Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 1: 11/23

very・quite, considerably

なかなか + Adjective
なかなか + + Noun
Register Standard
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
Coming from the kanji 中(なか), meaning ‘middle’, なかなか highlights that something is ‘a prime example of (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!
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
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]
Page 146
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 36