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かと思ったら / かと思うと mean "just when; no sooner than" but what is their use (oral/written, formal/normal) ? Do native use that construction naturally or is it replaced by another one ?

And I am also curious about their origin: how did this construction acquire its current meaning ?

彼女は忙しい人で、来たかと思ったら、もう帰ってしまった。 She’s a busy person. Just when I thought she had arrived, she had already left.

急に空が暗くなったかと思うと、激しく雨が降り始めた。 As soon as the sky turned black, it started raining heavily.

Note: this is not a duplicate with the question Meaning of のかと思ったら

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    As Justin N describes it. Remember that the "as soon as" in the English is in translation, and remember too that translation involves rendering the source in the natural wording for the target -- and thus the resulting target text may not directly reflect the literal or strict meaning of the source text. Here, the two JA sentences are more strictly, "when I thought that perhaps she had come,..." and "when I thought that perhaps the sky had turned suddenly dark,..." In context, as natural English, we instead say "as soon as" and often leave out the "thinking" part. Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 16:09

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I think it's a general-use type of idiom, not specifically for formal or written use only.

The meaning of the idiom is almost the literal meaning of the words. "As soon as I thought about it, ..." I'm guessing that the "no sooner than" translation is more along the lines of "no sooner than had she arrived, ..." rather than "arrive no sooner than 3pm."

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