Japanese Grammar Bank


Today we’ll be looking at multiple ways to express almost in Japanese.

We will mention a few sentence structures and plenty of sentence examples, so make sure to bookmark this lesson first!


ほとんど hotondo

This is the bread and butter of expressing “almost” in Japanese.

This comes before the phrase where you would add “almost” in English. It can be used in both a positive and negative way.

The actual meaning of this can range from “most” to “hardly any” depending on context. 


ほとんど + Sentence

Kansei shimashita.


It’s been completed.
Hotondo kansei shimashita.


It’s almost complete.

NOTE || A particle の has to come after ほとんど if a noun follows it.

Examples of POSITIVE use

ほとんど完成しました。Hotondo kansei shimashita.It’s almost complete.
ほとんどの人が同意しました。Hotondo no hito ga doui shimashita.Almost everyone agreed.
ほとんど忘れました。Hotondo wasuremashita.I almost forgot.
View More Examples:
ほとんどの場合Hotondo no baaiIn almost all cases
ほとんど毎日Hotondo mainichiAlmost every day
ほとんどの時間Hotondo no jikanMost of the time
ほとんど同じHotondo onajiAlmost the same
ほとんど必要ありません。Hotondo hitsuyou arimasen.It’s almost not necessary.
ほとんど夏休みです。Hotondo natsuyasumi desu.It’s almost summer vacation.

Before we look at some examples of the negative use, let’s have a quick refresher of the negative form of verbs

For group 1 verbs, take off the るru, make the あa version of the ending syllable, and then add ないnai.

For group 2 verbs (食べる taberu to eat, 浴びる abiru to bathe, 見る miru to see) start with the dictionary form, then add ない nai in place of る ru.

Examples of NEGATIVE use

ほとんどお金がありません。Hotondo okane ga arimasen.I hardly have any money.
彼はほとんど食べません。Kare wa hotondo tabemasen.He hardly eats.
ほとんど時間がありません。Hotondo jikan ga arimasen.I hardly have any time.
View More Examples:
彼女はほとんど眠りません。Kanojo wa hotondo nemimasen.She hardly sleeps.
ほとんど友達が来ません。Hotondo tomodachi ga kimasen.Hardly any friends come over.
ほとんど知りません。Hotondo shirimasen.I hardly know.
ほとんど問題がありません。Hotondo mondai ga arimasen.There are hardly any problems.


大抵 taitei
大体 daitai

Unlike ほとんど, 大抵 and 大体 are only really used in positive situations.

Remember that a の is needed before a noun.

Hito wa yorokobimasu.


People are happy.
Taitei no hito wa yorokobimasu.


Most people are happy.
大抵の人は喜びます。Taitei no hito wa yorokobimasu.Most people are happy.
大抵の場合。Taitei no baaiIn most cases.
大抵の学生が試験に合格しました。Taitei no gakusei ga shiken ni goukaku shimashita.Almost all students passed the exam.
View More Examples:
大抵の国で英語が教えられています。Taitei no kuni de eigo ga oshierareteimasu.English is taught in most countries.
大抵の場所には無料の駐車場があります。Taitei no basho ni wa muryou no chuushajou ga arimasu.There are free parking lots in most places.
大抵の人は朝食を食べます。Taitei no hito wa choushoku o tabemasu.Most people eat breakfast.
大抵の日は晴れています。Taitei no hi wa hareteimasu.It’s sunny on most days.
大抵の店は午後10時に閉まります。Taitei no mise wa gogo juuji ni shimarimasu.Most shops close at 10 PM.


惜しい oshii

This is a bit of a bonus addition.

But it’s worth mentioning that when talking about sports if you were to try to say something along the lines of “You almost got it in,” or “That was almost a goal,” then you would probably say 惜しい (unlucky).


Here is a summary of the ways to express almost in Japanese, as learned in this lesson:

  • ほとんど paired with a phrase is how you express “almost”.
  • ほとんど can be used in positive or negative situations.
  • 大抵 and 大体 can also mean “almost,” but are used for only positive situations.

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How to say almost in Japanese?

ほとんど hotondo

It can be used in both a positive and negative way. A のno has to come after ほとんどhotondo if a noun follows it.


Hotondo kansei shimashita.

It’s almost complete.

大抵 taitei & 大体 daitai

They are only really used in positive situations. Remember that a の no is needed before a noun.


Taitei no hito wa yorokobimasu.

Most people are happy.

How to say but in Japanese?

The most common way to express “but” in Japanese is with the word demo でも.


Eigo wa kantan desu. Demo, Nihongo wa muzukashii desu.

English is easy, but Japanese is difficult.

Another way to say but in Japanese is けど (kedo), which is a conjunction used to connect two clauses.


Tenki ga warukatta kedo, tanoshii ryokou deshita.

The weather was bad, but it was a fun trip.

Learn more about but in Japanese.

How to say if in Japanese?

There is several ways to say if in Japanese, depending on the situation. To summarise:

ば is used for real or concrete situations.

たら is used for hypothetical or speculative situations.

なら is used for conjecture or assumption. 

と is used for expressing natural consequence.

もし adds an extra air of uncertainty. Often combined with one of the above conditionals.

Learn more about if in Japanese.

How to say because in Japanese?

There are 3 ways to say because in Japanese:

There are:

から kara

ので node

なぜなら nazenara

Learn more about because in Japanese.

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