くせに (kuseni) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

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くせに (kuseni) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

The expression くせに (kuseni) means although, even if, despite the fact that ... .

くせに has the same meaning as のに. Both indicate something that is different from what is expected. くせに, unlike のに, has a negative nuance: it indicates a criticism or complaint.

In this post we learn more about the meaning of くせに, how it is formed, and when くせに is used through real example sentences.


How くせに is formed

くせに can follow nouns, adjectives, and even verbs. With adjectives in な you must add な before くせに, while for nouns の is added:

Verb+くせに
Adjective[い]+くせに
Adjective[な]++くせに
Noun++くせに
くせに comes from the noun 癖, which means habit or tendency often in a negative sense ("bad habit")

Let's see some examples of how くせに is used.

もらう
もらうくせに
(わか)
(わか)くせに
(おく)(びょう)
(おく)(びょう)なくせに
(いぬ)
(いぬ)のくせに

How and when to use くせに

くせに is often used to criticize the actions of others. Its meaning is despite or even if. Let's see a simple example to understand how it is used and how to translate くせに:

さっき()るって()ってたくせにまだ()きてるの?

Even though you said you were going to bed early, are you still awake?

In this sentence くせに follows the verb ()う (say). Using くせに implies a criticism of the fact that despite what you said, the situation is different from what you promised. Specifically, it was expected that you were already in bed (since you said to go to bed early) but in reality you did not.

くせに has the same use and meaning as のに. Their main difference is that くせに has a negative connotation (which comes from 癖)

くせに is also used to accuse and ridicule, as well as to criticize the behavior or actions of others. くせに shows a sense of contempt and dissatisfaction.

(かれ)(ふと)っているくせに(こえ)(ほそ)い。

Despite being fat his voice is thin.

(よわ)いくせに(つよ)がりを()う。

Even though he is weak he pretends to be strong in what he says.

Since くせに indicates a sense of criticism, this expression is used to refer to people, animals, groups, or entities

For this reason, a sentence like the one below is considered incorrect:

12(がつ)のくせに(あたた)かい。

Although it is December it's hot. (⛔️)

In fact, くせに derives from 癖, which indicates a negative habit or tendency. December is only a month of the year, so there is no point in "criticizing the month" for being hot. In these cases we use のに instead.

くせして

In a derogatory and more critical context, it is possible to find くせに in another form: くせして.

This form derives from the fact that に and して can be interchangeable in certain contexts, and that して turns out to be more empathic and, in this case, derogatory.

Examples of くせに

(おに)とは(なか)()くできないって()ってたくせに、(なん)なんでしょうか?

Although you said you can't befriend a demon, what are you doing now?

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