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Natsuyasumi-chū, hitotsu-mo jiko-ga nakatta. (There was no accident during the summer vacation.)

Situation1: A teacher talks to her pupils on the first day of the autumn school term.

教師: 夏休み中、1つも事故がなく、みんな元気で再会できて、うれしいです。今日からまた、いっしょに勉強しましょう。

Kyōshi: Natsuyasumi-chū, hitotsu-mo jiko-ga naku, minna genki-de saikai-dekite, ureshii-desu. Kyō-kara mata, issho-ni benkyō-shimashō.

Teacher: I am happy that we are together again, and that there were no accidents during the summer vacation. Beginning from today, let’s start studying again.

Today, we will introduce the meanings and usage of the suffix ~中(ちゅう/じゅう) meaning “in.” In the pattern X中, 中 is pronounced as ちゅう or じゅう, depending on the kind of X(noun). Xちゅう expresses that something is inside X, e.g., 空気(くうき)ちゅうの酸素(さんそ)が減(へ)ると危険(きけん)だ (If the amount of oxygen in the air decreases, it will be dangerous). When X is a noun expressing a range or limit, such as 夏休(なつやす)み(summer vacation) used in Situation 1, Xちゅう expresses a certain point during X. Other examples: 今週(こんしゅう)ちゅう(within this week) and 存命(ぞんめい)ちゅう (while he/she was living). When X is a noun used to express an activity, it shows that X is something that is currently being undertaken, as in 工事(こうじ)ちゅう (under construction), 授業(じゅぎょう)ちゅう (in the lesson), 会議(かいぎ)ちゅう (in the conference) and 旅行(りょこう)ちゅう (while traveling).

Situation 2: Two female colleagues are talking about an event they worked on today.

グレイ: イベント、大成功だったね。一日中、うちのブースにお客様が途切れることがなくて。

田町: それはうれしいけど、その間中、立ちっぱなしだったから、疲れちゃった。

Gray: Ibento, daiseikō-datta-ne. Ichinichi-jū, uchi-no būsu-ni okyakusama-ga togireru koto-ga nakute.

Tamachi: Sore-wa ureshii-kedo, sono aida-jū, tachippanashi-datta-kara, tsukarechatta.

Gray: The event today was very successful, wasn’t it? People visited our booth nonstop all day.

Tamachi: I’m grateful, but I’m also tired because I was standing that entire time.

Xじゅう means the entire range of X where X is a noun used to express a certain period, as in 一年(いちねん)じゅう (throughout the year), 夏休みじゅう (the entire summer vacation), or a noun to express a space, as in 日本(にほん)じゅう (all over Japan). When X is a noun used to express a group like 会社(かいしゃ, company) or 親戚(しんせき, relatives), Xじゅう refers to all members of the group.

Bonus Dialogue: At a pub, Mr. Sere is consulting with his colleague Mr. Mita about his love life.

セレ: ぼくは、やっぱり、ゆりと別(わか)れた方(ほう)がいいんじゃないかと思(おも)うんだ。

三田: バカな! ゆりちゃんみたいないい子は、世界中(せかいじゅう)、どこを探(さが)したって、いないよ。

セレ: わかってる。だけど、ゆりは、親孝行(おやこうこう)な人(ひと)だから、ご両親(りょうしん)が歳(とし)を取(と)ったとき、そばにいられなかったら、つらいだろうな。

三田: 30年後(ねんご)のために、今(いま)の幸(しあわ)せを捨(す)てるわけ?

セレ: だって、今年中(ことしじゅう)には、結論(けつろん)を出(だ)さないと。ぼくは来年(らいねん)、海外(かいがい)に転勤(てんきん)になるだろうし。

三田: そうだ、今年中に子供(こども)を作(つく)るといいよ。それなら、親(おや)たちも、二人(ふたり)の結婚を望(のぞ)むよ。

セレ: そういうのは、ぼくは、ちょっと…。

三田: [ひとりごと] 大恋愛中(だいれんあいちゅう)だというのに、超(ちょう)まじめ人間(にんげん)は、やっかいなものだなあ。

Sere: I think maybe I should break up with Yuri.

Mita: That’s stupid! Even if you searched the entire world you would never be able to find a woman as good as Yuri.

Sere: I know. But, she’s dutiful to her parents and will be sad if she can’t stay with them when they get old.

Mita: Are you throwing away your current happiness for the sake of something that might happen in 30 years?

Sere: Well, I have to make a decision about it this year. I may be transferred to a foreign country next year.

Mita: I’ve got an idea! You should have a baby with her this year. In that case, your parents and her parents would want you to get married.

Sere: I don’t know if I like that idea.

Mita: [To himself] Very sincere people like this only make things more difficult, even though they love each other so much.

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