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HomeCultureばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

ばかり (Bakari) vs ところ (Tokoro)

How do you describe what you simply did in Japanese? Perhaps you simply brushed your tooth, otherwise you simply purchased a automobile. How will you describe these previous actions which have simply occurred?

Properly, you’ve got acquired two nice choices: ばかり and ところ. Say you wish to inform somebody that you just simply purchased a automobile in Japanese. To easily say you “purchased a automobile,” it is 車を買った. Nevertheless, if you wish to say it simply occurred, you should use both ばかり or ところ and say:

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

Each are translated as “I simply purchased a automobile” on this case. So do they imply the identical factor? The reply is not any, and that is why we’re writing this text! Past what you see within the English translation, there are variations in nuance, and one works higher than the opposite relying on the scenario or what you are actually attempting to say. Which one would you employ, for instance, when you’re protecting somebody up to date in your whereabouts and also you wish to allow them to know you’ve got simply completed the errand on the automobile dealership? How about if somebody scratches your new automobile and also you wish to scream at them that it is a automobile you solely simply purchased?

In the event you’re curious, preserve studying! On this article, we’ll cordially introduce you to every one, clarify the persona variations between ばかり and ところ, and enable you determine which one to whip out relying on the scenario. You simply plopped your self right down to learn this text anyway, so may as effectively preserve going!

Earlier than going deeper on the topic, we additionally wish to make clear that this text will focus completely on utilizing ばかり and ところ once they comply with verbs of their previous tense to speak about current happenings, as in 〜たばかり or 〜たところ.

You could have additionally heard ばっか or ばっかし used as a substitute of ばかり, or とこ as a substitute ところ. These are simply informal variations of ばかり and ところ. Examples you see on this article primarily use ばかり and ところ, however know that they are all interchangeable.

Stipulations: This text assumes you already know hiragana and katakana. In the event you want a refresher, check out our Final Hiragana Information and Final Katakana Information. To get probably the most out of this text, ensure you’re already acquainted with tense generally, particularly previous tense kinds. Bonus factors when you’re already just a little acquainted with ところ and ばかり, however don’t be concerned if you do not know an excessive amount of but. That is what you are right here for!

What Are ばかり and ところ?

First issues first: what’s ばかり and what’s ところ? Earlier than leaping into the variations between them, let’s first get to know extra about what every does, and what every means.


ばかり originates from the Japanese phrases for measurement or quantity — 計り, 測り, and 量り, all pronounced はかり — and has just a few completely different meanings at present. A kind of meanings is “simply” or “solely.”

In case you’ve got by no means seen how ばかり means “simply” or “solely,” here is a fast instance. If you wish to describe that each one somebody does is sleep, you’ll be able to say that they 寝るばかり (solely sleeping) and never doing the rest. In the identical method, you’ll be able to complain that your child’s doing ゲームばかり (solely video games) on a regular basis. And when it will get used with previous tense verbs (which this text is all about), it principally means “this factor occurred, and solely simply just a little time has handed since then.”

When you concentrate on it, “solely” or “simply” is subjective. You may consider a glass of water as half empty — there’s solely this a lot water — or as half full. It simply relies on your perspective.

When ばかり is used to explain a previous occasion, it expresses how one thing feels prefer it occurred not too long ago to you, the speaker, in all probability so as to make some sort of level. In that sense, ばかり is fairly subjective in that the precise period of time that has handed does not actually matter. You possibly can even use it to explain one thing you probably did some time in the past — so long as it feels current to you in that context.

a person saying "It feels like it just happened."

This is an instance. You bought your nails achieved just a few days in the past, and somebody asks you to dig a gap for his or her pet alligator’s funeral. You may indignantly exclaim:

  • でもネイルしに行ったばっかりだよ!
  • However I simply acquired my nails achieved!

Technically it isn’t one thing you simply did if it occurred just a few days in the past. Nevertheless, you should use ばかり right here as a result of it nonetheless feels current to you, particularly contemplating this case the place somebody’s requested you to assist them dig a gap within the floor. With these recent nails? No manner!


Truly, you might know what ところ means already. It is the identical as 所, a Japanese phrase for “place” or “location.” An vital factor to remember right here is that ところ does not solely imply a “place” within the bodily sense — it could possibly additionally imply a “place” in time.

When ところ is used to say what you simply did, it is such as you’re saying, “This factor simply occurred, and that is the place I am at now.” For instance, when you simply completed ingesting some water, you might say this:

  • 飲んだところです。
  • I simply completed ingesting.

By saying ところ on this sentence, you are merely pointing to the second shortly after gulping down water and saying, “This is the place I am at.”

You possibly can truly use different verb tenses with ところ too. It simply relies on which stage of the exercise you are at, and which one you wish to level to!

someone just before, during, and after drinking a glass of water

飲むところ is if you find yourself about to start out ingesting. 飲む is within the so-called current tense, however it may be used for a future motion as effectively. 飲んでいるところ is if you find yourself within the strategy of ingesting, as a result of as you may know, 飲んでいる is the current steady kind. Then, 飲んだところ is when you’ve got simply completed ingesting, as 飲んだ is previous tense. Utilizing ところ, you’re merely reporting the place you’re within the course of: “I am about to do that,” “I am in the course of doing this,” “I simply did this,” and so on.

Utilizing ところ, you’re merely attempting to state the actual fact of the place you’re on a timeline.

Did you discover how ところ is goal in comparison with ばかり, which relies on the subjective feeling of recency?

Now, let’s check out one of the widespread examples of how that is used for one thing that simply occurred. In the event you’re in your option to meet up with a buddy and so they ask you the place you’re, you may say this:

  • 家を出たところ。
  • Simply left the home.
    (Actually: I am on the level the place I simply left the home.)

On this situation, you are both actually standing outdoors your entrance door, you’ve got solely taken just a few steps away from it, or possibly you’ve got made it down the road, however not a lot farther. It is positively solely been just a few brief seconds/minutes because you ventured into the surface world. And in contrast to ばかり, it could possibly’t solely be your feeling that you’ve got simply left the home. It is an undeniable fact! They have safety digicam footage to show it and every little thing.

Now that you just get the essential gist of ところ, wanna attempt making a full sentence with it? Oh yeah, I do know you do. So, what if somebody desires to know your progress on that report you’ve got been engaged on?

  • 今レポートを書き終わったところです。
  • I simply completed writing the report.
    (Actually: I’m on the level the place I simply completed writing the report.)

That is it — nothing extra to say, simply that the report is finished, and also you achieved did it simply now. This sentence sounds so impartial and detached, you might whip it out to your boss and so they would not bat an eyelash. In the event you needed to, you might add some emotional shade to this assertion with further phrases or phrases, and even the tone of your voice. However in contrast to ばかり, ところ is fairly simple by itself.

ばかり vs ところ: What is the Distinction?

Alright, we have met the subjective ばかり and shaken fingers with the extra goal ところ. Now, let’s overview what every one is about earlier than we transfer onto the nuances of every.

To reemphasize, ばかり is extra subjective and will be linked to the speaker’s emotions, whereas ところ is extra goal and studies the place you are at in “time.”

Whenever you wish to make an announcement about how current one thing feels to you, you might wish to use ばかり. It does not matter when it truly was. Its focus is reasonably on how little time appears to have handed since, so it provides a subjective really feel.

Nevertheless, once you merely wish to specify a time limit to explain what you’ve got simply achieved, you may wish to use ところ. You are reporting your standing or stage of progress objectively by telling “the place you’re at” in time. These items have in all probability actually simply occurred otherwise you’ve simply achieved them, and there is not essentially a lot feeling concerned. Not too arduous to know, huh?

However simply to delve just a little deeper, we’ll present you examples to be able to examine the 2 aspect by aspect and actually see the variations between them.

Evaluating the Nuances Between ばかり and ところ

For comparability’s sake, let’s begin with conjuring up some conditions the place it could be extra pure to make use of one over the opposite.

State of affairs #1: “I Simply Purchased a Automobile”

Hey, keep in mind the instance scenario of shopping for a automobile we offered at the start of this text? It is time to lastly discover out what the distinction is once you use ばかり vs ところ on this situation.

You now know that ばかり is used once you wish to make a barely stronger assertion of the way you really feel like one thing “simply” occurred, whether or not or not it was significantly current. You are in all probability making a degree about how you’re feeling a couple of sure scenario. Folks typically use ばかり to say that it is inconvenient/nonsensical for [second thing] to occur, as a result of they really feel like [first thing] only recently occurred.

For instance, have a look at this sentence about shopping for a automobile.

  • 車を買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

By saying ばかり, you are placing emphasis on the finished motion and the way little time you’re feeling has handed since then. You simply purchased a brand new automobile! Perhaps somebody’s pressuring you to purchase a brand new automobile, however you’re feeling prefer it’s manner too quickly for that because you simply purchased your present automobile just a few months in the past. Otherwise you scratched the automobile you purchased final yr, and it is a disgrace since you’d hoped to maintain it in good situation for for much longer. Or maybe you must scrap your automobile, although you purchased it model new three years in the past. Oof!

someone surprised to find their car scratched

See how the precise period of time that is handed does not matter? Kind of like how individuals say “it seems like solely yesterday!” Tossing ばかり into your sentences can have these layered implications about how you’re feeling in regards to the scenario, so ensure you’re utilizing it deliberately.

Then again, you additionally know that ところ is used once you merely wish to state the actual fact of the place you’re on a timeline. Not like ばかり, you are probably not placing emphasis in your emotions in regards to the scenario or subjectively commenting on the recentness of the occasion. As a substitute, you are pinpointing a selected second in time.

As an illustration, you might objectively report this about the place you’re within the car-buying course of:

  • 車を買ったところ。
  • I simply purchased a automobile.

Fairly matter-of-fact! You simply purchased a automobile, and that is the place you’re at. Perhaps you purchased a automobile actually simply now, and your mother is questioning the place you’re within the progress of your errands. She texts you 「今どこ?」 (“The place are you?”), and also you’re reporting, “I am at a degree the place I simply purchased a automobile.” Do you discover how the tone and implication of the sentence varies relying on which one you employ?

This is one other slight distinction: As a result of ところ describes a selected level on a timeline, it carries a nuance that following the finished motion, there might be one other motion. For instance, saying 車を買ったところ brings up a timeline within the listener’s thoughts – possibly going grocery procuring would be the “subsequent factor” you do after shopping for the automobile, which you will in all probability inform them within the subsequent breath. However saying 車を買ったばかり does not have fairly the identical impact.

State of affairs #2: “I Simply Bought within the Taxi”

Now let us take a look at a scenario the place both one can be okay, however they carry completely different nuances. Think about you are texting somebody you are assembly up with.

  • タクシーに乗ったところ。
  • I simply acquired within the taxi.

This sentence is solely reporting that you just simply acquired in a taxi. It could possibly be a option to inform your buddy that you just’re in your manner and provides an concept of once you’ll arrive. ところ is ideal for protecting somebody up to date about your whereabouts like this.

  • タクシーに乗ったばかり。
  • I simply acquired within the taxi.

Whether or not you must throw out a ところ or ばかり actually relies on the context and what tone you are attempting to convey.

Then again, when you used ばかり, it appears like somebody (in all probability the individual you are texting) is dashing you to get to the vacation spot. Perhaps they’re texting you issues like まだ着かないの? (“Are you not right here but?”) and also you’re saying you will not have the ability to get there as rapidly as anticipated, as a result of it is barely been a minute since you bought within the taxi.

See? Technically each imply “I simply acquired within the taxi,” however they carry completely different nuances. Whereas ところ merely studies your progress, ばかり emphasizes how little time has handed based mostly in your emotions.

State of affairs #3: “I Simply Completed My Homework”

This is our closing situation. Your buddy’s calling to see what you are as much as and ask if you wish to seize dinner collectively. You simply completed your homework, so that you’re right down to exit for dinner. Which one do you suppose works higher — ところ or ばかり? Relying in your alternative, you will come off otherwise. Let’s first check out an instance utilizing ところ.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったとこ。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I am able to exit).
a timeline showing they did homework before the current moment, and they are seeing a movie sometime after the current time

ところ works effectively right here because it simply merely studies the place you are at on a timeline. “However cannot you then use ところ once you cannot exit for dinner too?” you may ask. Properly, you are proper. You possibly can use ところ even if you cannot exit for dinner — utilizing it to clarify that you’ve got simply completed your homework and that there is one thing arising subsequent in your agenda, for instance:

  • 今宿題が終わったところで、これから映画に行くんだ。ごめんね。
  • I simply completed my homework, and I’ll a film now. Sorry.

See how you should use ところ to put out your timeline like this? Now, let’s look into how ばかり works on this scenario.

  • いいよ!今宿題が終わったばかり。
  • Sounds good! I simply completed my homework (and I must take a breather first).

Utilizing ばかり comes off as unnatural on this scenario the place you are attempting to say “sure” to the invitation. ばかり makes it sound such as you want a minute to sit back out first or one thing, as a result of the main focus is on how little time you’re feeling has handed because you completed your homework. And when you want a while to chill out, you in all probability would not say “sounds good,” proper?

However is it okay to make use of ばかり if the reply was “possibly just a little later,” you marvel? That is an awesome guess, as a result of ばかり might truly work in that case. Because the downside with ばかり earlier was that it sounded such as you wanted a minute for no matter cause, it really works nice in a sentence like:

  • 今宿題が終わったばかりだから、ちょっと後でもいい?
  • I simply completed my homework (and I must take a breather first), so is it okay if we go just a little later?

ばかり and ところ For Issues That Truly Occurred A Whereas In the past

Up till now, we have mentioned lots about how ばかり and ところ are used to explain issues which have simply occurred. You simply dropped your graphing calculator in the bathroom (oops). However time to unleash the entire reality: Each can be utilized for occasions that really occurred some time in the past, too. Like possibly that poor calculator took the last word plunge in tenth grade, and now you are retelling that story. Stick with me! It will make sense in a minute.

For ばかり, this works when the speaker subjectively feels that it hasn’t been a lot time for the reason that factor occurred, however that period of time is weeks, months, years, and so on. And for ところ, this is applicable once you’re telling a narrative in regards to the previous, and also you’re pointing to the place you have been on that timeline within the story — typically utilizing the previous tense ところだった.

Need to be taught extra? Alright, let’s crack open our good buddy ばかり first.

Take into consideration this instance scenario. If a child begged their mother to purchase them a brand new cellphone, the ママ (mama) may retort:

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Although I simply purchased (you a brand new cellphone) half a yr in the past?

This sentence carries a robust emotional tone of “I simply purchased you a brand new cellphone not too long ago, so do not push your luck, squirt!” If this sentence have been an emoji, it will be the incredulous one with the raised eyebrow. 🤨

Whether or not one thing will be thought of “current” relies on the scenario and folks’s emotions about it.

However again to the primary level right here — see how the factor that occurred wasn’t truly that current, it simply feels that option to the speaker? Mama is expressing her opinion that six months isn’t that way back to have purchased a brand new cellphone for the little scamp.

Besides, you in all probability would not say one thing like this if the child’s asking for a brand new sponge, proper?

  • 半年前に買ったばっかなのに?
  • Although I simply purchased (you a brand new sponge) half a yr in the past?

You see how this does not make a lot sense, proper? Hopefully you are shopping for new sponges extra typically than each six months! So although ばかり has fairly a little bit of leeway for subjectivity, there are nonetheless some boundaries and contexts the place it is simply nonsensical to contemplate an occasion current.

However you already know what affords lots much less wiggle room? ばかり’s counterpart ところ, as a result of solely info matter to ところ. Let’s shuffle again to the automobile dealership and revisit the car-buying instance, lets? Examine these two sentences:

  • 数年前に車を買ったばかりだ
  • I simply purchased a automobile just a few years in the past.
  • ❓数年前に車を買ったところだ
  • I (am at the moment on the level the place I) simply purchased a automobile just a few years in the past.

See how ところ does not actually make sense on this context? Conceivably, somebody might really feel that just a few years in the past is current, so ばかり can be utilized. However ところ? Sorry buddy, it simply will not fly. Until you are time touring, you didn’t actually “simply now” purchase a automobile “just a few years in the past.” That may be pointing to 2 completely different factors on the timeline on the similar time, which is bending the legal guidelines of spacetime in a manner that the Japanese language does not permit!

Nevertheless, there’s a manner you should use ところ to speak about issues that occurred some time in the past, and it is when telling a narrative in regards to the previous — pointing to a previous second of the place you “have been” on the timeline. Attempt sticking a previous tense だった after ところ as a substitute of current tense だ. On this case, possibly somebody invited you to affix them on a visit just a few years in the past, however you did not go. And now, you are explaining what you have been as much as again once you have been invited. You may say…

  • ちょうど車を買ったところだったので、お金がなかった。
  • I had simply purchased a automobile, so I used to be broke.
    (Actually: It was proper on the level once I had simply purchased a automobile, so I used to be broke.)
a timeline from a few years ago when someone was poor and bought a car, to a conversation occuring now

So long as you are describing a selected level prior to now and never the current, you should use ところ for issues that occurred some time in the past. It is not current anymore, nevertheless it was current in some unspecified time in the future, and that time is what you are shoving your index finger at once you use ところ this fashion.

Bought it? Good! Let’s transfer on to only one extra grammatical distinction between ばかり and ところ.

ばかり for Modifying Nouns

We have solely talked about once we use ばかり and ところ to explain current happenings, like “I simply purchased a gown.” However what if you wish to discuss “a gown you simply purchased,” modifying a noun?

  • ワンピースを買ったばかり。
  • I simply purchased a gown.

You in all probability acknowledge this grammatical sample from earlier examples. When the noun comes first like this, both ばかり or ところ is ok, relying on what vibe you are going for. However if you wish to flip the sentence round and begin it by saying “The gown I simply purchased…,” ばかり tends to work higher more often than not.

  • 買ったばかりのワンピース
    ❓ 買ったところのワンピース
  • a gown I simply purchased

As a result of ばかり focuses on how little time has handed since one thing occurred, it is typically used to specific how new one thing feels. Perhaps you are saying “The gown I simply purchased has a gap in it already!” See? It is sensible, since how not too long ago you purchased the gown is related to the emotions you are expressing in regards to the scenario, which is why ばかり is there.

ばかり is usually used like this to explain belongings you’ve simply purchased, cleaned, repaired, and so on.

Then again, ところ merely factors to a second in time. You hardly ever see ところ getting used this fashion, as a result of the intention to switch nouns is often to attract consideration to how new or recent one thing is to you and make a degree about that.

Folks additionally typically use ばかり to explain occasions that simply occurred, or somebody who simply took a specific motion, like so:

  • 結婚したばかりのカップル
  • a pair who simply acquired married

Once more, that is the place ばかり shines — ところ isn’t used this fashion. You could be about to specific emotions about this couple, or no less than point out one thing related to how they simply acquired married. Perhaps how seeing newlyweds makes you’re feeling glad, or the way you’re planning to purchase a present for the couple who simply acquired married. So keep in mind, when you’re modifying nouns, you are in all probability going to wish to use ばかり.

You Simply Realized!


In the event you might perceive (no less than most of) the 2 sentences above and the completely different vibes they specific, congratulations! You are smarter than you have been “simply” a couple of minutes in the past.

To sum it up, you should use each ばかり and ところ to explain current occasions or actions. However keep in mind, ばかり expresses extra subjectivity and feeling about how not too long ago one thing occurred, whereas ところ provides a extra impartial, goal report of the place you are at on a timeline. And you should use them to speak about previous occasions too, in some circumstances.

Hopefully after studying this text, you’ve got discovered your self in a barely smarter ところ in life than you have been earlier than!

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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