Shidai has many uses and honestly, can be quite confusing if not studied properly. We’ll try discussing them here and hopefully, help you get a better understanding of it. 

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You know how when you don’t understand a language, everything sounds like gibberish to you? There’s a high chance that you are past that point in the case that you are looking at this blog! Shidai (次第) is actually quite a high level word and can be found in both N3 そして N2 tests.

Although it has different uses, usages mainly revolve around doing something immediately and how an action depends on another action. This might all get confusing if we discuss it this way so we have broken down the different usages of Shidai for you. There’s quite a lot so brace yourself!

Verb (masu root) + shidai / Noun + shidai = “As soon as, -then immediately”

This phrase is mainly used referring to a sequence of actions. This is where the speaker plans on doing something immediately after executing an action. Just to make things clear, this 文法 point cannot be used with a past tense. This is used mainly for planned actions so don’t get it confused with an action that created an unexpected result! Here is an example.

京都に着き次第を電話差し上げます。
Kyoto ni tすき shidai wo denwa sashi agemasu.
As soon as I get to Kyoto, I will call you.

The example above shows a sequence of planned or premeditated actions. Here are a few more examples for your reference. 

雨が止み次第出発します。
Ame ga yami shidai shuppatsu shimasu.
I will leave as soon as it stops raining.
仕事が終わり次第帰ります。
Shigoto ga owari shidai kaerimasu.
As soon as I finish work, I will go home.
分かり次第答えます。
Wakari shidai kotaemasu.
I will answer as soon as I understand (it).

As you can see from all  the examples above, you simply take your 動詞 root+masu and replace masu with shidai, then attach your planned action/動詞 after. Very simple and easy to use! 

Noun + shidai = “Depending on”

This phrase revolves around the use of -shidai as the English phrase “-depending on” and is quite easy to use. Simply attach shidai at the end of a noun. Here are a few examples.

日にち次第です。
Hinichi shidai desu.
It depends on when/the day.
レストランの人気は食べ物次第。
Resutoran no ninki wa tabemono shidai.
A restaurants popularity depends on its フード.
私の人生はあなた次第です。
Watashi no jinsei wa アナタ shidai desu.
My life depends on you.

(〜は ( = wa)  or 動詞 か ( = ka)  動詞 negative form ~ないかは ( = ~ nai kawa) ) +  noun + 次第 ( = しだい = shidai) + だ ( = da) ・です ( = desu) = “-depends on + (noun) / It’s up to-”

This is actually similar to the 文法 point prior to this one where it is used as a way to say “-depending on”. The main difference is how it  includes the two possible outcomes in the sentence. This is the equivalent of saying “Whether we ____ or not depends on ____.”. Here is an example.

私たちは行くか行かないかはあなた次第。
Watashi tachi wa iku ka ikanai ka wa アナタ shidai.
It depends on you whether or not we go out.

We know it looks quite intimiデート to incorporate in your 文法 but it is actually quite easy to use as long as you have a good understanding of your 動詞 forms. Here are a few more sentence examples for your reference.

旅行に行けるかどうかは天候次第です。
Ryoko ni ikeru ka douka wa tenkou shidai desu.
Whether we go on vacation/トリップ or not depends on the weather.
信じるか信じないかはあなた次第です。
Shinjiru ka shinjinai ka wa アナタ shidai desu.
It depends on you whether or not you believe me.

-shidai ni = “Gradually, little by little”

Shidai is actually quite a versatile 文法 point so here’s another way to use it! It can also be used as a way to say “gradually”, “little by little”, and “slowly”. Here is an example.

風は次第におさまった。
Kaze wa shidai ni osamatta.
The wind gradually died down.

As you can see from the sentence above, a noun+wa /ga is found before “-shidai ni” followed by the 動詞. Here are a few more sentence examples for your reference. 

空が次第に暗くなってきた。
Sora ga shidai ni kuraku natte kita.
The sky is getting darker.
音は次第にちいさくなります。
Oto wa shidai ni chiisaku narimashita.
The noise/sound gradually became fainter.
その色は黄色からから緑色へと次第に変わる。
Sono iro wa kiiro kara midori iro he to shidai ni kawaru.
The colors gradually fade from yellow to green.
BondLingoでオンラインで日本語を学ぶ

– shidai = To explain the reasoning behind doing something and something happening

このため 文法 point, it is considered as very 丁寧 so there is a high possibility of hearing it in formal and business settings. It is used to explain the outcome of something and has the same function as “..because of..”. An example can be found below.

道が混んでいて遅れたという次第です。
Michi ga konde ite okureta to iu shidai desu.
I was late because there was traffic.

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