Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 7: 15/21


Hardly, Rarely, Seldom


めったに + Verb[ない]
Noun + + めったにない


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About めったに〜ない

めったに~ない is an expression that may be translated as 'hardly', 'seldom', or 'rarely'. Originally, 滅多(めった) is a な-Adjective that means 'thoughtless', or 'reckless'. Due to this, as an adverb, 滅多(めった)に literally means 'thoughtlessly' or 'recklessly'.
めったに~ない will usually be paired with a verb in the negative form, or following a noun, and the adverbial particle は.
  • 大人(おとな)になってから駄菓子屋(だがしや)めったに()ない
    Ever since I became an adult. I hardly go to candy stores.
  • (おや)正月(しょうがつ)以外(いがい)めったに()ない
    Other than New Years, I hardly see my parents.
  • こんなチャンスはめったにないぞ!
    A chance like this is very rare.
  • パーティー()ことはめったにない
    I hardly do things like go to parties.
It is far more common to see めったに written without kanji, than with. However, both are used.
Fun Fact
As めったに originally means 'thoughtlessly', when appearing in a negative statement, the nuance becomes 'to not (A) thoughtlessly' (mindlessly, or aimlessly). This simply expresses that the speaker will not do (A) unintentionally, or (A) will not happen unless there is some special reason for it.
  • (わたし)(なに)大事(おおごと)こと()ない(かぎ)り、電話(でんわ)めったに()ない
    Unless something big happens, I don't mindlessly make phone calls.
  • (いえ)(だれ)テレビ()ていない(かぎ)り、自分(じぶん)からはテレビめったに()ない
    Unless someone in my house is watching TV, I don't aimlessly watch TV on my own.


  • (ちち)めったにテレビ()ない

    My father rarely watches TV.

  • 彼女(かのじょ)について悪口(わるぐち)めったに()ない

    I seldom hear bad things about her.

  • せっかく日本語(にほんご)勉強(べんきょう)したけど、めったに(はな)ないね。

    After going through all the trouble of studying Japanese, you hardly speak it.

  • (かれ)めったに(わす)ないのに、今日(きょう)どうしたんだろう?

    He rarely forgets, I wonder what happened today?

  • めったに()ない(かれ)()いていた。

    He, who hardly cries, was crying.

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めったに〜ない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (3 in total)

  • matt_in_mito


    めったに vs あまり
    Has anyone ever noticed a nuance between these two or are they basically the same?

  • mrnoone



    あまり is more general. It means (with negative) not much, not many. Used when you speak of degree or quantity of something.

    While めったに means rarely, seldom. So it is limited to the frequency of something.

    I don’t read books much.

    I rarely read books.

  • matt_in_mito


    That’s great, thank you. I’ll try to start using it.

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