Grammar Info
N2 Lesson 10: 13/20

not well/properly, not much/enough, barely・hardly

Other forms - 碌に

ろくに + (Negative) Phrase
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使用域 一般
When the adverb 陸(ろく)に ‘satisfactorily’ appears in ない sentences, it indicates that (A) is ‘not satisfactory’, ‘not enough’, or ‘not being done properly’. This grammar pattern appears at the beginning of phrases, before the (B) part of the sentence will include a ない word, often a verb in its potential form.
  • 息子(むすこ)は英語(えいご)をろくに話(はな)せないのに、アメリカにひとりで行(い)くそうだ。大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)かな。
    Apparently my son is going to the States, even though he can barely speak English. I hope he will be okay.
  • あの人(ひと)はろくに仕事(しごと)も出来(でき)ないのに、偉(えら)そうな態度(たいど)をとるから会社(かいしゃ)中(じゅう)で嫌(きら)われている。
    He is disliked by everyone in the company because he has an arrogant attitude even though he can barely do his job.
  • 仕事(しごと)が忙(いそが)しすぎて、ここ最近(さいきん)、ろくに友達(ともだち)にも会(あ)えてない
    Because I am so busy, I barely have time to see my friends.
While ろくに will often appear in the kanji form, it is also common to see this structure in hiragana alone. Alternatively, 碌(ろく)に may also sometimes be seen, but this particular kanji is ateji (a kanji used purely for its pronunciation, not its meaning).
  • 近所(きんじょ)のワンちゃんが朝(あさ)までずっと吠(ほ)えていたから、昨晩(さくばん)は陸(ろく)に寝(ね)れなかった
    A dog in my neighborhood was barking until this morning so I barely got any sleep.
  • 豆(まめ)なんて碌(ろく)に食(た)べないのに、うちには豆(まめ)の缶詰(かんずめ)がいっぱいある。
    I have a lot of canned beans at home even though I hardly eat them.
This particular grammar point often has the nuance of something that is being done without sufficient effort, or is half-baked.
Fun-fact - 陸(りく) comes from the kanji meaning ‘land’, and is used with the reading of ろく when the nuance is flatness, correctness, or seriousness.
Slow Male
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Far from baking a cake, he can't even cook a simple meal properly.
Every day I am woken up by my cat, so I can't sleep well.
Despite barely knowing any English, dad tried to give directions to a foreign couple.
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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