The full sentence, from Anki core 2k/6k:


"That was when I was still a student."

I'm understanding "かつて私が学生だった" to mean "I was once a student," so I'm guessing the rest needs to account for "that was when." Is こと just the unnamed thing being referenced with the word "That" at the beginning of the English translation?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


Here's the breakdown:

time (←when I was once a student)



(It) is ~.

こと refers to an event or occurrence rather than a "thing". 頃 is a noun that means "time" or "age" (See: What is the difference between 頃 and とき?), and かつて私が学生だった is modifying 頃 as a relative clause.

This use of の may seem unfamiliar, but English speakers say "yesterday's event", "this year's sales" and so on, so it should not be difficult to understand this.

  • Thanks, I think what threw me off was I was thinking of 頃 as something that would modify a previously mentioned period of time to make that period or point in time more approximate. As in Jisho's example: 大抵の晩餐は11時頃に終わります。 Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 15:19
  • @charlemagne That's true in this sentence, too. The difference is that what comes before 頃 is a relative clause in the sentence you asked. In this case, saying かつて私が学生だったのことです wouldn't make much difference, though. Please see macraf's answer in the link.
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 15:22

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