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~うちは/~うちが

~うちは/~うちが

Today’s Grammar Point

~うちは… = while ~, as long as ~

“While a certain condition of ~ continues/continued, another condition … (will) continue(d) also.”

Connection

  • [plain form verb] + うちは …
  • [てform] + いる うちは …
  • ~(が)ない うちは …
  • [いadjective] + うちは …
  • [なadjective] + うちは …
  • [noun] + うちは …

Examples

  1. 元気げんきはたらけるうちは仕事しごとつづけるつもりだ。
    I’m going to continue working as long as I’m healthy enough to do so.
  2. ねつあるうちは風呂ふろはいってはいけません。
    You should not take a bath while you are running a fever.
  3. ゆきっているうちはだれなかった。
    Nobody came while it was snowing.
  4. どもがしずかにあそんでいるうちはあそばせておきましょう。
    Leave the child alone while he/she is playing quietly.
  5. ねつがないうちは大丈夫だいじょうぶだ。
    You will be OK as long as you don’t develop a fever.
  6. わたしのくろうちは絶対ぜったいにこの土地とちらない。
    I will never sell this land as long as I’m alive.
    くろいうち is a customary expression meaning “while … is alive” and is often used in a similar context.
  7. まだあかるいうちは仕事しごとつづけよう。
    I’ll carry on working as long as the sun is out.
  8. わかうちはつかれをらない。
    When you are young, you don’t know the meaning of fatigue.
  9. 学生がくせいうちは、なんでもできる。
    You can do anything while you are a student.
  10. 小学生しょうがくせいうちはきなことをさせてあげましょう。
    Let children do whatever they want to do while they are in the primary school.

Variation

~うち ….。

If the particle after うち is changed from は to が, it states the time described with ~ is/was a/the special time (in the person’s life) – mostly in a positive meaning, so the words like しあわせ (happiness), 一番いちばん (No. 1), はな  (the best time) and 勝負しょうぶ (the crunch time) are often used in the second part of the sentence.

Examples

  1. あるけるうちがしあわせだった。
    I was happy when I was able to walk.
  2. あかぼうているうちが一番いちばんかわいい。
    Babies are cutest when they are asleep.
  3. らないうちがはな
    Happiness is not knowing. (← You are better off while you didn’t know.)
    はな here means ”the best time” or “the best days.”
  4. 元気げんきうちが一番いちばんだ。
    Your best time is when you are still healthy.
  5. 新人しんじんうちが勝負しょうぶだ。
    The time to act is while you are a new comer.
  • うち

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