Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 8: 4/13

くらい ①

About, Approximately

くらい and ぐらい may be used 100% interchangeably, but ぐらい is far more common in speech


Number/counter + くらい or ぐらい


  • Part of Speech


  • Word Type

    Adverbial Particle

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  • 品詞


  • 単語の種類


  • 使用域


About くらい ①

くらい or ぐらい (more common in spoken language) has several different uses in Japanese, but is often translated as 'about', or 'approximately'. It comes from the kanji (くらい), which literally means a 'rank', or 'grade' of something. This use of くらい comes after numbers, or counter words.

As can be seen in the last example, くらい may also be used after question words such as どの, when asking about the extent (grade) of something.

Due to the original meaning of くらい being 'rank', or 'extent', it may not be used when referring to broad periods of time. ころ will be used in these situations. However, くらい and ころ may be used interchangeably when referring to a specific time (due to a specific time being able to be thought of as an extent).


Please see the ころ grammar point if you would like to compare these two structures further.




    Approximately when will you come?


    I will go/leave in approximately 30 minutes.


    Approximately how much coffee do you drink per week?


    He's about 10 years old.


    I read a book for about one hour every day.

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くらい ① – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (13 in total)

  • alexpwns


    Was wondering why the で is needed here after ぐらい?

  • nekoyama


    Without the で, the …ぐらい works like an adverbial phrase that modifies いい: “It’s about that good”.

  • BobFraser


    I’m a little confused as to why for the following english sentence, ぐらい is preferred to ごろ:
    Approximately when will you come?” => “何時ぐらいに来ますか”

    This example came up while doing a lesson quiz and I thought that in this case, ごろ would be more appropriate, especially because of the following grammar point from the lesson, but to my surprise the app was expecting ぐらい:

    [くらい・ぐらい is more often used to describe amounts, while ころ・ごろ is almost always exclusively used to highlight a point in time]

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