Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 5: 3/20

(ほとん)

Almost all, Most, Hardly any, Few (Adverbial noun)

generally written in kana, though 殆ど form can also be seen

Structure

ほとんど + Phrase
ほとんど + (Negative) Phrase

Details

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    一般

About ほとんど

The adverb ほとんど is used in many situations in Japanese, and often translates as 'most', 'hardly any', 'almost all', and similar expressions. The nuance will always depend on the rest of the sentence. The most accurate translation for the word ほとんど itself is simply 'almost', where the thing that it is describing is always considered to be a full group, rather than a single thing.
As with many other adverbs that highlight an 'amount' in Japanese, ほとんど can modify a whole phrase, or can be used before , to further specify a single noun.
  • 宿題(しゅくだい)ほとんど()わっている
    Most of my homework is done.
  • 弁当(べんとう)ほとんど()べてないけど、おやつ全部(ぜんぶ)()べた。
    I didn't eat most of my lunch, but I ate all the snacks.
  • ほとんど(ひと)(わたし)名前(なまえ)()めません。
    Most people can't read my name.
  • ほとんど大学生(だいがくせい)(おや)()んでいます
    Most college students live with their parents.
In negative sentences, ほとんど translates as 'hardly any'. This is mainly due to the 'full group' that ほとんど is describing being highlighted as almost 'not' existing.
  • 今年(ことし)屋台(やたい)ほとんどない
    There are hardly any food stalls this year.
  • 週末(しゅうまつ)()かけことはほとんどないです
    I hardly go out during the weekends.

Examples

  • みんなほとんど(かえ)ました

    Almost everyone has gone home.

  • 今日(きょう)宿題(しゅくだい)ほとんどない

    There is hardly any homework today.

  • この(みずうみ)ほとんど(あさ)(おも)

    This lake is mostly shallow, I think.

  • えっ!この(さかな)ほとんど(にお)ない

    Huh?! This fish hardly has any smell.

  • ()()までに()生徒(せいと)ほとんどなかった

    Hardly any students submitted (the paper) before the deadline.

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ほとんど – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • s1212z

    s1212z

    About 4 years ago

    Hi deltacat3!

    This sounds correct to me. The starting point in past is in the context of course but I think there are some special meaning 行っている or action verbs with いる that was mentioned in Guide to Japanese (see motion verb section). They mention it doesn’t necessarily have a “going” type of implication but this sounds like word play to me. Also

  • Superpnut

    Superpnut

    About 2 years ago

    I don’t know if this was intended or not so I am just posting here in case it isn’t.

    The review accepted あまり when the review is for ほとんど. Normally when Bunpro is looking for a particular grammar point it makes it pretty clear but it just accepted it this time. Which is odd since I don’t even know is あまり would actually work since after reviewing it it appears it has to be immediately followed by a noun/adj/verb. Anyways

    今日は宿題が --ほとんど-- ない。Is the grammar point

  • Fuga

    Fuga

    About 1 year ago

    Hey! This seems like a input error on our end, and We have just fixed it! あまりない can work here and be understood, however, having a noun/adj/verb after あまり would flow better and make the sentence sound more natural.

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