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ところに vs 途端に

The Question


Recently I came across this question:

最終のバスに間に合わなくて困っていた____、運よくタクシーが通りかかり、無事帰宅できた。

1)あげくに  2)ために  3)とたんに  4)ところに

I quickly eliminated 1 and 2 but got stuck on とたんに vs ところに. They just seem too similar.

The solutuion


Searching for an answer, I came across a post on HiNative which states that ところに is in fact the correct answer. The explanation given is the following:

とたんに

は、何かが始まってすぐ その瞬間 です。困っていたのは瞬間ではないのでだめです。

(例文)

駅に着いたとたんに雨が降り出した。

彼女はベッドに横になったとたんに眠りに着いた。

I am confused, because both expressions seem to carry the same meaning of "At that exact moment/ Just as I was...".

The Assumption


Take this example sentence I found:

駅に着いたところに財布を忘れたことに気づいた。

It is very similar to the example sentence provided as an explanation to why たとたん was not selected, with the only difference being that the sentence with たとたん is followed by an action which the speaker has no control over, while the example with ところに is followed by an action of the speaker.

Reading more example sentences with たとたん I can see that the action that follows is usually out of the speaker's control. This would make sense as to why we eliminated it as an option and chose ところに.

Is this assumption actually correct? Are there further details I am missing? Any difference in nuance?

Thanks a lot!

6
  • Looking a bit further it seems that DoJG has the best explanation and my assumption was partially correct. According to it, 途端 must represent an uncontrollable action. However, the only exception is when the subject of the second sentence is the third person. Then a controllable verb is acceptable such as in this example: 田中さんは先生の顔を見た途端、立ち上がった。
    – 悪戯猫
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:24
  • There is another, clearer difference between the two sentences. Look at the verb form used before the blank.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:49
  • @aguijonazo I think both patterns use the Vた form so that is not a clear indication.
    – 悪戯猫
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:50
  • Look at the part before た.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:52
  • 3
    The [V て-form]-いる form can't describe 瞬間. This alone is enough to rule out とたん.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:31

2 Answers 2

1

Besides aguijonazo's comments that 途端に cannot follow non-perfective state (like 困っている), there are cases both can be used because ところに can follow a perfective.

  • 横になった途端に電話がかかってきた The moment I lay down, the phone rang.
  • 横になったところに電話がかかってきた As I lay down, the phone rang.

I'm not entirely sure, but a similar difference in usage may apply to as soon as/the moment ... vs when, where the former only (or at least more naturally) come with a perfective sentence, like 途端に.

1
  • thanks for the input! This is indeed a great analogy!
    – 悪戯猫
    Nov 26, 2022 at 14:06
0

You can tell the answer is ところに because of the 通りかかり after it. ところに~通りかかり. The meaning is "as if coming to the state when I was troubled". ところへ and ところに are very related to verbs of movement.

This video lesson explains it very well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfbwUOXyNAc

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