「midnight」と「the middle of the night」の違い

I often stay up late. Sometimes I'm working on teaching materials. Sometimes I'm correcting the writing of students. Sometimes I'm programming. It depends, but it's not uncommon for me to be awake at 2am.

I was talking with someone about it, and she said:
× Oh, you were still awake at midnight.
Well, it's true. I was awake at midnight, but I was still awake after midnight. What she had wanted to say was:
○ Oh, you were still awake in the middle of the night.
"Midnight" means 12am, the hour after 11pm. "The middle of the night" means the general time when most people are sleeping, often thought of as between 1am and 4am. The dictionary might list other meanings for "midnight", but I think most people these days think of midnight as 12am.
  • midnight 夜の12時
  • in the middle of the night 真夜中に、深夜に、夜中に、夜半に、夜更けに (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I've got an important presentation to give tomorrow, but I'm going to try to go to bed at a decent hour tonight.
  • at a decent time = at a decent hour わきまえた時間に (definition from Eijiro on the Web) (? Is this right? Someone let me know if this Japanese is correct, please.) = not too late
I don't want to be up until the middle of the night since it might make me too sleepy tomorrow. I think I'll try to sleep just after midnight tonight.

The other day I went to my friend Akimasa's performance in Roppongi. That's Akimasa in the photo above. It was a great show, and it even finished a little before midnight. Sometimes I go to hear techno DJs playing in the middle of the night, though. Maybe I can go to hear one after my presentation.


「next month」と「the next month」の違い

Last week I asked someone about their plans for the next month, and he told me:
”I have a business trip at the end of July.”
It was strange, because I wasn't asking about the end of July, I was asking about the next 30 days. He thought I had asked about "next month". Are you confused?
  • the next month = the next 30 days (today, that means until July 19) 30日以内
  • next month = the month after this month (today, that means July) 来月
It's raining terribly right now because of this typhoon. Usually, typhoons don't come until next month. There's a lot of rain today, and the humidity is going to continue for the next month because it's the middle of rainy season.

Anyway, like the woman with the pink umbrella in the photo above, I'm going to run to the station now before the typhoon gets stronger. I hope everyone gets home safely!



I had posted about Tully's funny mistake in front of the Yaesu store before:
I was pleased to see yesterday that they had fixed the spelling mistake on the sign!

It seems that they changed their operating hours, opening half an hour later than they used to. I guess they took that opportunity to fix the spelling, too.

I sometimes make spelling mistakes. Today I made a mistake with "causative", writing "causitive".
  • causative verb 使役動詞
There's really no justification for spelling mistakes, though, particularly when it's so easy to use a spell-checker. Computer grammar checkers might still have a long way to go, and sometimes people use the wrong words, like "their" instead of "there" or "sacred" instead of "scared".
  • sacred【形】〔神にささげた〕神聖な、聖なる
  • scared【形】おびえた、怖がる、怖がって
  • (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
However, when it comes to plain spelling mistakes, like mine above, there's no excuse.

Good job, Tully's! I'm glad you fixed your sign.


「so that」の使い方

Someone was complaining to me about a leader.
× He is too old style so that he can't push people.
○ His style is so old that he can't lead people in the right direction .
The pattern above is:
  • so [adj] that [sentence]
It means that the degree of the adjective is very high, which causes some result.
You might be thinking "but Renick, I've heard 'so that' before." You are right, but "so that" has a different meaning.
  • [sentence A] so that [sentence B]
"So that" means "for the purpose of" or "in order to". The difference is the grammar. "So that" connects sentences, but notice these patterns:
  • for the purpose of [noun]
  • in order to [verb]
There's another recipe that I'm practicing these days. It's this Chinese-style cold dish that uses dried tofu and mushrooms with sweet soy sauce. It's so delicious that I want to eat it every week, but I'm not good at making it yet. I'm going to practice this weekend so that I can improve my skill.

I have written about this subject a few times before. Take a look: