Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 6: 8/24

とても~ない

Not ~ at all, Cannot ~ at all

Strong sense of impossibility

Structure

とても + Verb[ない]

Details

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About とても~ない

When seen in sentences containing verbs negated with the auxiliary verb ない, とても carries the nuance of 'not (A) at all', or 'cannot (A) at all'. とても is supposed to only be used when expressing 'impossibility', 不可能(ふかのう). Due to this, it will primarily appear alongside the potential form of verbs.
  • その(かんが)(かた)とても理解(りかい)できない
    I cannot understand that way of thinking at all.
  • (かれ)はいつも(うそ)ばかり()から(かれ)()(こと)とても(しん)じられない
    He always just lies, so I cannot trust what he says at all.
Fun Fact
As long as some part of the sentence expresses the speaker's view about the impossibility of (A), the verb is not always required to be in the negative form.
  • (かれ)子供(こども)できたの!?(かれ)(おや)になること想像(そうぞう)するのはとても無理(むり)
    He has a baby coming? I cannot imagine him becoming a parent at all.
  • どこ航空会社(こうくうがいしゃ)(いま)はチケット()っていないから旅行(りょこう)するのがとても無理(むり)
    No airline company is selling airline tickets, so it is not possible to travel at all.

Examples

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  • とても(かんが)えられない

    I cannot think of it at all.

    • とても観光(かんこう)できない

      I cannot do any sight-seeing at all.

      • とても観察(かんさつ)できない

        I cannot do any observations at all.

        • とても完成(かんせい)させられない

          I cannot complete it at all.

          • とても記憶(きおく)できない

            I can't memorize anything at all.

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            とても~ない – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (5 in total)

            • Arashi

              Arashi

              Thank you for your reply. Maybe it will help me to clarify which is needed during reviews But I admit, the existence of 全然 in this case is not helpful at all I think I need to go back to theory and study once more differences between these expressions.

            • Aythreuk

              Aythreuk

              Should 「とっても」 be a possible answer in any of these 「とても」 related grammar points?
              The more I think about it, the more it doesn’t seem to matter.

            • Pushindawood

              Pushindawood

              @Aythreuk Hey! While とっても and とても are normally interchangeable, with とっても generally adding more emphasis/being stronger than とても, it is better to use とても in this structure as it is closer to a set phrase (とても〜ない rather than just とても). とっても can also be considered more colloquial/spoken than とても and should be avoided in written language. That being said, we weren’t catching とっても for this grammar point, so I have updated the answers that throw hints/warnings to display the above information. Cheers!

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