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あまり

あまり

あまり Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Degree Adverb

Essential Meaning: (Not) very / (Not) very much

Construction: 

  • あまり + Negative Predicate
    • E.g. あまりはなさない [X doesn’t speak very much]
    • E.g. あまりべない [X doesn’t eat very much]
    • E.g. あまりたかくない [X is not very expensive]
    • E.g. あまり元気げんきじゃない [X is not very healthy]

Notes:

  • あまり is an adverb that is typically paired with a negative verb to mean “Not very” or “Not very much“.
    • E.g. あまりさむくない [Not very cold]
  • Other adverbs that pair with negative predicates include ぜんぜん [Not at all]、めったに [Seldom]、けっして [By no means]、さっぱり [Not at all]、すこしも [Not a bit]、and ちっとも [Not a bit].
  • あまり may also be paired with a positive predicate in certain situations to mean “too much“. This tends to convey a negative or disapproving tone, and is often used in imperative situations (i.e. “Don’t do X too much.”)
    • E.g. マークはあまりさけんだので病気びょうきになった。[Because Mark drank too much, he got sick.]
    • E.g. それはあんまりです。[That’s too much. / You’re too cruel.]
    • E.g. あんまり調子ちょうしるな! [Don’t ride the rhythm too much (i.e. don’t get too cocky)!]
  • あんまり is a slightly more conversational equivalent to あまり. You may also hear it further shortened to あんま.
    • E.g. あんまりさむくない [Not very cold]
    • E.g. あんまさむくない [Not very cold]

Example Sentences:

このほんはあまりよくない。[This book is not very good.]

鈴木すずきさんはあんまりべない。[Ms. Suzuki doesn’t eat much.]

スコットがあまり失礼しつれいなことをうのでサリーはおこってかえってしまった。[Because Scott said things that were very rude, Sally got angry and went home.]

それはあんまりです。[That’s too much. / You’re too cruel.]

WILD Examples:

This song begins with this line: あまりあまり元気げんきない [I’m not very, not very spirited] This song is called あまり小唄こうた by ULFULS, an excellent band.
This song begins with the following line: あまりソワソワしないで [Don’t be too restless] This line also contains an example of the imperative て-Form.

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