833 - ところを

JLPT N1: ところを

The phrase ところを can be used when you are acknowledging the situation of the listener as it relates to their action.

Specifically, you use ところを when remarking on what the listener did [does / will do] even though they are in a certain figurative "place."

It tends to show up in idiomatic phrases and greetings, such as when thanking someone for going out of their way to do something:

こちらから伺うべきところをわざわざおいでくださり、恐縮しております。
こちら から うかがう べき ところを わざわざ おいでくださり、 きょうしゅく しております。
Thank you so much for coming here when I should be the one going to visit you.
Literally: “here / I + from + visit + should + ところを + expressly + coming + (honorably) give (me) (and), + being grateful / being ashamed + am (humbly) doing.”
Note: It is very difficult to translate 恐縮しております. I came very close to putting both "I'm terribly grateful to you for coming..." and "I'm terribly sorry for having you come..."


お休みところを対応してくださり、ありがとうございました。
おやすみ の ところを たいおう して くださり、 ありがとうございました。
Thank you very much for attending to this even though it is your day off.
Literally: “day off / holiday + の + ところを + dealing with / corresponding + do (and) + (honorably) give (me) (and), + thank you.”

 

I've yet to use ところを in my own Japanese.

...I really need to start throwing myself into some more formal situations, don't I?

That said, we don't necessarily need to be using overly formal language in order to use ところを

一言「ごめん」と言えば済むところを、彼は意地でも謝ろうとしない。
ひとこと 「ごめん」 と いえば すむ ところを、 かれ は いじでも あやまろうとしない。
A simple “Sorry” would suffice, but he absolutely refuses to apologize.
Literally: “single word / a few words + sorry + と + if (he) says + finish / be completed + ところを, + he + は + at any price (=stubbornness / willpower + でも) + let’s apologize + と + doesn’t do.”

 

👷 Construction 👷

ところを works like this:

Plain-Form Wordところを
NOUNところを
na-adjectiveところを


We have yet to see just one of these patterns:

バスで来ればところを、どうして歩いてきたの。
バス で くれば らくな ところを、 どうして あるいて きた の。
Why did you walk when it would have been easier to come by bus?
Literally: “bus + で + if (you) come + easy + ところを, + why + walk (and) + came + の.”

 

Done!

That wasn't so bad, was it?