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3日前に会ったばかりだ
I saw him just three days ago (given translation)

ばかり is one of those particles that confuses me. Doesn't 会ったばかりだ mean "I just met him"? i.e. there has not been enough time for anything else to happen since I met him. So how can this work with 3日前に?

If I had to put ばかり anywhere in this sentence (and that is the point of the exercise) I would have written 3日前ばかりに会った. Would that be wrong? Does it have a different nuance?

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    Does this answer your question? Verbs + ところ / Verbs + とこ / Verbs + ばかり Not sure it's necessarily a duplicate, but it might help.
    – istrasci
    Aug 16 at 21:09
  • Thanks for the link. It helps but unfortunately (the way I read it at least) the two up voted answers seem to contradict each other. Aug 16 at 23:01
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    Depending on the context, three days could be a very short time. Does the use of "just" in the given translation also strike you as strange?
    – aguijonazo
    Aug 17 at 0:05
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    Yes, できたばかりのタワー may be a tower built one year ago, and 生まれたばかりの恒星 may be a star formed a million years ago :)
    – naruto
    Aug 17 at 0:31
  • Yeah, to me the situation is the same as with English... what counts as "just happened" is always relative to the lengths of time we're talking about.
    – Leebo
    Aug 17 at 0:37
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The accepted answer to the link in the comments or this should answer your first question.

As for 3日前ばかりに会った, I’m afraid it is totally wrong. 3日前 already refers to a specific point of time and there is little ばかり can do with it. It might still play some role with 3日, which is a duration, but 3日ばかり前に会った doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. It basically means the same as 3日ほど前に会った as ばかり in this position means “approximately,” not “just.”

This might help you understand why ばかり in the sense of “just” doesn’t work the way you think it does.

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ばかり on it’s own has many meanings that are not necessarily related to time. たばかり is a sentence pattern which indicates that the incident happened relatively recently.

たところ means that happened strictly “just now”. たばかり does not have an absolute time limit.

Source: http://www.edewakaru.com/archives/9348750.html

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