1. 気がついたら皆さんは寝ていた。

  2. 気がついたとき皆さんは寝ていた。

My English interpretation: When I woke up (came to), everyone was sleeping.

Is "when" enough to capture the nuances of the Japanese sentences? How are たら and とき interpreted differently in English?

  • 1
    I'd appreciate if someone is just going to arbitrarily edit my question, then at least say why.
    – dotnetN00b
    Jan 26 '12 at 18:35
  • 2
    ?? Why was the OP downvoted?
    – user1016
    Jan 26 '12 at 23:04
  • That's also a good question.
    – dotnetN00b
    Jan 26 '12 at 23:45
  • 2
    I'm not the editor but usually edits are done to make posts easier to read.
    – Troyen
    Jan 27 '12 at 21:00
  • 1
    "want to know if ~ is/are ~" is a question. But "want to know if ~ is/are correct" is a proofreading request. Perhaps this would be better handled on the chat site, alternatively the question could be improved to focus on a topic regarding たら・とき instead of asking if something is correct or not.
    – Flaw
    Jan 30 '12 at 5:36

I think I'd need more context, or at least I'd need to know if you want it in spoken or written style..., but anyway I'd rather say
'[気]{き}づいたら、みんな[寝]{ね}ていた' (kizuitara, minna nete ita.)'
'[気]{き}づくとみんな[寝]{ね}ていた' (kizuku to minna nete ita.) 
'[気]{き}が[付]{つ}いたら、みんな寝ていた' (ki ga tsuita ra, minna nete ita.)
'気が付くとみんな寝ていた' (kiga tsuku to minna nete ita.)
because 「[気]{き}づく」also means 'to regain consciousness'=('to come to', no?). We often use the verb [気]{き}がつく/気づく to mean 'to wake up' in daily conversation, like 「[今朝]{けさ}、[二度寝]{にどね}してさ~、で、[気]{き}が[付]{つ}いたら8[時]{じ}だったのよ!」or something like that. Of course you can also use the verb '[目]{め}が[覚]{さ}める' instead.

If I were to put any particle after みんな, I'd rather use は, and I wouldn't say みなさん here because you're not talking to 'everyone'.

If you want to use とき, I think '気が付いたときには、みんな寝ていた' would be more natural, though it might sound more like 'Everyone had gone to sleep by the time I woke up/became conscious.'

Just one more thing... I think you can also use the verb '[眠]{ねむ}る' instead of '寝る', like '気づいたらみんな[眠]{ねむ}っていた' etc.

  • Spoken style. I just made up the sentence, but the context could be someone sick and doing some work and felt dizzy and suddenly woke up and found themselves in bed. And yes, to regain consciousness can also be "to come to".
    – dotnetN00b
    Jan 26 '12 at 13:55
  • Nemuru implies that you fell asleep unintentionally or was "forced" into sleep. Whereas nemu implies you voluntarily put yourself to sleep. Correct?
    – dotnetN00b
    Jan 26 '12 at 13:59
  • @dotnetN00b san, Ah I see... then I think '気が付いたら(ki ga tsuita ra)' and '気づいたら(kizuita ra)' are more likely in spoken style than '気づくと(ki zuku to)'/'気が付くと(ki ga tsuku to)'.
    – user1016
    Jan 26 '12 at 15:48
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    As for the difference of 寝る(neru) and 眠る(nemuru), both could mean 'to sleep unintentionally' (like in '寝ちゃった/寝てしまった/眠っちゃった/眠ってしまった'), but yes I think 'to go to bed/to put yourself to sleep voluntarily' would be expressed by the verb '寝る' rather than '眠る'. And you mean 'to be forced to sleep' would be '眠らされる' not '寝かされる', right? So, in this case the verb '寝る' would be more preferred than '眠る', I guess.
    – user1016
    Jan 26 '12 at 16:11
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    @dotnetN00b san, Haha, karate chop! OK then 'to be forced to sleep' would be more like「眠る」(=literally 'to fall asleep')/「眠らされる」(=the passive voice of the verb "眠らせる=to make someone sleep=the causative of 眠る")', than「寝かされる(to be put to bed/to be forced to go to bed or lie down etc.)」. By 'in this case' I meant the OP... So I would recommend;「気がついたら、みんな寝て(い)た。」/「目が覚めたら、みんな寝て(い)た」 (You could add 'もう=already' before or after 'みんな'.)
    – user1016
    Jan 27 '12 at 8:08

There are 3 basic different ways to say "when" in japanese:

〜と, to indicate that an action brings about a natural consequence.

When you turn the knob, the volume turns up.

〜たら, to indicate that something happens after another action.

When (or as soon as) I go back home, I take a shower.

〜とき is used to mark the moment, in general.

When I was returning home, I met a friend.

So the best way to phrase your sentence, in my opinion, is:

目が覚めたら、みんな まだ寝ていた。
When I woke up, everybody was still sleeping.

  • 「つまみを回る」→「つまみを回す」
    – Gradius
    Aug 26 '12 at 1:32
  • @Gradius, you're right. 回す is the transitive form. I've fixed it, thanks.
    – Carlos
    Nov 21 '12 at 11:13

First, these are two different constructions:

  • ついたら is 付く verb [連用形]{れんようけい} + た [助動詞]{じょどうし} [仮定形]{かていけい}, so one a verb conjugation
  • ついた時 is 付く verb [連用形]{れんようけい} + た [助動詞]{じょどうし} [連体形]{れんたいけい} + 時 noun, so a verb conjugation and a noun

So the nuance would be:

  • "気がついたら" => "When/if I/you noticed"
  • "気がついた時" => "At the moment I/you noticed"

And yes, it is a proper use of these constructions, but in my opinion adding "、" before "皆" would make the sentences more natural.


I don't think that kigatsuku means to wake up. It means to notice, to become aware etc... to wake up is okiru. As well. "Minna" or "Mina-san", but not "Minna-san". Finally, I would not use a "wa" but a "ga".

Then you are asking the best between "okitara, minna ga neteita." and "okita toki (ni), minna ga neteita."

Both are fine actually. The first one focus more on yourself noticing that everyone is still asleep. The second one is quite neutral, you are just telling a fact. This is my perception.

  • 1
    Minnasan ? yeah... And the explanation on not needing -san here because he's not directly addressing nobody is wrong as well. The -san can be omitted here because of the phrase language level which is neutral. We would use mina-san if this was keigo even nobody being directly addressed.
    – oldergod
    Jan 26 '12 at 13:52
  • Ah... みんなさん(Minna-san) really exists??
    – user1016
    Jan 26 '12 at 14:11
  • 1
    Most results for みんなさん on Google are by non-natives. It seems to also exist in some dialects. But in standard Japanese, I need to see more proof before I believe it.
    – dainichi
    Jan 28 '12 at 1:55
  • @dainichi san, Right... Native speakers, even with local accents, wouldn't say みんなさん・・・
    – user1016
    Jan 30 '12 at 6:26
  • @Chocolate 甲州弁 seems to have おみんなさん, but this is in no way standard.
    – dainichi
    Jan 30 '12 at 8:22

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