Japanese Grammar Bank


Today, we’ll be studying how to express simultaneous actions in Japanese.

Without learning this grammar, you might end up confusing a Japanese person with your timelines of things, so it’s best to get on top of this.


ながら nagara is like saying “while” in English.

When using it, you should use the polite form of verbs and add ながら instead of ます (masu).


Polite form of verb + ながら

An important thing to remember is that even if your sentence talks about something that happened in the past, you don’t use the た (ta) form for the ながら part.

The key is that the ながら part should be something that happens alongside the main action, so the main action would be put in the past tense.


If we want to translate: “I talked while walking.”

arukinagara hanashimashita.
aruitanagara hanashimashita
✅ Correct because the ending verb was put in the past tense.❌ Incorrect because there was an effort to put the ながら in the past tense

When added to nouns or adjectives, this can mean “although,” which is covered in this article.

Aruki nagara hanasu.


Talking while walking.
Terebi o minagara neru.


Sleeping while watching TV.
View More Examples:
音楽を聴きながら勉強する。Ongaku o kikinagara benkyou suru.Studying while listening to music.
食事をしながら新聞を読む。Shokuji o shinagara shinbun o yomu.Reading the newspaper while having a meal.
走りながら笑顔で挨拶する。Hashiri nagara egao de aisatsu suru.Greeting with a smile while running.
電話をかけながら運転する。Denwa o kakenagara unten suru.Driving while making a phone call.
雨が降り始めたながら散歩に出かける。Ame ga furihajimeta nagara sanpo ni dekakeru.Going for a walk while it’s starting to rain.
泳ぎながら太陽を眺める。Oyogi nagara taiyou o nagameru.Watching the sun while swimming.


When you want to express a situation where you do something within the confines of a condition, use たまま (ta mama) instead of ながら(nagara).

To do this, just add まま to the end of the verb in its past-tense form (the た form).


Past tense verb + まま

Let’s see some examples in context:

Neta mama dekiru.


You can do it while lying down.
Tabeta mama de hanasu.


Talking with food in your mouth.
View More Examples:
出かけたまま忘れ物をした。Dekaketa mama wasuremono o shita.I forgot something while leaving.
走ったままでバスに乗り込んだ。Hashitta mama de basu ni norikonda.I got on the bus while still running.
眠ったままで夢を見た。Nemutta mama de yume o mita.I had a dream while sleeping.
電話を掛けたままで出かけた。Denwa o kaketa mama de dekaketa.I left while leaving the phone on.
泳いだままで海から出た。Oyoida mama de umi kara deta.I got out of the sea while still swimming.
そのままで問題ない。Sono mama de mondai nai.It’s fine as it is, no problem.
笑ったままで話を続けた。Waratta mama de hanashi o tsuzuketa.I continued talking while laughing.
疲れたままで寝ることにした。Tsukareta mama de neru koto ni shita.I decided to go to bed while tired.


You can use 間に (aida ni) to express something happening within a certain condition or events that occur in the same timeframe. Here are the structures:


Casual Verb + 間に

Noun + の + 間に

な na adjective + な + 間に

い i adjective + 間に

Here are examples to better understand those structures:

Shigoto no aida ni kyuukei o torimashita.


I took a break during work.
Gorufu no aida ni tori o mimashita.


I saw a bird while playing golf.
View More Examples:
昼寝の間に雨が降り始めました。Hirune no aida ni ame ga furihajimemashita.It started raining during my nap.
料理の間に友達が遊びに来ました。Ryouri no aida ni tomodachi ga asobi ni kimashita.My friends came to visit while I was cooking.
会話の間に彼女は笑顔になりました。Kaigou no aida ni kanojo wa egao ni narimashita.She smiled during the conversation.
旅行の間に美しい景色を楽しんだ。Ryokou no aida ni utsukushii keshiki o tanoshinda.I enjoyed the beautiful scenery during the trip.
散歩の間に新しい友達を作りました。Sanpo no aida ni atarashii tomodachi o tsukurimashita.I made new friends while taking a walk.
ゴルフの間に鳥を見ました。Gorufu no aida ni tori o mimashita.I saw a bird while playing golf.
昼休みの間にランチを買いました。Hiruyasumi no aida ni ranchi o kaimashita.I bought lunch during the lunch break.
車の運転の間に音楽を聴いています。Kuruma no unten no aida ni ongaku o kiiteimasu.I listen to music while driving.
仕事の間に会議を開きました。Shigoto no aida ni kaigi o hirakimashita.We held a meeting during work.
飛行機の間に映画を見ました。Hikouki no aida ni eiga o mimashita.I watched a movie during the flight.
の間に家で読書を楽しんでいます。Ame no aida ni ie de dokusho o tanoshindeimasu.I enjoy reading at home during the rain.
仕事の間に休憩をとりました。Shigoto no aida ni kyuukei o torimashita.I took a break during work.
授業の間にメモを取りました。Jugyou no aida ni memo o torimashita.I took notes during the class.
早朝の間にジョギングをしています。Souchou no aida ni jogingu o shiteimasu.I go jogging early in the morning.


Here is a summary of the grammar words studied in this lesson:

  • ながら is added to the polite form of verbs in place of ます.
  • ながら is more for describing simultaneous actions whereas たまま is more for describing an action being done whilst in a certain condition.
  • 間に is to express things happening in the same timeframe or condition.

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How to express simultaneous actions?

ながら is like saying “while” in English.

The key is that the ながら part should be something that happens alongside the main action, so the main action would be put in the past tense.

歩きながら話す。(aruki nagara hanasu) Talking while walking.

When you want to express a situation where you do something within the confines of a condition, use たまま (ta mama) instead of ながら(nagara).

寝たままできる。(neta mama dekiru) You can do it while lying down.

How to express potential in Japanese?

Conveniently, there’s actually a potential form of conjugation of verbs in Japanese.

The potential form is used for personal-related things as well as general possibilities.

For Group 1 verbs (うu-verbs).

Here, we replace the う u-vowel sound with its え e-vowel counterpart and add る ru.

飲む nomu (to drink) becomes 飲める nomeru (can drink).

For Group 2 verbs(るru-verbs).

We simply swap out the る ru ending with られる rareru.

食べる taberu (to eat) becomes 食べられる taberareru (can eat).

Here a three exceptions you’ll want to remember:

する suru (to do)

→ 出来る dekiru (can do) 

くる kuru (to come)

→ こられる korareru (can come) 

ある aru (to be)

→ あり得る ariuru/arieiru (can exist/can be/possible) 

How do you say and in Japanese?

The particle と (to) is used to connect nouns or noun phrases that are being compared or are in a partnership.

This is probably the simplest way to convey “and” and one you’ll use all the time.


Kanojo wa neko to inu wo katte iru.

She has a cat and a dog as pets.


Kare wa jitensha to basu de tsuukin shite iru.

He commutes to work by bicycle and bus.

How do you say with in Japanese?

The particle と (to) is a versatile particle in Japanese that is often used to indicate the person, thing, or entity that someone is “with” or “together with.”

This particle can be used with both animate and inanimate objects.



Kare wa neko to kurasu shiteimasu.

He lives with a cat.


Watashi wa kare to issho ni benkyou shimasu.

I study with him.

Can I study Japanese in Japan with LTL?

Absolutely! We offer group and individual classes in Tokyo.

If you’d prefer to learn Japanese from the comfort of your home, you should have a look at our online lessons on Flexi Classes (we even have a 7 day free trial!)

Where can I learn more Japanese grammar?

We regularly update our Japanese Grammar Bank with more free lessons like this one.