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第131課: The Particles ほど & くらい

Although very similar, ほど and くらい―also ぐらい―are not always the same.

The Adverbial Particle ほど

The first thing that you should know about the particle ほど is how it is attached to various parts of speech and what sort of particle combinations are allowed.

 Class Pattern Example
 名詞 N+ほど 日本ほど
 形容詞 連体形+ほど できなほど
 形容動詞 連体形+ほど 楽ほど
 動詞 連体形+ほど 考えほど

As far as particles are concerned, the typical order is noun + case particle + ほど. However, が・を are deleted. If they are to be used, they are used right after ほど. However, the particles such as に, で, and から are always after it. 


After a quantity, ほど shows an approximation. This usage is interchangeable with くらい・ぐらい.  

1. 9年間ほど
    About nine years

2. 旅は10時間ほどかかるでしょう。
    The trip will probably take about ten hours.

3. そのロープはさがメートルほどあります。
    The rope is about six meters long.

4. することがほどあるよ。
    I have a pile of work to do.
    Literally: I have a mountain of stuff to do.

5. あと1ほどで夏休みになる。
    I'll be on summer vacation in about a month.

6. この仕事はあと2週間ほどあれば出来上がりますか。 
    Will this job get done in around two weeks?

7. {細石・小石}ほどのきさの

     A stone the size of a pebble

Reading & Meaning Note: 細石 = さざれいし. This is smaller than a 小石. However, in English you use the same word. 

8a. あのはどれ{ほど・くらい}長いですか。(More natural)
8b. あの橋の長さはどれくらいですか。
      How long is that bridge over there?

9. お(お)よそ50人(ほど)の人
    Around fifty people

Word Note: お(お)よそ = Approximately 

 Extreme Example

   It may also show an extreme example. It takes a specific situation and evaluates its extent. So, it is often translated as "to the extent that". It may be seen after nominal or verbal expressions. Of course, idiomatic translation may very well blur this literal definition. 

10. 言葉にできないほど素晴らしい。
      It's too wonderful for words.

11. 彼()()けないほど()ってはいなかった。
      He wasn't weak enough to not walk.

12. 彼()()てるのが()()なほど悄気(しょげ)てる。(Casual)
      Just seeing him makes me feel bad.

13. 彼()はそれを()みるほど勇敢(ゆうかん)兵士()ではありません。
      He isn't a brave enough soldier to attempt that.

14. 全国民()戦争()優勝()して、(なみだ)()るほど()しかったです。
      The entire nation was happy to the point of tears from winning the war.

15. 振ほどけないほど彼女しっかりと抱きめた。 (叙述的な表現)
      I hugged her so tightly that she couldn't break away.

漢字 Note: しっかり(と) is usually written in ひらがな. Using the 漢字 is more old-fashioned. 

When ほど is used to make a negative comparison such as in the following sentences, it cannot be replaced with くらい・ぐらい. 

16. クリスマスほど()(どお)しいものはない。
      There's nothing I look forward to more than Christmas.

17a. 鈴木()さんは外見()ほど()をとっていませんね。 (Potentially rude)
17b. 鈴木さんは見た目より若く見えますね。 (More natural)
        Mr. Suzuki's not as old as he looks.

18. 高橋氏外見ほどの年齢ねんれいじゃないよ。 (失礼な言い方)
      Mr. Takahashi is not as old as he looks.

19. 日本()()むほど()せなことはありません。
      There is nothing more happy than living in Japan.

20. 足はこの程度なら医者に行くほどのこともない。
      If your foot is only this bad, there's no need to go to the doctor.

21. おこるほどのことではありません。
      It's not something we need to get angry about.

22. 心配()するほどの怪我(けが)ではありません。
      It's not an injury to worry about.

23. 病状()手術()必要()なほどではない。
      The condition of her illness is not to the point of surgery.

24. あいつは()ほどうまく運転()しねー。(Vulgar)
      He doesn't drive as good as me.

25. 私()知識(ちしき)など先生()のそれとは比較(ひかく)にならないほどお粗末(そまつ)なものでございます。 (Humble)
      My knowledge is not even comparable to that of the teacher's.

26. 散歩()ほどいいものはないね。
      There's nothing like a walk, right?

27. 今日微分積分学びぶんせきぶんがく試験ったほどしくなかった。
      Today's calculus exam was less difficult than I thought.

28. 結果は後程ご一報ください。(Formal)
      Please inform us the results later.

敬語 Note: 後程(のちほど) = あとで. 


This pattern means "the more...the more...". Without the conditional, you'd just show that there is a link between the extent of the pattern and the phrase that follows. The overall sentence can either be positive or negative depending on whether you are showing an increase or decrease in the degree of something respectively. You cannot replace ほど with くらい・ぐらい for this usage!

 Verbs 泳ぐ → 泳げ → 泳げ +ば = 泳げば + 泳ぐほど = 泳げば泳ぐほど
 形容詞 新しい → 新しけれ + ば = 新しければ + 新しいほど = 新しければ新しいほど
 形容動詞 簡単だ → 簡単な (+ば) = 簡単なら(ば) + 簡単なほど = 簡単なら(ば)簡単なほど

Politeness Note: Using であれば instead of なら is more formal/polite.  

29. 多()ければ()いほどよい。
     The more, the better it is.

30. 複雑ふくざつなら複雑なほどれやすいです。
      The more complicated something is, the easier it is to break.

31. 何でも、練習すればするほど上手になります。
      With anything, the more you practice, the better you become.

32. 価格かかくが高ければ高いほど、需要じゅよう減少げんしょうする。
      The higher the price, the smaller the demand is.

33. 骨董品こっとうひんは古ければ古いほど価値があがる。
      The older antiques are the more value it has.

34. 早ければ早いほどいいです。
      The sooner, the better it is.

35. 高くれば登るほど寒くなってくる。
      The higher you climb, the colder it gets.

36. パソコンは操作が簡単であれば簡単であるほどいいです。
      The easier the operation of a PC is, the better it is.

37. 田舎いなかむほどせなことはないとう。
      I think that nothing is happier than living in the country.

38. 人が多ければ多いほど楽しい。
      The more the merrier.

39. 深ければ深いほど暗くなる。
      The deeper you get, the darker it gets.  

The Adverbial Particle くらい・ぐらい

The way くらい・ぐらい are attached to things is the same as with ほど, but its combination with other particles is slightly different.

 Class Pattern Example
 名詞 N+くらい・ぐらい 一円{くらい・ぐらい}
 形容詞 連体形+くらい・ぐらい 見えない{くらい・ぐらい}
 形容動詞 連体形+くらい・ぐらい 不思議な{くらい・ぐらい}
 動詞 連体形+くらい・ぐらい 捨てる{くらい・ぐらい}

  The particles が and を if used with it are after it. The particles に, へ, で, と, から can all be seen before or after it. 


Introduces something and then shows the degree or quantity almost equivalent to that. When you are saying that something is the same degree, you must use くらい・ぐらい.

40. ニューメキシコ州も同じ{〇 くらい・〇 ぐらい・X ほど}暑いですよ。
      New Mexico is just as hot.  

41. 8時()くらいです。
      It's about eight o'clock.

42. リーチは立原の方が極端なぐらい長い。
      As for reach, Tachihara's is longer to an extreme.   
From 擬態 by 北方謙三.

43. 彼()は36()ぐらいだ。
      He is around thirty six years old.

44. 30分()ぐらいしてから、もう一度電話()をかけてみました。 
      I tried calling again after about thirty minutes.

45. 私()の捕った()はこれくらいの()きさでした。
     The fish I caught was about this big.

46. 昼()くらいに()()んだ。
      It stopped raining around noon.

47. それくらいのことでめげるな。
      Don't be discouraged at such a thing.

48. まゆれるくらいにってください。
      Please cut it so that my eyebrows are covered.  

49. そして仲田()が、その女を自分の妹あつかいし、馬鹿にしているのを勿体(もったい)ないことをする(やつ)だ位に感じた。
Furthermore, he felt that Nakata was this guy treating that (perfect woman for him) as his own sister, making her out to be stupid, having her do things unfit for her class. 
From 友情 by 武者小路実篤むしゃのこうじさねあつ.

Grammar Note: An entire clause is modifying 位, the 漢字 spelling of くらい, and if this were written in a more modern fashion, quotations would have probably been used to reinforce a short spoken pause that aids in the grammaticality of this sentence. 

Orthography Note: This sentence comes from a book originally published in 1920, which is why くらい is written in 漢字. It would be somewhat old-fashioned to do likewise today.  


Introduces something of light degree and limits it to a certain level. This can be seen in the pattern XのはYくらいだ (Y is about the only X). Thus, again, this usage creates a minimal phrase. This belittling usage is not interchangeable with ほど. 

50. せめてタバコくらいやめてくださいよ。
      The least you can do is stop smoking.

51. 簡単()料理()ぐらい()だってできるよ。
      Even I can cook a simple meal (to that extent)!

52. 子供()でもそんなことくらい()かる。
       Even a child would understand (to the extent of) something like that.

53. 「韓国料理は、何でも好きですか」 「いいえ、私が好きなのはキムチくらいです」
"Do you like any Korean food?". "No, kimchi is about the only thing I like". 

54. 「このごろの子供は、本をあんまり読まんと聞いたが」「ええ、ほんとに。よく読むのマンガぐらいなんだよね」「そりゃ困ったな~」 (すごく砕けた言い方)
"I heard that kids these days don't read books much". "Yeah, that's true. Manga is just about the only thing they often read". "That's no good".

55. 「あの、君はスポーツは何でもできるんでしょ」「いや、実は、僕ができるのは{サッカー・卓球・野球・バドミントン・テニス}くらいだよ」
"Uh, you can play any sport, right?". "No, actually, [soccer; table tennis; baseball; badminton; tennis] is about the only thing I can". 

56. 空一面になるくらいの見事みごと夕焼けでした。
      The splendid sunset was to the extent that the whole sky turned completely red.

57. ずかしくてがあったらりたいくらいだった。
      I was so embarrassed to the extent that if a hole opened up I would want to enter it.

2. Shows an extreme matter. ~くらいなら~ほうがましだ = "rather...than...". However, it should be understood that both actions are unfavorable. It's just you say that you'd rather do the latter. 

58. 降参()するぐらいなら()んだ()がましだ。 
      I'd rather die than surrender.

59. 君()()てるぐらいなら()んだ()がましだ。
      I would rather die than abandon you.

60. 期日きじつれるくらいなら、徹夜てつやをして完成かんせいさせたがましだ。
      I would rather have it completed overnight than be late to the deadline.

Phrase Note: ましになる is used to show that something is improving, but it's not fully good. As such, it's not really appropriate to a lot of people to use such a phrase to refer to someone feeling better. However, there are areas like the Kansai Region where it is rather common.

61. 痛みがましになる。
      The pain improved.

62. 通りから広場に出たところで、少し混雑がましになった。
      As I entered into the plaza from the street, the traffic got a little better.
From 野生の風 by 村山由佳. 

3. ~くらい~はない shows something being the most....

63. 彼()くらい努力()する()はいません。
      There is no person putting effort into it than him.

64. 地震{ほど・くらい}いものはない。
      There's nothing as scary as an earthquake.

4. ~くらいで  gives that the feeling that something is at a small amount or significance. It is often used in suggesting or belittling something.

65. テストが悪かったぐらいで、泣かないで。(Casual)
      Don't cry over a doing bad on a test.

66. スペイン語習ったことはあるけど、ちょっとしゃべれるようになったぐらいでやめてちゃったんで、本を読めるようにはならんかった。 (すごく砕けた言い方)
I've studied Spanish, but I quit when I became able to speak it, so I didn't end up becoming able to read a book. 

67. このレッスンはやさしいから、ちょっと練習するくらいで、終わりましょう。
      Since this lesson is easy, let's end with a little practice. 


Translate into Japanese (1-3)

1. It's around 6:30 pm.

2. It's not to the extent that it's impossible.

3. I'd rather die than to give up.

4. Create a sentence where くらい belittles.

5. Create a sentence with ほど in the set phrase "the more...the...".

6. Create a sentence with ほど and ば.

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