Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 10: 5/12


To be bad at, Poor at, Unskillful


Verb + + 下手(へた)


  • Part of Speech


  • Word Type

    Adjectival Noun

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About のがへた

~のが下手(へた) is a phrase that behaves in almost exactly the same way as ~のが上手(じょうず), but rather than meaning 'to be good at (A)', it means 'to be bad at (A)', (which is a much more handy expression, if you are like me!). This particular expression is used with the plain (dictionary) form of verbs only.

In these examples, we can see that there is no difference between Ichidan verbs and Godan verbs. Both will appear in their plain form. In this expression, のが is performing the same function as in the regular のは, and のが constructions. This function is nominalization (turning a phrase into a noun). However, のは cannot be used with this phrase, as is always required with adjectives.


If you want to express that you were bad at something (in the past), the verb will still remain in the plain form, but 下手(へた) will change to the past tense.

  • 去年(きょねん)まで料理(りょうり)するのが下手(へた)だった
    Until last year, I was bad at cooking.



  • (わたし)チェスするのが下手(へた)

    I'm bad at chess.

    • カタカナ(おぼ)えるのが下手(へた)

      I'm poor at remembering Katakana.

      • サッカーするのが下手(へた)です

        I'm bad at playing soccer.

        • 彼女(かのじょ)勉強(べんきょう)するのが下手(へた)

          She is bad at studying.

          • (かれ)漢字(かんじ)()のが下手(へた)

            He is bad at writing kanji.

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            のがへた – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (8 in total)

            • Melanthe


              With “I’m not good at remembering katakana”, why is のがへただ not a correct answer? It only accepts のがへた, but I thought へた is a な-adjective and therefore だ can be used in casual sentences?

            • Pushindawood


              @Melanthe Sorry about that! Looks like we were missing the alternative answer for this review question. Thank you for drawing this to our attention so that we could get it fixed. Cheers!

            • Myria



              I think it should be 自転車に乗る? Or is this a recent development where both を and に are starting to get feasible for 乗る.

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