〜ている間に vs 〜ている時


#1

Anyone know the grammar difference here?

お風呂に入っている時、電話があった。
Got a phone call while in the bath
テレビお見ている間に、電話があった。
Got a phone call while watching TV.

Both are 例文 from different chapters of Genki (〜時, and 〜間に)

When you want to say “an event happened while something else was happening” – are ている間に and ている時 interchangable? Or do they have different implications?

Did some due diligence (googled, checked other grammar sites, asked on HiNative) and couldn’t find any answers. thx!


#2

According to the book, Basic Connections: Making your Japanese Flow:

時 is used for “when.” It can be used to describe things without referring to a particular time.
Ex. 寿司を食べる時には お箸は使わなくてもいい。
When you eat sushi, you don’t have to use chopsticks.

間 (also like ながら) - expresses “while.” The two clauses used with 間 must have the same duration and be concurrent.
Ex. 日本にいる間、できるだけ日本語で話します。
When I am in Japan, I’ll speak in Japanese as much as possible.


#3

I think the main difference is less that those two specific sentences mean different things, but that 間 is more restrictive than とき. I’m pretty sure 間 can only be used for while when it’s with something that has a duration.


#4

Those examples are fine, but, when you want to talk about an event happening while something else was going on, I think ところ is better.

お風呂に入っていたところ電話がかかってきた。
テレビを見ていたところ電話がかかってきた。


#5

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