たばかり - Grammar Discussion

English
just did, something just happened

Structure
Verb[ ] + ばかり

View on Bunpro

日本語を勉強しようとしたばかりなのに携帯が鳴った。[する]

Just when I was about to study Japanese, my phone rang.

I’m really struggling with sentences that combine Verb[よう] + とする and Verb[た] + ばかり like this. The grammar says that たばかり means “just did”, which implies past tense. But with “to be about to do” (I assume the intended meaning of しようとする here) it’s harder to understand. Like how you can you be “just about to did something” (or whatever <_<)? Please help! :sweat_smile:

According to Jisho, it rather means something like “to try to do” or “to attempt to do”: https://jisho.org/search/shiyouto

With that translation, the sentence makes more sense to me.

Right, “try to” is another meaning given on Bunpro as well. I referenced the “about to” meaning because it was the one used in the translation. But I agree with you that looking at it as “just tried to” makes much more sense, so thanks!

@mrnoone Any thoughts on this?

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The translation might cause confusion. So I will change it to I have just tried to study Japanese, but my phone rang.

Verb[vol] + とする means that you try to do something/ to attempt to do something/ to be about to do something.

When ようとする is in past tense, it has a nuance of trying and failing(not being able to finish/ not starting an attempt at all despite having the intention to).
https://bunpro.jp/grammar_points/482

AたばかりB means that A happened(ended) just before B.
In little time after A, B happened.

Sorry for late answer, but caught a flu :sob:

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Okay, that makes sense. I hope you feel better!

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So I know this is a year old post, but I want to throw my two cents.

ばかり is used to give your perception of things as if they had only just happened.
In contrast, ~たところ means that you did something just now. It’s literal.

For example:

日本へ来たばかりなので、まだ日本語が話せません。
I only just got to Japan, so I can’t speak Japanese.

We can’t really tell the time frame as the meaning has more to do with the speaker’s perception of time. It could be yesterday, 3 days ago, 10 years ago.

たった今日本へ来たところなので、空港にいます。
I (literally) just got to Japan, so I’m at the airport.

On this sentence we are just stating the given fact that it happened, no opinion or lofty feelings included. That’s why time words like たった今 and さっき are commonly used with this grammar point. Same goes for ~るところ + これから or ~ているところ + 今.

For contrast, if we were to say:

たった今日本へ来たばかりなので、空港にいます。
I just got to Japan, so I’m at the airport.

It has the nuance of “I arrived not too long ago”, rather than “I’m literally getting off the airplane as we speak.”

If you guys want I can dig up the example sentences I was given in class.

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@Ambo100 I have added this video to the Readings section. Cheers!

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