Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 6: 20/24


Extremely, Especially, To my ...

ことに only carries this meaning with words that describe 'feelings'


Verb + ことに
[い]Adjective + ことに
[な]Adjective + + ことに


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About ことに

Not to be confused with (こと) 'thing', (こと) is an adverb with the same reading that often appears in hiragana, specifically to highlight that something is to a 'great extent'. Due to being used adverbially, (こと) will be followed by に. The kanji (こと) itself has the meaning of 'particularly'.
This expression is regularly seen after verbs, い or な-Adjectives. When (こと) has the meaning of 'particularly', 'especially', or 'to my (A)', it is almost always describing some kind of feeling or emotion.
  • ビックリしたことに(ひさ)しぶり小学生(しょうがくせい)時代(じだい)友達(ともだち)から電話(でんわ)かかってきた
    I am especially surprised that I got a phone call from a friend from elementary school after such a long time.
  • (めずら)しいことに(かれ)いいレストラン()れていってくれた。
    It is particularly rare to be taken to a nice restaurant by him.
  • 残念(ざんねん)ことにその商品(しょうひん)もう販売(はんばい)中止(ちゅうし)なりました。
    Unfortunately, that product is no longer being sold.
In most situations, '(A) ことに (B)' can be translated quite literally as 'to a particularly (A) extent, (B)'.
Fun Fact
A very common expression (さいわ)いなことに uses this particular grammar structure as a set phrase, and is often translated simply as 'fortunately', or 'luckily'.
  • (さいわ)いなことに近所(きんじょ)(ひと)(わたし)(ねこ)()つけて(いえ)まで(とど)けてくれた。
    Fortunately, my neighbor found our cat for us, and brought her home.
Fun Fact
Although it is quite uncommon, こと may also be seen as (こと), a kanji meaning 'irregular'.




    I am extremely happy about getting married next year.


    I am especially happy about passing the JLPT.


    To our extreme surprise, the six month old baby took its first steps.


    Sadly, he was so heartbroken after his wife's death that he resigned.


    By some extreme oddity, lately everything seems to be going well.

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ことに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (5 in total)

  • Daru


    We usually reserve 硬 for strictly academic/written only/extremely formal Grammar Points, while this Grammar Point is a bit stiff it’s certainly not to the degree of a 硬 Grammar Point.

    For example, just from the fact that there’s the very common expression いなことに is enough to NOT validate it as a 硬 Grammar Point.

    Hope this helps!

  • Ferpalaciosd


    Quick question – I’m under the impression that inverting the sentence order for some of these would come off more natural.


    Maybe it would need a bit more tooling for it to be grammatically sound, but that’s just my two cents.

  • whatyouexpect


    Hi, the Bunpro entry suggests that this ことに comes from the adverb 殊, but I cannot find any other sources that support that claim. It seems to just be regular こと. Also in the 幸いなことに entry it does say that this is the こと that means “thing”.

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