Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 10: 1/20


Hard to, Difficult to


Verb[ます+ がたい


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About がたい

Coming from the same kanji as (むずか)しい 'difficult', (がた)い is a suffix that also means 'difficult'. However, in the case of がたい, it will be attached to the conjunctive form of verbs, and conveys that '(A) is difficult to do'. がたい is almost always written without kanji in this meaning.
  • あいつ()(こと)(しん)がたい(いま)(しん)じるしかない
    It is hard to believe what he says, but we have no choice but to trust him.
  • ()がたかったから()わなかったけど、シャツ反対(はんたい)よ。
    I didn't say this because it's hard to say, but your shirt is inside out.
Compared to にくい, which can simply imply that something is 'uncomfortable' to do, がたい refers almost exclusively to 困難(こんなん)であること 'things that involve a high degree of difficulty, distress, or infeasibility'. Due to this, がたい will come across as far stronger than にくい, and may imply that a certain task is almost impossible.
  • (かれ)(こえ)()こえにくい
    His voice is a bit tricky to hear. (It is kind of hard to hear his voice, based on my ability/feeling)
  • この(はなし)(しん)がたい()かる(しん)じてくれ!
    I understand that this story is impossible to believe, but please believe me! (Believing something like this is not easy)
Summed up, these nuances basically translate as the following:
にくい - Something is difficult based on someone's opinion, experience, or general feeling.
がたい - Something is difficult based on the task itself having a high level of difficulty.


  • (みんな)から近寄(ちかよ)がたいってよく()われます。

    I am often told that I am hard to approach.

  • あの(ひと)()っていることは(しん)がたいですね。

    It's hard to believe what that person is saying.

  • (みんな)その映画(えいが)面白(おもしろ)って()っているけど、(ぼく)その映画(えいが)成功(せいこう)するとは()がたい

    Everyone is saying that that movie is interesting, but I find it hard to say that it will succeed. (Casual)

  • (わす)がたい出来事(できごと)遭遇(そうぐう)した。

    I encountered an event that is nearly impossible to forget.

  • その(ひと)(しん)がたいほど勇敢(ゆうかん)だった。

    That person was brave to the point that was nearly impossible to believe.

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がたい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • mrnoone


    That is because of space, kanzen master is a book made for reviewing rather than learning.

  • Johnathan-Weir


    These videos might be worth adding:

  • ggw1776


    I usually only do my drills with the english translations, which makes this sentence in particular pretty frustrating

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