Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 9: 13/23


To do all that one can, As much or many ~ as one could


Verb + だけ + Verb[た](*)
Verb + だけ + Verb[ている](*)

(*) The same Verb has to be repeated


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About だけは

だけは is another one of the many grammar patterns in Japanese that includes the particle だけ, meaning 'just' or 'only'. In this particular structure, だけ pairs with は, and presents a specific verb as the topic to indicate that it is being done 'as much as one can'. The same verb will be repeated both before and after だけは, with the one coming second usually appearing in its past-tense or ている form.
Imagining that the target verb was ()べる 'to eat', the literal translation of something like ()べるだけは()べた would be 'I ate just what I could eat'. Because this pattern frequently discusses possibilities, it is also very common for the first verb to be in the potential れる or られる form.
  • ()放題(ほうだい)だったから、()めるだけは()んだ。
    It was all you could drink, so I drank as much as I could.
  • トイレットペーパーを()えるだけは()ったが、()場所(ばしょ)がない。
    I bought as much toilet paper as I could afford, but I have nowhere to put it.
  • ピアノのレッスンには(かよ)だけは(かよ)っているけど、ピアノにはあまり興味(きょうみ)がない。
    I go to piano lessons as much as I can, but I am not very interested in piano.
  • 毎日(まいにち)漢字(かんじ)勉強(べんきょう)をするだけはしているが、上達(じょうたつ)している(かん)じがしない。
    I do as much as I can to study kanji every day, but I don't feel like I'm making progress.
Caution - It is also relatively common to see する omitted following the first verb, and only being used after だけは. In this kind of pattern, the target verb itself will not usually be repeated after だけは.
  • 勉強(べんきょう)だけはしたが、全然(ぜんぜん)(あたま)情報(じょうほう)(はい)ってこなかった。
    I studied as much as I could, but I didn't get any information in my head.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)には何回(なんかい)連絡(れんらく)だけはしているが、全然(ぜんぜん)返事(へんじ)をしてくれない。
    I have been trying to contact my senpai as much as I could, but he won't respond at all.


  • ()べられるだけ()べた()放題(ほうだい)だからさ。

    I ate all that I could. It was an all you can eat after all.

    • 今日(きょう)()たい(ふく)(かわ)かすだけ(かわ)かして(いえ)()た。

      I dried the clothes I want to wear today as much as I could and then left the house.

      • このナッツを(くだ)だけ(くだ)いた

        I crushed these nuts as much as I could.

        • ()しかった楽器(がっき)()だけ()ったが、全然(ぜんぜん)練習(れんしゅう)していません。

          Even though I bought as many of the instruments that I wanted as I could, I have not been practicing at all.

          • 為替(かわせ)毎日(まいにち)チェックするだけしているが、イマイチよく()からない

            Every day I check the money orders as much as I can, but I still don't quite understand (them).

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