ばかり (bakari) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

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ばかり (bakari) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

ばかり is a particle that has many uses and meanings in the Japanese language.

The word ばかり by itself means only, no more than, about, just. However, these meanings are used in Japanese in combination with some verb forms or other particles, which allow each to express one of these translations.

In this post, we are going to see all the various ways of using ばかり in Japanese and the various meanings that each of these expressions assumes.


Just / Nothing but - ばかり

In its basic form, ばかり is used to indicate a condition in which we have so much of something to the point that everything else is as if it didn't exist.

In this way ばかり translates as nothing but ..., but it can in some cases be interpreted as only or just.

This form of ばかり is found after a verb in the te form or a noun:

Verb[て]+ばかり
Noun+ばかり
ばかり can also be found in the following more colloquial forms: ばっかり, ばっか, ばかし and ばっかし
あの
(ひと)
(ゆめ)
()いかけてばかり。

That person does nothing but chase her dreams.

As we see from the example, ばかり follows the te form of the verb ()いかける, which means to chase.

()いかける
()いかけ
()いかけ

The addition of ばかり indicates that this person () is so busy with their dreams that everything else becomes non-existent. Therefore in this example ばかり adds a negative nuance to the sentence, as if to say he does just that, how about everything else instead?.

Just done - たばかり

This expression consists in conjugating the verb that precedes ばかり in the ta form (past tense).

Verb[た]+ばかり

This form of ばかり is used to express the end of a situation or action. In this way, the translation of this form becomes just done or just finished.

(いえ)
()たばかり
だ。

I just left the house.

This example uses the verb ()go out, conjugated in its ta form:

()
()
()

This verb form followed by ばかり emphasizes the fact that I have just left the house, meaning that the action of leaving the house has just ended.

bakari in Final Fantasy VII Remake
---

0:00.00

-1:0-1.00

()()ったばかり
なのに
とても
よくしてくれて。

Despite the fact that we had just met, she did a lot for me.

In this sentence taken from the video game Final Fantasy VII: Remake (FF7 リメイク) the form たばかり is used to express the fact that the characters have just met, where ()()う means to know a person.

Continue to - ばかりだ

This form links to a verb in its basic form followed by ばかり and the copula だ (or で if the sentence continues):

Verb+ばかり+
Verb+ばかり++Sentence

This form indicates that something or some situation is the only one that is happening. In this way, another possible translation is continues to, meaning that something is going on and increasing.

()(だん)
()がる
ばかり
だ。

The price keeps increasing.

In this example we see how the verb used is ()がる increase in its basic form. With the addition of ばかりだ the sentence expresses the idea that the price keeps going, that is, that growing is the only thing that is happening.

Just because - ばかりに

When the particle に follows ばかり the meaning becomes only because ... then, or more literally even only with (A), (B) could have happened.

The form ばかりに follows each word in the attributive form:

Verb[た]+ばかり+
Adjective[い]+ばかり+
Adjective[な]++ばかり+
Noun++ばかり+
(さい)()
(わす)れたばかりに、
(べん)(とう)
()えなかった。

Just because I forgot my wallet, I couldn't buy my Bento.

In this example we see how ばかりに indicates that only because the first part of the sentence happened (I forgot my wallet), then it was not possible to perform the action indicated in the second part of the sentence (buy the Bento).

Not only ... but also - ばかりでなく

The form ばかりでなく is used to express the meaning Not only (A), but also (B). This form consists of:

  • ばかり
  • でなく: Negative conjugated form of the copula だ

The form ばかりでなく follows each word in the attributive form:

Verb[た]+ばかり+でなく
Adjective[い]+ばかり+でなく
Adjective[な]++ばかり+でなく
Noun+ばかり+でなく
You can also find the form ばかりか instead of ばかりでなく
()(なか)さん
サッカーばかりでなく
(すい)(えい)
(じょう)()だ。

Tanaka-san is not only good at soccer but also good at swimming.

In this example we see how ばかりでなく is in the middle of the sentence to indicate that ()(なか) Tanaka (first name) is not only good at football (サッカー, soccer) but also swimming (水泳).

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