Japanese Lesson 27 – How to use the words of time and date in Japanese sentence

I explain how to use the words of time and date in Japanese sentence.
In many cases, time and date are describe as an adverbial phrase by adding any particle after the words.

Basic adverbial phrase

Basically, you have only to learn above three phrases.

When “ni” is used, the phrase points a fixed time, day, month, year or day of the week.
In English, different prepositions are used at that time.
For example, “at” for time, “on” for date and day of the week, “in” for month and year.
In Japanese, you use “ni” in all cases.

“Kara” means the starting point of a time period, and “made” means the end point.
“Kara” corresponds to “from” in English, and “made” correspond to “until”.
(“Made” is not equal to the pronunciation of an English word “made”. You must pronounce it as “ma’de”.)

at 3 o’clock = sanji ni
on Wednesday = suiyoobi ni
in 2020 = nisen-nijuu-nen ni

from April 1st = shigatsu tsuitachi kara
until 10:30 p.m. = gogo juuji han made
from Monday to Friday = getsuyoo kara kin’yoo made

Expression of approximate time

We often use the expression of approximate time in the conversation.
At that time, the following words are added to the time.

When “goro” is used, the phrase points approximate time.
In English, it is expressed by using “around” or “about”.

“Mae” means the prior time, and “sugi” means immediately after the time.
When the time lag is short, “sukoshi” or “chotto” meaning “a little” is added before the words.

These words are put after the word of time.

If “goro” and “ni” are combined, the “ni” is sometimes omitted.
(Only “goro” has the meaning of “goro ni”.)

around 4 o’clock = yo-ji goro ni / yo-ji goro
from before 6 a.m. to after 8 a.m. = roku-ji mae kara hachi-ji sugi made
at a little past 2:15 = ni-ji juugo-fun chotto sugi ni

“Choodo” is used at the just time.
It can be put both before and after the time word.

just at 1 o’clock = choodo ichi-ji ni / ichi-ji choodo ni
from just 9:00 = choodo ku-ji kara / ku-ji choodo kara

Expression of approximate date

About the expression of approximate date, there are many varieties.

First, “goro” is often used for date or day of the week, and you can use it for month and year.

About month and year, there are some words pointing the position in the period.
They are “hajime”, “nakagoro” and “owari”. Please check the meaning of each word in the table.

Because these words are nouns, a particle “no” is used when they are connected with a word of month or year.
But “no” is sometimes omitted. Please make the words as you like.

“Joojun”, “chuujun” and “gejun” in orange parts are similar to above words.
But they are used only for month.
They have the nuance of three parts in a month.
Joojun = 1st to 10th / Chuujun = 11th to 20th / Gejun = 21th to the end of the month

around October 10th = juu-gatsu tooka goro / juu-gatsu tooka goro ni
from the beginning of July to the middle of September = shichi-gatsu hajime kara ku-gatsu no nakagoro made
until the end of February of 2018 = nisen-juuhachi-nen ni-gatsu gejun made
in the second half of 2015 = nisen-juugo-nen no koohan ni

Expression of the length of time and date

When you express the length of time and date, you put a word “no aida” after the word of length or connect the word of length and a suffix “kan”.
Each of them is an adverbial phrase.

About the length of time and date, you can use the same words shown in the page of LESSON-26 for hour, minute, second, day and year.

But for hour, only “-kan” is used. “No aida” is never used.
And the number 1 of day is read as “tsuitachi” for date. But when you use it as length, it is read as “ichi-nichi”.

For month, “kagetsu” and “tsuki” are used. “Gatsu” is not used.

“Tsuki” is used only for 1, 2 and 3.

I read this book for 8 hours from 7.p.m.

Watashi wa kono hon o gogo 7-ji kara 8-jikan yomi mashita.

I stayed in Japan for 3 years from 2005 to 2007.

Watashi wa Nihon ni 2005 nen kara 2007 nen made 3 nen no aida i mashita.

About day, month and year, there are the words meaning the half.
They are often used.

I visited Kyoto before 6 months.

Watashi wa hantoshi mae ni Kyooto e iki mashita.

Interrogative about time and date

As explained in the page of LESSON-13, the general interrogative to ask about time and date is “itsu”.
Basically, this is used for asking about time and date when the action which is being talked about in the conversation is done.

But, sometimes you want to ask about time and date in detail.
You must request the answer of time, day, week, month or year.
To request them directly, you can use the interrogative words with “nan”.

When you ask about the month, “nan-gatsu” is used.
When you ask about the length of months, “nan-kagetsu” and “nan-kagetsukan” are used.

When you ask about year, “nan-nen” is used but it is also used when you ask about the length of years.

What time is it now?

Ima nan-ji desu ka?
Ima nan-ji nan-pun desu ka? (You want to know the time in detail.)

In these Japanese sentences, the subject is omitted.
For example, the answer is the following.

It’s 3:20 now.
Ima san-ji nijuppun desu.

What day of the week today?

Kyoo wa nan-yoobi desu ka?

Today is Thursday.
Kyoo wa Mokuyoo desu.

How many days will you visit Japan?

Anata wa nan-nichikan Nihon e iku no desu ka?

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