Mastering the Basics: How to Say ‘Very’ in Japanese

If you’re new to learning the Japanese language, understanding how to express the concept of ‘very’ can be a challenge. Luckily, the Japanese language offers a variety of ways to convey intensity, and in this section, we will explore the different ways to say ‘very’ in Japanese. By the end of this section, you will have a better understanding of the Japanese word for ‘very’ and how to use it in different contexts. Let’s dive in and learn how to say ‘very’ in Japanese!

To start, it’s essential to understand the primary word used to convey the meaning of ‘very’ in Japanese. By grasping this word’s meaning and usage, you can expand your knowledge of the language and enhance your conversations. So let’s begin by understanding the Japanese word for ‘very.’

Understanding the Japanese Word for ‘Very’

Before diving into the different ways to say ‘very’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand the primary word used to convey this meaning.

The Japanese word for ‘very’ is とても (totemo). It is the most common word used to express the intensity of something being ‘very’ and can be used in a wide range of contexts.

For example:

Japanese English
彼女はとても美しいです。 She is very beautiful.
あのレストランの食べ物はとてもおいしいです。 The food at that restaurant is very delicious.

It’s essential to note that the word とても (totemo) is considered a ‘neutral’ way to express ‘very’ and can be used in both formal and informal situations.

Understanding the Usage of とても (totemo)

While とても (totemo) is a versatile word, it’s crucial to understand its usage to convey the level of intensity accurately.

The word とても (totemo) is usually placed directly before the adjective or adverb it modifies. For example:

Japanese English
今日はとても寒いです。 Today is very cold.
彼の歌はとても上手です。 His singing is very skillful.

とても (totemo) can also be used with nouns to indicate a high degree of the quality or characteristic. For example:

Japanese English
このお店はとても人気があります。 This store is very popular.
あの映画はとても面白かったです。 That movie was very interesting.

By understanding the usage of とても (totemo), you can accurately express the level of intensity you wish to convey in your Japanese conversations.

Common Synonyms for ‘Very’ in Japanese

Aside from the primary word for ‘very,’ the Japanese language offers a variety of synonyms to convey the intensity of something being ‘very.’ Here are some of the most common:

Word Reading Meaning
とても tote mo very, extremely
めちゃくちゃ mecha kucha totally, absurdly
chou super, ultra
大変 taihen very, terribly

Each of these words has its nuances, and their usage depends on the context of the sentence. For instance, ‘tote mo’ is the most common way to express ‘very’ in everyday conversations, while ‘mecha kucha’ is slang and is used to express absurdity or exaggeration.

Using Synonyms

Using synonyms for ‘very’ can add more color and personality to your language. Here’s an example of how to use ‘chou’ in a sentence:

ano mise no ramen wa chou umai!
The ramen at that restaurant is super delicious!

You can also combine synonyms to create a stronger emphasis, such as ‘tote mo chou’ to express something as ‘very, very, very.’

It’s important to note that, just like the primary word for ‘very,’ using synonyms in a formal or polite setting may not be appropriate. Stick to the standard phrase ‘tote mo’ to stay on the safe side.

Polite Expressions of ‘Very’ in Japanese

In Japanese culture, showing respect and politeness is essential in all aspects of communication. This includes the use of ‘very’ in language. Here are some expressions to use when you want to emphasize ‘very’ politely.

Japanese Polite Expression English Translation
とても 大変(たいへん) Very, extremely
めっちゃ ものすごく Incredibly, tremendously

When using these expressions in polite settings, it’s common to add the honorific prefix ‘o’ to the beginning of the word. For example, ‘o-taihen’ or ‘o-mono sugoku’.

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In a business meeting:

You can use ‘o-taihen’ when expressing how challenging a project is. For example:

[This project has a very challenging level of difficulty.]

When speaking with an elder:

In a formal or respectful setting, you can use ‘o-mono sugoku’ to emphasize how impressed you are. For example:

[Your painting is incredibly beautiful.]

By using these polite expressions, you can show respect and elevate your language skills in Japanese communication.

Regional Variations of ‘Very’ in Japanese

Japan is a country rich in cultural diversity, and this is reflected in the numerous regional variations of the Japanese language. These variations include differences in vocabulary and pronunciation, and this extends to expressions of ‘very’.

Depending on where you are in Japan, the word used to express ‘very’ might not be the same as the one typically used in standard Japanese. For instance, in the Tohoku region of Japan, people often use the word “mecha” or “meccha” instead of the standard “totemo” or “taihen” to express ‘very’.

In Kansai, however, the word “meccha” is used to express ‘very’, but it’s pronounced “mekkai”, which might sound quite different from what you’re used to hearing.

Similarly, in the Kyushu region, the word “hijou” or “hijou ni” is often used instead of “totemo” or “taihen”.

It’s important to note that different regions might also use the same word to express ‘very’ but with different intonations. For instance, in the Kanto region, the word “chou” is often used to express ‘very’, but it’s pronounced differently depending on the context in which it’s used.

Overall, these regional variations are a testament to the diversity of the Japanese language, and they offer a unique window into the various cultures found in Japan. By understanding these variations, you can deepen your understanding of the language and enhance your language skills.

Translations and Usage of ‘Very’ in Japanese

Translating ‘very’ from English to Japanese can be tricky since the language has different levels of formality and context-based expressions. Here are some translations and usage tips to help you use ‘very’ effectively in your Japanese conversations.

English Japanese Usage
Very hot とても暑い (totemo atsui) This is the most common and straightforward way of saying ‘very.’ It can be used in different contexts such as describing weather, food, or physical states.
Extremely delicious めちゃくちゃ美味しい (mechakucha oishii) This phrase is commonly used among younger generations and has a more casual tone. It’s appropriate when expressing excitement or enthusiasm about something.
Insanely expensive とんでもなく高い (tondemo naku takai) This expression is translated as ‘unthinkable’ or ‘outrageous’ in English. It’s used when the price or quality exceeds the norm or expectation.

The usage of ‘very’ in Japanese also depends on the context and the speaker’s relationship with the listener. For example, using the word ‘totemo’ might be too direct or forceful in a formal setting, while using ‘chotto’ (a little) or ‘sukoshi’ (a bit) might be more appropriate.

Usage Tips:

Here are some tips on how to use ‘very’ effectively in Japanese conversations:

  • Pay attention to the context and the formality level of the conversation.
  • Use appropriate synonyms or expressions to add variety to your language.
  • Practice with native speakers to improve your pronunciation and intonation.
  • Be aware of regional variations and dialects of ‘very’ in Japanese.

By mastering the translations and usage of ‘very’ in Japanese, you can effectively convey intensity and enhance your language skills.

Expressing ‘Very’ in Different Situations

Now that you’ve learned the various ways to say ‘very’ in Japanese, it’s important to know how to use them effectively in different situations. Here are some examples:

Situation Japanese Expression for ‘Very’ English Translation
Describing an object とても Very
Expressing emotions めっちゃ Extremely
Talking about a place すごく Really

Remember to choose the appropriate expression based on the context and level of formality. For instance, ‘totemo’ is a safe and commonly used expression in many situations, while ‘meccha’ might come off as rude or too casual in formal settings.

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Expressing ‘Very’ in Different Situations: Emphasizing Emotions

When expressing strong emotions, it’s important to use the right words to convey the intensity of your feelings. Here are some examples of how to say ‘very’ in Japanese in different emotional contexts:

Emotion Japanese Expression for ‘Very’ English Translation
Happy とても嬉しい Very Happy
Sad とても悲しい Very Sad
Excited とてもワクワクする Very Excited

Using appropriate expressions of ‘very’ can help you communicate your emotions more effectively, allowing others to understand and empathize with you.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Conversations with ‘Very’ in Japanese

Congratulations! You have successfully explored the various ways to say ‘very’ in Japanese, learned the primary word for ‘very’ and its usage, and explored synonyms, polite expressions, regional variations, translations, and situations where ‘very’ can be used.

By mastering these concepts, you can take your linguistic abilities to new heights and elevate your conversations with Japanese speakers. Don’t be afraid to incorporate these new phrases and expressions into your daily conversations. The Japanese language is rich and diverse, and by learning how to say ‘very’ in different ways, you can enhance your language skills and impress those around you.

So what are you waiting for? Start practicing and incorporating these new phrases into your conversations today. With a little effort and practice, you’ll be speaking Japanese like a pro in no time!

Thank you for reading and good luck on your journey to mastering the language!


Q: How do you say ‘very’ in Japanese?

A: There are several ways to express ‘very’ in Japanese, including the words “totemo,” “taihen,” and “sugoku.” The choice of word depends on the context and the intensity you want to convey.

Q: What is the Japanese word for ‘very’?

A: The Japanese word for ‘very’ is “totemo.” It is a commonly used word to express strong intensity or degree.

Q: Are there synonyms for ‘very’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are various synonyms for ‘very’ in Japanese. Some common ones include “taihen,” “sugoku,” “hontōni,” and “motto.” These words can be used interchangeably depending on the situation.

Q: How do you express ‘very’ politely in Japanese?

A: To express ‘very’ politely in Japanese, you can add the honorific prefix “o-” before the word. For example, instead of “totemo,” you can say “o-totemo” to convey a higher level of politeness and respect.

Q: Do different regions in Japan have variations in how they express ‘very’?

A: Yes, just like any language, Japanese has regional variations and dialects. Different regions may have their own unique ways to express ‘very.’ It adds richness to the language and reflects the cultural diversity within Japan.

Q: How do you translate ‘very’ into Japanese?

A: Translating ‘very’ from English to Japanese requires understanding the context and nuances of the language. It’s best to use the appropriate word or phrase that conveys the intensity or degree you want to express. It may vary depending on the specific situation.

Q: How can I use ‘very’ in different situations in Japanese?

A: To use ‘very’ in different situations in Japanese, you can apply it to describe various aspects such as emotions, places, or objects. For example, you can say “totemo ureshii” to express ‘very happy’ or “totemo kirei” to mean ‘very beautiful.’

Q: Why is it important to learn how to say ‘very’ in Japanese?

A: Learning how to say ‘very’ in Japanese allows you to enhance your language skills and communicate more effectively. It adds depth and nuance to your conversations, enabling you to express yourself with greater precision and clarity.

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