We now have two ways of expressing that an action has just taken place. For example, “I’ve just finished eating”.


So what’s the difference? Well, firstly ところ is more flexible because it can be used with the present, present participle, and past tense.


ばかり, on the other hand, can only be used with the past tense.


Let’s compare ところ and ばかり when they are used with the past tense. One point to note is that ところ is far more time-specific—emphasising that the action has taken place that moment.

That department store has just been completed.
That department store has just been completed.

The sentence with ところ implies that you’ve just seen the final brick being put in place. Because we probably mean that the building has been built recently rather than literally just now we need to use ばかり. In other cases, they can be used interchangeably because either sentence sounds reasonable.

I’ve just come out of the ticket gates.
I’ve just come out of the ticket gates.

Finally, ばかり is often used to imply a reason or explanation for something.

I’ve just bought these shoes [factual emphasis on the time].
I’ve just bought these shoes [that’s why they look new].
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