Monday, December 31, 2012

Uses of ほど

Maggie's site gives a nice detailed lesson for ほど. I summarize the basic idea here, together with some expressions that are noteworthy.

ほど indicates degree or extent, and is usually used with a negative verb. It follows the pattern:

A wa B hodo [adjective]-nai.

Ex. Kumiko-san wa Mai-san hodo sei ga takakunai.
Kumiko is not as tall as Mai.

Ex. Kumiko-san wa Mai-san hodo Eigo ga heta ja nai.
Kumiko is not as bad in English as Mai is.

This is the most common usage of ほど. It can also mean "to the level of", as in the following:

Ex. この漫画は、飽きるほど読んだ
Kono manga wa akiru hodo yonda.
I read this manga until I got tired of it.

More interesting, though, are some expressions which utilize hodo.

1. + ば +   + ほど + ....
This means "the more...., the more...."

Ex.  彼のことを知れば知るほどわからなくなる。
Kare no koto wo shireba shiru hodo wakaranai.
The more I get to know him, the more I don't understand.
(Lit. If I get to know him, I will not understand to the point that I know.)

As you can see, it's better just to understand this phrase as a whole. :)

Ex. あの人のことを好きになれば好きになるほど、心が痛い。
Anohito no kotowo suki ni nareba suki ni naru hodo kokoro ga itai.
The more I get to like him, the more my heart hurts.

2. にもほどがある (ni mo hodo ga aru)
"There's a limit to...."

Ex. 我慢するにもほどがある
Gaman suru nimo hodo ga aru.
There's a limit to my patience.
(Lit. There's a limit to how much I can bear.)

Ex. 冗談にもほどがある
Joudan ni mo hodo ga aru.
This is no longer a joke!
Lit. There's a limit to jokes.

3. これ、それ、あれ + ほど
Means "of this/that extent"

Ex. これほどむずかしいと思わなかった。
Korehodo muzukashii to omowanakatta.
I didn't think it would be this difficult.

Ex. それほどお金に困っていたらどうして一言、相談してくれなかったの?
Sorehodo okane ni komatte itara doushite hitokoto, soudan shite kurenakatta no?
If you were that desperate for money, why didn't you tell me?
(Lit. komatte -> komaru -> be in trouble)

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