なかなか (naka naka) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Quite

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'なかなか (naka naka) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Quite'

Anna Baffa Volpe

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なかなか (naka naka) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Quite

The adverb なかなか (naka naka) means quite, rather but also considerably, very, pretty, fairly, reasonably depending on which form is used.

In this post, we learn and review the adverb なかなか and its nuances, used in the affirmative form with adjectives, the copula だ, with nouns and when it is followed by the negative form of the verbs.

How なかなか is formed

なかなか is an adverb, it precedes adjectives, the copula だ and nouns in general in the affirmative form.

The verbs combined with なかなか are in the negative form.

The Kanji transcription of なかなか is: (なか)々.

なかなか+Adjectives and the Copula だ


It's pretty tasty!



The ramen that he makes is very good.

なかなか with the Affirmative Form

In the affirmative form, なかなか refers to something that is good, pleasant, or that we appreciate.


It's pretty good!

We use なかなか and the affirmative form when the degree, the quality of a thing, the situation described exceeds our expectation and often surprises us.


The colours are good, but the design is also very good.


This app is very useful!


It's quite a difficult problem.

⇨ The problem is more difficult than I could have imagined.

なかなか~ない: use with the Negative Form

In the negative form なかなか refers to something that is not easy, that requires effort; describes something that is more difficult than expected or that does not go as expected.

なかなか+Verb in the Negative Form


He does not smile easily.

Let's consider the Kanji forming the adverb: (なか) which indicates something in the middle, still in progress, something half-finished, therefore not defined.

We can summarize the negative function of なかなか in 3 points:

1 I think the thing is ()()(のう) impossible

2 I think this won't be easy to accomplish

3 I think it's more difficult than I expect


I've been practicing by writing it down many times, but I can't remember it.

なかなか followed by a verb in the negative form emphasises the improbability and impossibility of the action being performed or the fact occurring.


The train is not coming soon.

⇨ I consider the delay, the situation and deduce that the train is unlikely to arrive.


It's still not easy to make it concrete.

In the following two sentences, the degree of the difficulty is well expressed.


It's not easy to see you, is it?


He is having trouble finishing his work.

From a Video on Sport and Health:




There are probably many athletes who say ``I want to get bigger, but I can't gain weight,'' or ``I can't gain weight even though I'm eating a lot.''

The noun アスリート from English athlete was used in the sentence and its Japanese version is (せん)(しゅ).


She did not reply immediately.

Other examples of なかなか

Cover of the book by writer and screenwriter Yumie Hirai (ひら)()(ゆみ)():

Quite a nice way of life
()(かた) is the way of life, the lifestyle


Quite a nice way of life


I'm so busy with work that it's difficult for me to travel.


The new hoover is quite good. I am glad I bought it.

  • From a YouTube Tutorial on how to use an application


The automatic creation of videos on Google Photos is very interesting, so I will upload the video with a summary of its use.