I'm trying to form this sentence, "First day on the job, and not only am I late, I'm lost." and I'm unsure if using the verb 遅れる or the noun 遅刻 would make any difference here. I'm thinking of writing something like this, 仕事初日で、遅刻だけじゃなく、道に迷ってしまった。

Would using 遅れる like, 仕事初日で、遅れただけじゃなく、道に迷ってしまった。change the nuance of the sentence? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


仕事初日で、遅れただけじゃなく、道に迷ってしまった。 sounds better because 遅刻 is a noun, 遅れる is a verb and 道に迷う is a verb.
Using 遅刻した instead of 遅れた is a good way too. 遅刻した has narrower sense and less possibility of causing misunderstanding.

But 仕事初日で、遅刻したただけじゃなく、道にも迷ってしまった。 is the best.
Though "も" is not necessary in conversations, that feels a bit strange.

  • That makes sense, but could you please explain why the past tense is used here for 遅刻?
    – Jet
    Jan 18, 2023 at 6:56
  • Does the question mean if 遅れた of 遅れただけじゃなく、道にも迷ってしまった。 can be replaced with 遅れる?
    – Chance
    Jan 18, 2023 at 7:12
  • To me, putting the verb in past tense could mean, "Not only WAS I late, but I GOT lost." as opposed to, "Not only AM I late, but I AM lost." Wouldn't putting the verbs in the progressive form work too, right? Like, 遅刻してるだけじゃなく、道に迷ってしまってる。
    – Jet
    Jan 18, 2023 at 7:14
  • Honestly, I don't know when to use "I'm late" or "I was late" accurately, but in Japanese, we use ”遅刻した" when you were late this morning, or you are still on the way but it's already passed the appointed time, or even you are still on the way and you'll probably be late. "遅刻する" is used when you are still on the way but it's already passed the appointed time, or you are still on the way and you'll probably or possibly be late. It means that "遅刻" in "遅刻する" and "遅刻した" can mean both "unable to be there in time" and "appear there behind time, I think.
    – Chance
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:34
  • 1
    @Jet - Didn’t you ask about 遅刻して(い)る in this question? The English phrase I’m late seems a bit ambiguous. If you mean I’m going to be/arrive late, you should say 遅れる or 遅刻する. If you mean I’m running late, I would say 遅れている is better than 遅刻している. While the latter is acceptable, strictly speaking, 遅刻 is a punctual thing, not durative. You can still say 遅れた or 遅刻した if you have already accepted as a fait accompli while you are still on your way. It all depends on what you want to say.
    – aguijonazo
    Jan 18, 2023 at 13:58

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