Whenever: 毎~, ~毎に, & ~おきに

第88課: Whenever: 毎~, ~毎に, & ~おきに

This lesson is about speech modals that describe repetition of circumstances. Though in some respects, there are striking commonalities among these expressions, pay very close attention to detail as all information in this lesson is relevant in further understanding Japanese time phrases.


Though English has the single word “every…”, Japanese does not. Rather, there are 毎~ and ~毎に, but their combinations, exact readings, and exact nuances cause issues. 

  朝 晩 夜 日 時間 週間 月間 年間
 毎~ まいあさ
 まいばん まいよ まいにち まいじ まいしゅう まいげつ
 ~毎に あさごとに ひとばんごとに
 よごとに 1日ごとに
 (1)じかんごとに (1)しゅうごとに いっかげつごとに

Usage Notes

1. You may also use these expressions with the words for the seasons. ~ごとに is on the decline in general, so you may not get chances to hear it very often. It also can be seen after verbs, but this has also declined in usage. 

  春 夏 秋 冬
 毎~ まいはる
 まいしゅん (書き言葉)
 まいか (書き言葉; Rare)
 まいしゅう (書き言葉)
 まいとう (書き言葉; Rare)
 ~毎に はるごとに なつごとに あきごとに ふゆごとに

2. まいちょう is rare and very formal. It is more likely to be in writing. 
3.  ~毎に can also be translated as “X by X”. So, 1時間ごとに = “hour by hour”. 
4. “Night after night” can be な. A similar expression is あさゆうな meaning “day and evening” in a repetitive sense. These phrases are not usually used in the spoken language.
5. “Month by month” can also be 月々つきづき.
6. 毎~ must never be used with non-temporal phrases.
7. 毎年 and 毎月 are usually read as まいとし and まいつき respectively.


1. 毎朝散歩に出かけます。
    I go out on a walk every morning. 

2. 毎時50キロメートルの速度そくど
    50 kilometers per hour

3. はは毎朝散歩します。
    My mom walks every morning.

4. 毎日どこでご飯を食べますか。
    Where do you eat every day? 

5. 日本人とアメリカ人は毎日三回食事まいにちさんかいしょくじをするのが普通ふつうだ。
    Japanese and Americans usually eat three times every day. 


1.Try making a sentence with ことあるごとに (With every little thing)
2. Translate ことあるごとに、彼を思い出すんだよ。

Using ~ごとに

~ごとに has several usages. Other than phrases such as ことあるごとに, it is hardly ever used after verbs. However, it is always very old-fashioned when after verbs to mean “whenever” (See ~度に below). There are four distinct situations that you may see ~ごとに used in. 

1. For every constant A (place, point of time, or person), a repetition B occurs.

2. For every variable A (place/person), a different thing exists.

3. It shows that something takes place once every given amount of time.

4. As you repeat a certain constant A, a change progresses. (Rarely seen with verbs)


6. 祝日しゅくじつ{ごと・のたび}に、家族みんなでドライブに出かけることにしてますよ。(話し言葉)
    The whole family goes out on a drive {every/whenever there is a} holiday.

Speech Style Note: ~のたびに would make it more 話し言葉的.

7. その企業きぎょうループは、会社ごとに、それぞれの社是しゃぜ社則しゃそくがあるから、よく注意してください。
As for that corporation group, every company has its own policies and rules. So, please pay close  attention.

8. 一雨ごとに、もっと暖かくなる。
    With each rain, it gets warmer.

9. ことあるごとに反対はんたいするのはだめだよ。
    It’s bad for you to be against with every little thing.

10. 四年ごとに閏年うるうどしになって、オリンピックが開かれるということは常識じょうしきだ。
It’s common sense that every four years there is a leap year, and the Olympics are held.

Grammar Note: 開かれる is the passive form of the 五段 verb 開く.
漢字 Note: 閏 is not a 常用漢字. So, you aren’t responsible for it at this time.  

 Every Time

For “every time”, 毎度まいど毎回まいかい毎次まいじたびに, and 都度つど exist. The first two are different in that the former is stronger and seen in set phrases like 毎度ありがとうございます. For when you want to say you attend every time, you need to use 毎回 instead. 毎次 is quite formal is used in the sense of “whenever” but is not used in the spoken language.

11. 六時間ごとくすり服用ふくようしなくてはいけません。
      You have to take medicine every 6 hours of time. 

12. その都度使用料しようりょうはらう。
      I pay the usage fee each and every time. 

13. 毎回参加さんかします。
     I participate each time. 

14. 毎次密接まいじみっせつ連絡れんらくを取ります。
     Each time I’ll be in close touch. 

15. やる度に失敗しっぱいする。
      To fail whenever one tries. 

16. 彼は週毎に4万円のかせぎがあります。
      He has earnings of 40,000 yen a week.

Frequency Note: Although 月ごとに and 週ごとに are correct, they are typically replaced with 月に and 週に respectively.

関西弁 Note: 毎度大きに is a very important phrase from 関西弁 meaning the same thing as 毎度ありがとうございます. 


 With Time

~おきに is equivalent to “every other”. Like all of these other expressions, something is repeated in a given interval. However, as you can see in the translation, it is not quite the same.  

17. 2日おきに = Every other two days VS    2日ごとに = Every second day
      ●○○●○○●○○●…      ●○●○●○●…

18. 3日おきに     = 4日ごとに  Every other three days = every fourth day
      ●○○○●○○○●…   ●○○●○○●…

19. 彼女は一日いちにちおきに出勤しゅっきんする。 
      She goes to work every other day

 With Distance

For distance, ~ごとにshows precise repetition of distance. So, if you are lining bottles and place them 5メートルごとに, you start from the midpoint from one bottle and place the next bottle five meters from that point. If you place them 5メートルおきに, you are measuring the space in between each bottle, so you measure from the edges of each bottle.

20. 部屋は5分おきにれた。
      The room shook every other five minutes.