Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 5: 11/17

くらいなら

Would rather...than, Rather than, Better off

Structure

Verb[る]+ ぐらいなら(1) + Phrase

(1) くらいなら

Details

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    Standard

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    一般

About ぐらいなら

くらいなら will often be translated as 'would rather (B) than (A)', or 'better off (B) than (A)'. It is a grammar pattern that combines the adverbial particle usages of くらい 'about' and なら 'if' to imply that 'if it gets to the extent of (A), then (B)', where (B) will be something that is preferable. くらいなら will be used directly following verbs in their dictionary forms.
  • あの地域(ちいき)()()くらいなら()んだ(ほう)がマシだ。
    I would rather die, than move to that neighborhood.
  • あの先輩(せんぱい)(もと)(はたら)ぐらいなら一人(ひとり)(はたら)いた(ほう)がいいと(おも)うよ。
    I think you would be better off working alone, than working under that senpai.
  • 何十万(なんじゅうまん)もかけて(なお)くらいなら、もう(すこ)()して(あたら)しい(くるま)()った(ほう)がいい。
    I would rather buy a new car that is a little expensive than pay thousands of dollars to fix this car.
As this structure emphasizes (A) as being something that is undesirable, (B) will often contain statements that offer a solution, suggestion, or opinion, such as ほうがいい 'would be better to', ほうがましだ 'would be less bad', なさい 'do!'.
Caution
Although くらいなら will always follow a verb in dictionary form, the second half of the sentence may imply that (A) has actually already happened, and the speaker is wishing that it hadn't. In these cases, くらいなら almost always translates to 'if I had known that (A), then I would have (B)'.
  • え、(まえ)使(つか)ってたパソコン()てちゃったの?()てるくらいなら(おれ)()ったのに。
    What… You threw away the computer you were using? I would have bought it from you rather than you throw it away.
  • あんな(やつ)(たの)ぐらいなら自分(じぶん)でやればよかった。
    I should have done it myself, rather than asking a person like that to do it.

Examples

  • A:「(かれ)(たす)けを(もと)めたらどう?」
    B:「(かれ)(たす)けを(もと)めるくらいならむしろピラニアだらけの(いけ)(およ)いだほうがましだぞ。」

    A: 'What about asking him for help?'
    B: 'I would rather swim through a pond full of piranha than ask him for help.'

    This construction can be used as a reaction to what the speaker finds to be a bad suggestion or advice.

  • その仕事(しごと)絶対(ぜったい)(いや)だ。それに(もど)くらいなら()んだほうがましだ。」

    'I really hate that job. I would rather die than go back.'

  • (ちい)さなことに()くじらを()てる(ひと)一緒(いっしょ)生活(せいかつ)するくらいならホームレスになったほうがましだ。」

    'I would rather become homeless than live together with a person who nitpicks every little thing I do.'

  • A:「(あい)Phoneの画面(がめん)修理(しゅうり)は3万円(まんえん)からするどうしようかな?」
    B:「とっても(たか)よね!修理(しゅうり)するくらいなら(あたら)しいのを()っちゃった(ほう)いいかなあ。」

    A: 'My aiPhone screen repair cost starts at about 30000 yen! What should I do?'
    B: 'Wha, that's super expensive! You would be better off buying a new one rather than repairing it.'

  • 「やらずに後悔(こうかい)するくらいならいっそやってみなさい。」

    'Rather than regret not doing it, try it!'

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ぐらいなら – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

  • Humin

    Humin

    About 2 years ago

    I recently ran into this construction in the wild with a weird switching.
    The construction says “[Phrase A]Verb[る] + くらいなら + [Phrase B]”, but is it possible to have Phrase B first with the more preferred option ending in Verb[た]あと?

    The construction I saw was [Phrase B]Verb[た]+あと…+[Phrase A]Verb[る]+くらいなら。

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