Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 1: 3/18

にくい

Difficult to, Hard to

Structure

Verb[ます+ にくい

Details

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    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About にくい

Like (やす), にくい is an い-Adjective that is regularly attached to the ます stem of verbs. However, instead of meaning 'easy to (A)', it means 'difficult to (A)'. (A) will always represent the verb that comes before にくい.
  • この駐車場(ちゅうしゃじょう)(せま)から()にくい
    This parking lot is very cramped, so it is difficult to park.
  • 今日(きょう)具合(ぐあい)(わる)から呼吸(こきゅう)にくい
    Because I am not feeling well today, it is hard to breathe.
The nuance of にくい is that (A) is a task that is difficult to do, because of the required skill level, or similar factors. This is different from づらい, which focuses more on a task that is difficult due to being unbearable/hard to endure for some reason.
  • (わたし)英語(えいご)「Literally」という単語(たんご)とても()にくい
    For me, the English word 'literally' is very hard to say. (Hard due to the individual's skill level)
  • (まえ)本当(ほんとう)()づらいけど、お(まえ)ギター(こわ)。ごめん。
    This is very difficult for me to say to you, but I broke your guitar. I'm sorry. (Hard because the speaker knows that telling the listener will cause a negative response)
Fun Fact
An easy way to remember the difference in nuance between にくい and づらい, is that にくい comes from the same kanji as (むずか)しい, which usually carries the meaning of 'difficulty' (in relation to skill being required).

Examples

  • (あま)くないケーキ()にくい

    Cakes that aren't sweet are hard to eat.

  • アフリカ()にくいです

    It is hard to go to Africa.

  • (こわ)ことにくいです

    It is difficult to do scary things.

  • あの(ひと)(はな)にくいです

    That person is hard to talk to. (Unapproachable)

  • このコップ(かたち)(へん)だから()にくい

    Because this cup has a strange shape, it is hard to drink out of.

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にくい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

  • oddic

    oddic

    About 3 years ago

    漢字は覚えにくいと思う。This is almost exactly the sentence where Genki warns that it is odd to use にくい (this case being an example of difficulty defined in terms of physical or statistical success rate). They say that 漢字は覚えにくい should be interpreted as “I have kanji anxieties” instead of commenting on the general process of learning kanji. They advise using 難しい to express the latter. Can anyone shed some light?

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