I had just arrived at the hotel, checked in and gotten into my room. Just as I was about to unpack, I noticed that one of my bags was missing. At first I thought I had left it back at the airport, but it turned out that I had left it on the taxi.

Here, what's the meaning and role of "just"?

Why do you guys input the word "just" here?

What exactly does the word do grammatically?

Could you help me?


2 Answers 2


Basically, "just" means "a short time ago".

How much time is "a short time ago?" Since time can be relative, that depends on the situation. It could be a matter of a few days. For example, if I moved to New York three years ago, I might say:

I had just moved to New York when my car was stolen.

That's a reasonable way to explain the situation, if my car was stolen during my first week in New York.

On the other hand, in a scenario like yours:

I had just checked into my hotel room when the phone rang.

I would probably assume that refers to a much shorter span of time – probably less than about 15 minutes – because we typically only stay in hotel rooms one or two nights.

So, when we say:

I had just done X when Y happened.

that means X had not been underway for very long when Y occurred.


I had been living in New York for about a year when my car was stolen.
I had been in my room for an hour or so when the phone rang.

In other words, the expression "just started" is much like the expression "almost finished" – one means "not long after something has begun" while the other means "not long before something has concluded." So, for example:

I had just started eating when I felt a pain in my stomach.

In that sentence, we can guess that most of the food is still on the plate. On the other hand, if only a little food is left on the plate:

I had almost finished eating when I felt a pain in my stomach.


We can use 'just' to say that one event happened immediately before or after another, or that they happened simultaneously, when this is significant.

I had just arrived at the hotel (when something happened) - something happened immediately after I arrived. Just as (at the same time as) I was about to unpack, I noticed one was missing.

Just (Cambridge dictionary)

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