I ran into this phrase more than once now.


I have found what 言い出す and かと思えば mean separately in dictionaries. I'm just not sure what they mean when put together. My first interpretation was "Tell me what you think."

But I don't know what would differentiate this phrase from just saying using 何 and 思う.


1 Answer 1



is an expression used to describe how unexpected and/or surprising the (new) topic is that the other person has just brought up.

A more literal translation would be:

"Just when I was thinking what you/he/they might bring up, ~~."

To maintain the nuance of the original better, I might go with something like:

"You/he/they bring(s) this up all of a sudden."

Hope you can arrange that to fit the context the best.

My first interpretation was "Tell me what you think."

No, that is not what it means, I am afraid. It is almost a fixed expression for us native speakers.

  • So it's not a question or a command of some sort? tnx. I've heard it as "急くに何を言い出すのかと思えば" too so I just assumed it was a command. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 16:28

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