, so you say "around the time").

With naturally vague expressions ("in youth") 若い頃 or 若い時 it's just a difference in style.

It does not matter if either A or B is a point in time or a period of time. However 頃's vagueness creates a span of time in which the relation between A and B occurs.


時{とき} is a general word meaning "time". It can refer to time ranging from a short instant to an entire era.

頃{ころ} is restricted to relatively long and approximate times. Using it for something that happens in an instant, like turning on the TV, is incorrect.

Using 若い時 is not wrong, but it would be less common than 若い頃.

  • 3
    若い時 is roughly as common as 若い頃, it's not really the case that 若い時 is that much less common (certainly not noticeably less common). To back this one up, using google as so many people here do, 若い時 gives 954,000 results, and 若い頃 gives 1.3 million. Yes there's a difference, but not really a big one.
    – sqrtbottle
    Oct 8, 2015 at 22:08

時{とき} refers to specific times, such as the moment you open a door.
頃{ころ} refers to approximate times, such as around the time the door is opened.

For talking about events that happened during a long period of time, such as one's childhood, there isn't much of a difference.

  • 3
    So you never use 若い時 to refer to "one's childhood"?
    – macraf
    Oct 8, 2015 at 20:51
  • Good point, looks like I focused too much on the extreme differences.
    – Darcinon
    Oct 8, 2015 at 22:36

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