Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 8: 4/13

くらい ①
About, Approximately

くらい and ぐらい may be used 100% interchangably, but ぐらい is far more common in speech

Structure
Number/counter + くらい or ぐらい
Details
Part of Speech Particle
Word Type Adverbial Particle
Register Standard
品詞 助詞
単語の種類 副助詞
使用域 一般
Information
くらい or ぐらい (more common in spoken language) has several different uses in Japanese, but is often translated as ‘about’, or ‘approximately’. It comes from the kanji 位(くらい), which literally means a ‘rank’, or ‘grade’ of something. This use of くらい comes after numbers, or counter words.
  • 後(あと)3分(ぷん)くらい着(つ)
    I'll arrive in about 3 minutes.
  • 4個(こ)ぐらい欲(ほ)しな。
    I want about 4.
  • どのくらい着(つ)きます
    How long will it take for you to arrive?
As can be seen in the last example, くらい may also be used before question words such as どの, when asking about the extent (grade) of something.
Due to the original meaning of くらい being ‘rank’, or ‘extent’, it may not be used when referring to broad periods of time. ころ will be used in these situations. However, くらい and ころ may be used interchangeably when referring to a specific time (due to a specific time may being able to be thought of as an extent).
  • 8時(じ)くらいでもいい
    Is about 8 okay?
  • 8時(じ)ごろでもいい
    Is about 8 okay?
  • 子供(こども)くらいディズニー行(い)っ
    About when I was a kid, I went to Disneyland. (Incorrect example, with unnatural English to match!)
  • 子供(こども)ころディズニー行(い)っ
    I went to Disney when I was a kid.
Caution
Please see the ころ grammar point if you would like to compare these two structures further.
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何時(なんじ)ぐらい来(き)ます
Approximately when will you come?
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あと30分(ぷん)ぐらい行(い)きます
I will go/leave in approximately 30 minutes.
Play  
毎週(まいしゅう)コーヒーどのくらい飲(の)む
Approximately how much coffee do you drink per week?
Play  
Books
みんなの日本語 I
Page 74 [CH 11]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 212
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 112