Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 3: 1/17



Sometimes you can encounter 「すらさえ」in song lyrics, which is used to emphasize すら more. However, this should be avoided as it is not a common expression.


Noun + (Particle)+ すら


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About すら

すら is an adverbial particle in Japanese that basically translates as 'even'. The primary difference between it and も is that すら tends to present far more extreme examples to which a specific rule applies, and therefore also applies to all other less extreme examples. In most cases すら will be used with a negative nuance.
As すら is an adverbial particle, it will be seen directly after nouns, or nouns followed by case-marking particles.
  • 鉛筆(えんぴつ)すら()ってきてないの?本当(ほんとう)にやる()あるの?
    You didn't even bring a pencil? Do you actually want to do this?
  • 子供(こども)すらできることをできないのか。お(まえ)よくここまで()きてこれたな。
    You can't do what even a child can do. How have you managed to live this long?
  • (かれ)すら(はな)してないのに、(おや)(はな)すわけがない。
    I haven't even talked to my boyfriend about it, there is no way I'm telling my parents.
すら may also be followed by も in order to emphasize the point even further.
  • ガラケーすらも使(つか)えないのに、パソコンが使(つか)えるわけないじゃん。
    I can't even use a flip phone, there is no way I can use a computer.
すら and さえ are relatively similar in terms of strength. However, すら is more formal and cannot be used in the さえ~ば construction. すら also tends to be the most extreme example from within a large group, while さえ places more emphasis on a specific individual.
  • そこさえ()()えれば、あとは(らく)になるよ。
    If you can overcome that, everything will be a breeze.
  • そんなことさえ()()えることができないのなら、この(さき)(なに)もできませんよ。
    If you can't even overcome something so simple, you won't be able to do anything beyond this point.
Fun Fact
は, も, さえ, and すら are all adverbial particles that share a linear relationship in regards to the way that they are used. This relationship refers to the intensity of how (A) fits into a group. This can be imagined as follows.
(A) は - (A) is as expected, and there is nothing surprising about it.
(A) も - (A) also fits the category of the main topic (は), but may or may not be surprising.
(A) さえ - (A) also fits the category of the main topic (は), but is quite surprising when examined individually.
(A) すら - (A) also fits the category of the main topic (は), but is the most extreme example possible, thus implying that anything below that level also applies.




    Article: 'Crows have even demonstrated the ability to use tools.'


    In Antarctica, temperatures are below zero even in summer.


    A lost manga protagonist: 'I don't even (know) how many days have passed…'


    A novel, narrator: 'Due to her injuries, let alone running, she can't even stand up out of bed.'


    A novel, narrator: 'Without even explaining to his family, let alone friends he embarked on a journey.'

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