Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 3: 16/17


Just, Only, Merely, Strictly


あくまで()+ Phrase


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About 飽くまで(も)

()く is the old-fashioned and somewhat poetic version of ()きる the る-Verb meaning 'to tire of (A)', or 'to get sick of (A)'. When used in conjunction with the adverbial particles まで 'until', ()くまで can imply that (A) is 'just', 'only', or 'strictly' something. The more literal translation of 'to continue (A) to the point of getting tired of it' fits these interpretations quite well, implying that (A) will never deviate from what is being described about it. This use of ()くまで often appears at the beginning of a phrase, and functions adverbially. The adverbial particle も 'even' may be added for extra emphasis, but it is not required.
  • (かれ)あくまでも新人(しんじん)なので(やさ)しく(せっ)してあげてください。
    He is merely a newbie, so please treat him kindly.
  • それはあくまで可能性(かのうせい)()ぎないからなんの(やく)にも()たない。
    That is merely a possibility, so it doesn't help.
  • (わたし)あくまでも素人(しろうと)()ぎませんが、設計(せっけい)にミスがあると(おも)います。
    I am just an amateur, but I think that there is a mistake in the design.
In many cases, ()くまで will be used in polite sentences when the speaker is expressing their own opinion. In these cases, the nuance of 'this is merely my opinion' is conveying to the listener that the speaker realizes that what they are saying is not the only viewpoint.
  • これはあくまで(わたし)意見(いけん)なので参考(さんこう)にしないでくださいね。
    This is just my opinion, so please don't refer to it.
This way of highlighting opinions is often combined with structures like けど, or が when the speaker wants to soften their statement before offering what they think a solution might be.




    Company representative to business partners: 'What I am about to say is just my personal opinion, so please understand that this is not our official stance as a company…'


    Spouse 1 to Spouse 2: 'I know you have already checked if the gas is turned off, but please check again. Just to be sure.'


    'I think that due to its influence, the Olympics might also not happen in 20XX. But this is just what I imagine will happen, so don't look into it too much.'


    Scientific article: 'The real-world application of this algorithm differs from case to case, therefore use this paper just as a reference.'


    Detective: 'That fire might not have been entirely an accident. This is just my hypothesis, though.'

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        • A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar

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