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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使用域 一般
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.
  • 今(いま)時間(じかん)だったらあまり並(なら)ばないと思う
    At this time, I think we would not have to stand in line for very long.
  • 私(わたし)犬(いぬ)いるからあまり寂(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)肉(にく)あまりいい肉(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 余(あま)り (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).
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This cake isn't very delicious.
I don't eat very much meat.
This car isn't that great, but it runs so that's good enough, right?
[走れる - Potential form]
みんなの日本語 I
Page 56 [CH 8]
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 93