Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 8: 5/19

といっ + たらない

Cannot tell, describe, say or express how, Words cannot express, Too … for words, Extremely


More common patterns:
Noun + いったらない(1)
[い]Adjective[さ](2) + いったらない(1)

Less common patterns:
Verb + いったらない(1)
[な]Adjective + いったらない(1)



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About ったらない・といったらない

といったらない is a casual expression used when something is at a level such that not even (A) is sufficient to describe it. It is usually translated as 'there are no words to express (A)', or 'too (A) for words'. This structure is a combination of the case-marking particle と, the conjunction particle たら 'when', or 'if', and the い-Adjective ない. It may be used in either positive or negative contexts.
といったらない, or the shortened form ったらない may appear after adjectives or nouns in their standard forms.
  • (となり)(ひと)(いぬ)(あさ)からうるさいといったらない
    I can't describe to you how loud my neighbor's dog is in the morning.
  • 息子(むすこ)(いえ)留守番(るすばん)させるのは心配(しんぱい)といったらない
    I can't tell you how worried I am to let my son stay at home alone.
  • プロジェクトを()わらせた(あと)達成感(たっせいかん)ったらない
    I can't describe the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a project.
The ない in this grammar pattern is commonly thought to be an abbreviation of ありはしない, or ありゃしない, the conjunctive form of the う-Verb ある combined with the case marking particle は, and the negated form of する, しない. In this way, a more literal meaning can be thought of as 'if one were to say (A), it's not possible'.
  • あの()運転(うんてん)(あぶ)ないといったらありゃしないから、あの()()かける(とき)には運転(うんてん)させないようにしている。
    I can't describe how bad her driving is. I always make sure not to let her drive when we go somewhere.
  • 田舎(いなか)では(くるま)がないとどこにもいけないから、不便(ふべん)といったらありゃしない
    I can't describe to you how inconvenient the countryside is. You can't go anywhere without a car.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)(わたし)(はなし)全然(ぜんぜん)()いてくれない。むかつくといったらありゃしない
    She does not listen to a word I say. I can't describe to you how annoyed I am.
As this expression highlights an extreme amount, い-Adjectives will often be used with the さ suffix added, specifically to indicate amount.
  • あの(ひと)(やさ)しさと()ったらありゃしない
    I can't describe how nice he is.




    'I can't describe my surprise at seeing a fight between the principal and a deer.'


    'My car tires have been stolen. I can't tell you how angry I am!'


    A: 'How was the tooth extraction?'
    B: 'I can't tell you how painful it is! I really thought I was going to die.'


    Even though years have passed, I can still remember the sunset that day. I couldn't describe the beauty of the scene in words.


    I couldn't describe how much Hoshino has changed when she put on the makeup. She was like a different person.

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