Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 1: 10/22

very・quite, considerably

なかなか + Adjective
なかなか + + Noun
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使用域 一般
なかなか (or 中々(なかなか) in kanji) is a 副詞(ふくし) (adverb) in Japanese that is frequently translated as ‘very’, or ‘considerably’. It is regularly paired directly with other adjectives, or before nouns (with の coming between なかなか and the noun).
  • ここラーメンは中々(なかなか)美味(おい)しいね。
    This ramen shop is pretty good.
  • ミムラさんなかなか可愛(かわい)いよ。
    Mimura-san is very cute.
  • あのシェフ作(つく)るパスタはなかなか物(もの)
    The pasta that the chef makes is very good.
  • 元(もと)カノはなかなか美人(びじん)でした、性格(せいかく)悪(わる)かったので別(わか)れました。
    My ex-girlfriend was considerably beautiful, but her personality was bad, so I broke up with her.
なかなか can also sometimes have the nuance of being something that is 軽視(けいし)しがたい. This basically translates as ‘difficult to dismiss’, but is a bit closer to English expressions like ‘nothing to scoff at’, or ‘not to be taken lightly’.
  • なかなか事(こと)してくれた。こんな事(こと)お客(きゃく)さんどう説明(せつめい)したらいい
    You have done something that is difficult to dismiss, haven't you? How am I supposed to explain this to our client? (What you did cannot be taken lightly. How am I supposed to explain what has happened to our client?)
Fun Fact
なかなか highlights that something is ‘considerably/extremely (A)’, or ‘far more (A) than expected’. If we imagine a dartboard, where the whole board shows the intensity level of a specific word, and なかなか represents the bullseye, this is basically the nuance. ‘(A) is the middle (bullseye) example of (B)’.
  • 先月(せんげつ)始(はじ)めたばかりなのなかなか上手(じょうず)じゃないか
    You just started last month? You are quite a lot better than I expected!
Fun Fact
なかなか, coming from the kanji 中(なか) meaning ‘within’, can be thought to mean the 'middle' or 'most' (A).
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Becoming a member here is considerably difficult.
Reaching the top of Mt. Fuji is quite grueling.
The paintings that this child paints are quite (extraordinary).
Maggie Sensei
Learn Japanese Daily
みんなの日本語 I
Page 116 [CH 18]
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[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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