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When, that time とき

Oni's picture
If you don't know when to say something, you will never say it!

Using とき toki - at the time when...

With a noun add a の

[Looking at a photo]
私は 学生 の ときには とても 若かったね。

watashi wa gakusei no toki ni wa totemo wakakatta ne. [looking at a photo] When I was a student, I was very young, wasn't I?

And with verbs...

simple past
フロリダに 行った ときに これを 買いました。
furorida ni itta toki ni kore wo kaimashita. When I went to Florida, I bought this.

フロリダに 行く ときは おみやげを 買います。
furorida ni iku toki wa omiyage wo kaimasu. When I go to Florida, I will buy souvenirs.

寝る とき いつも 布団で 寝ます。
neru toki itsumo futon de nemasu. When I sleep, I always sleep on a futon.

For more information on time related words, click here

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Why は?

私は 学生 の ときには とても 若かったね。
I am not able to understand why is there a は after に in this sentence?


This is what people call a 'contrastive' は, where the は serves to point out how -this- instance is different from any other instance. In the example sentence in particular, ときには is making it 'how young I was then!'. The whole sentence reads like 'How young I was back when I was a student!' as opposed to dropping the は, and then the sentence would read 'I was young when I was as student.' It would really seem without the second は that you were saying 'I was such a young student, at that time,' or something. That is, you'd be emphasizing how you were a -young student-, rather than how you were young -back then-. It would be a rather unnatural sentence without the second は unless, in fact, you had skipped grades or were somehow younger than average for your class.

(I'm not a native speaker, though, so, my gut feeling on questions of nuance like this may be slightly askew and should be taken with a grain of salt.)