Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 3: 13/18


Not very, Not much, Not really, Hardly


あまり(1) + Verb[ない]
あまり(1) + [い]Adjective[ない]
あまり(1) + Noun + ではない(2)
あまり + [な]Adjective + ではない(2)

(1) あんまり
(2) じゃない


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About あまり~ない

あまり is a very flexible word in Japanese, that is used in several different grammar points. When paired with the ない form of a word, it translates to 'not very (A)', or 'hardly (A)'. To pair あまり (or the casual form, あんまり) with another word, we just need to place it at the beginning of a phrase, or directly before the ない statement.
  • (いま)時間(じかん)だったらあまり(なら)ないと思う
    At this time, I think we would not have to stand in line for very long.
  • (わたし)(いぬ)いるからあまり(さび)しくない
    I have a dog, so I don't feel lonely very much.
  • 最近(さいきん)どこもあまり平和(へいわ)ではない
    Recently, nowhere has been very peaceful.
  • そこ肉屋(にくや)(にく)あまりいい(にく)ではない
    Meat from that butcher over there is hardly good.
Fun Fact
Although あまり~ない is regularly translated as 'not very' the literal translation is closer to 'not excessively (A)'. This is due to (あま) (the kanji which this word comes from), meaning 'excessive', or 'to be in excess'.
あまり has this meaning of 'excessive' in all of its grammar points, and the nuance will only change based on whether the sentence itself is positive (does not use ない), or negative (uses ない).




    This cake isn't very delicious.


    I don't eat very much meat.


    This car is hardly great, but it runs so that's good enough, right? (not that great)


    It is not really a big deal, so you don't have to worry. (isn't that)


    I don't really think I want to eat sushi.

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あまり~ない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (15 in total)

  • driscoll


    I’m a bit confused as to where the あまりgoes + the negative good. The one with “This car isn’t that great”
    is あまり いい車くるまではない

    But why isn’t it この車はあまりよくない like the example for “This cake isn’t very delicious.”

  • Fuga


    Hey there @driscoll !

    あまり comes right before adjectives, verbs, and nouns. あまりいい車くるまではない, and この車はあまりよくない may seem similar, but it has a slight (very slight) difference in nuance, but it is just mostly a difference in how the sentence was ordered. It similar to saying ‘this car isn’t that great’ and ‘this isn’t a great car’. The nuance of those sentences change a little depending on the context, but other than word order, the meaning is basically the same.

    We hope that help!

  • Salatrel


    Hello everyone!

    For the usage with the な-adjective and the noun, is there also a polite form, like


    Thank you for your help in advance!

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