Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 8: 17/22


Extremely, Very, Really, It can't be helped


Verb [て] + しょうがない
[い]Adjective[て]+ しょうがない
[な]Adjective + + しょうがない


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About てしょうがない

てしょうがない, is a common colloquial expression used when '(A) cannot be helped', or something is 'extremely (A)'. This structure is simply an abbreviated version of 仕様(しよう), a noun meaning 'way' or 'method', as しょう is easier to say than しよう. Literally, the meaning is close to 'it's (A), and nothing can be done about it'. Generally, this just implies that the extent of (A) is so high that it cannot be overlooked, or cannot be avoided.
This structure may be seen following the て-form of verbs, い-Adjectives, of the で-from of な-Adjectives.
  • 日本語(にほんご)上手(じょうず)になりたくてしょうがない
    I can't help but want to become good at Japanese.
  • 部屋(へや)(あつ)てしょうがない
    My room is extremely hot.
  • スイーツが()でしょうがない
    I love sweets so much that it can't be helped.
Alternatively, 仕方(しかた)がない may be used, but there is an extremely small difference between these two structures, with the noun 仕方(しかた) also meaning 'way' or 'method'. Traditionally, 仕方(しかた)がない is perceived to be slightly more polite, so may be more likely to be found in literature.
  • (わたし)(いま)妊娠(にんしん)をしているが、寿司(すし)()べたく仕方(しかた)がない
    Although I am pregnant right now, I really want to eat sushi.
  • (ねむ)仕方(しかた)がなかったので、(すこ)しだけ昼寝(ひるね)をしました。
    Since I was extremely sleepy, I took a small nap.
  • この(ふる)いパソコンは不便(ふべん)仕方(しかた)がないから()てることにします。
    Since this old computer is extremely useless, I will throw it away.




    I can't help but always forget the same thing (again and again).


    I want to play video games so bad it can't be helped.


    Extremely fun.
    (So fun it can't be helped)


    I really want that telescope.
    (I want that telescope so much that it can't be helped)


    Because it is bandaged, it is extremely itchy.
    (Because I am wearing a bandage, it itches so much that it can't be helped)

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