Today’s Question

Can you explain the difference between:
A) 十二月じゅうにがつから一月いちがつにかけてとてもいそがしかった。
B) 十二月じゅうにがつから一月いちがつまでとてもいそがしかった。

Today’s Grammar Point: ~にかけて

〜にかけて is used when you are stating a vague ending point of something continuous. This can be used for both a time interval or a location range. It is similar to ~まで and both ~にかけて and ~まで are often used with ~から, which states the starting point. The main differences between ~にかけて and 〜まで are:

  • ~まで gives the impression that it has the clear cut ending while ~にかけて gives a vague impression when it ends/ended
  • ~まで can be used with a verb (dictionary form) but ~にかけて can only be used after a noun.
  • ~まで can be followed by the particle に and ~までに means “by” to describe a deadline but ~にかけて cannot be used with に and cannot be used to indicate a deadline.


[noun] + にかけて


十二月じゅうにがつから一月いちがつにかけてとてもいそがしかった。(Today’s question sentence)
I was very busy through December into January. (I’m not sure when it started to be busy and when the busy period finished but around December and January, I was very busy)
Cf. 十二月じゅうにがつから一月いちがつまでとてもいそがしかった。
(I wasn’t busy until November but) I was very busy from December till January (but after January I’m not busy at all).

It seems there will be a heavy rainfall from tomorrow morning until tomorrow night.
(We can’t use まで here because we don’t really know when the rain is going to stop.)

I was a keen tennis player from my late teens until my twenties.

I’ll be traveling in Europe from July to August.

I’ll take some time off work from autumn till winter.

It snowed in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.

Mary suffered a burn from her right knee down to her right foot.

I have a pain from my neck down to my back.

I will study Japanese over the weekend.

It’s likely to rain toward the evening.

When you cannot use ~にかけて

You cannot use ~にかけて when the end point is specific.

The exhibition is from 1 July till 31 August.
(×)展覧会てんらんかい七月しちがつ一日ついたちから八月はちがつ三十一日さんじゅういちにちにかけてです。(too specific)
(✓)展覧会てんらんかい七月しちがつ上旬じょうじゅんから八月はちがつ下旬げじゅんにかけてです。(vague enough)

I’m tired because I walked from my office to the station.
(×)会社かいしゃからえきにかけてあるいたからつかれた。(too specific)
(✓)会社かいしゃからえきにかけていつもみちんでいる。(vague enough)

I fiddle with my smart phone after I come home from school until I go to bed.
(×)学校がっこうからかえってからるにかけて、スマホをいじっている。(かけて can’t be used with a verb)
(?)学校がっこうからかえってからよるにかけて、スマホをいじっている。 – The reason for the question mark is because this sounds slightly awkward. かけて gives a vague impression to the whole sentence and “the time coming home from school” sounds a bit too specific.


~かけては is a completely different expression, which will be explained in another occasion.

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