A question from my N5 mock test book reads:

A 「何{なん}時{じ}に うちへ 帰{かえ}りますか。」

B 「7時{じ} (    ) 帰{かえ}ります。」

1 ごろ  2 じゅう  3 まで  4 ぐらい

The answer was 1, but I've been taught that both ごろ and ぐらい are interchangeable when talking about points in time (時刻), like 7時 or 4月.

Is ぐらい really acceptable when ごろ should be used?

(Note: I am of the impression that ぐらい and くらい mean the same, and so do ごろ and ころ.)

  • 2
    ぐらい and くらい mean the same, and so do ごろ and ころ -> Both 7時らい and 7時らい are used, 7時ろ is fine, but you don't say7じろ. ---- Don't ask my why :D
    – Chocolate
    Jan 7, 2017 at 6:25
  • Hm... when do we use ころ then? :)
    – rhyaeris
    Jan 7, 2017 at 6:27
  • 「子供のころ(に)…」とか「花が咲くころ(に)...」とか。Oh so it's voiced when used as a suffix, and unvoiced when used as a noun, right?
    – Chocolate
    Jan 7, 2017 at 6:28
  • hm... so i guess ころ is not used in the same way as ごろ with times and dates, perhaps. thanks!
    – rhyaeris
    Jan 7, 2017 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


A 「​[何​時]{なんじ} ​に うちへ ​帰 {かえ} ​りますか。」

B 「7​時 {じ} ​ (    ) ​帰 {かえ} ​ります。」

1 ごろ  2 じゅう  3 まで  4 ぐらい

The only possible answer is 1) ごろ.

Had the fourth choice been 「ぐらい」 instead of just 「ぐらい」, it would also have been a correct answer. Not sure where you have been taught it was correct to say 「~時ぐらい帰る」, because it is not.

So, to say "to return home around 7-ish", you can use:

「ごろ」, 「ごろに」 and 「ぐらいに」.

But you cannot use 「ぐらい」. In other words, 「~時ごろ」 can function adverbially to modify the verb 「帰る」 without a 「に」. 「~時ぐらい」 cannot; It needs a 「に」 to function adverbially.

The following usage of 「ぐらい」, however, is correct.

A 「家に帰るの、いつも何時ぐらい?」

B 「7時ぐらい。」

This is OK because there is no verb following in either line. You don't need an adverbial phrase here.

  • 3
    As an addition, まで is eliminated for the same reason, too. Only 7時まで帰ります is acceptable. Jan 7, 2017 at 6:40

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