Grammar Info
N2 Lesson 8: 18/22

at least, it's better than..., one should feel grateful for

Verb + だけまし +
[い]Adjective + だけまし +
[な]Adjective + + だけまし +
Verb + だけまし + です
[い]Adjective + だけまし + です
[な]Adjective + + だけまし + です
Register Standard
使用域 一般
だけましだ is a set phrase indicating that ‘at least (A)’, or that ‘one should feel grateful for (A)’. This expression is often used in cases where the overall situation is negative, but it is still better than the alternative. This structure is a combination of the particle だけ ‘only’, and the な-Adjective 増(ま)し, meaning ‘better’, or ‘preferable’. Originally, まし is just the conjunctive form of 増(ま)す, an う-Verb meaning to grow or increase (like 増(ふ)える). Due to this, the literal meaning is ‘even just (A) is a plus, compared to what could have occured’.
だけましだ will be used primarily after verbs, い-Adjectives, or な-Adjectives followed by な.
  • 天気(てんき)はあまり良(よ)くないが、久(ひさ)しぶりに旅行(りょこう)に来(こ)れただけましだ
    Although the weather isn’t the best, I should be grateful that I am able to travel for the first time in a long time.
  • このアパートはボロボロだけど、職場(しょくば)に近(ちかづ)いだけましだ
    This apartment is a wreck, but at least it is close to my work place.
  • 味覚(みかく)はないかもしれないが、元気(げんき)なだけましだ
    Although I can’t taste, at least I am feeling well.
In the vast majority of cases, まし will simply be written in hiragana, or even katakana as マシ. The katakana version often further emphasizes that one should be grateful for (A).
Caution - Although not as common, だけまだましだ may also be seen. As can be seen by the addition of まだ ‘still’, this form merely emphasized the point even further.
  • 今日(きょう)はいつもより寒(さむ)いけど、風(かぜ)が吹(ふ)いていないだけまだましだ
    It is colder than usual today, but at least it's not windy.
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
Since such a big accident occured, you should be grateful that you are still alive.
My husband doesn't even cook. At least your husband cooks for you.
A robber broke in, but I should be grateful that the safe is intact.
Japanese Upstory
A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns
Page 207