Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 7: 8/17

んばかりに

As if, As if it were about to, About to

ばっかり, ばっか, ばかし, and ばっかし are all fairly common casual variations of ばかり

Structure

Verb[ない+ + ばかり +
Verb[ない+ + ばかり + + Noun

Details

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    Formal

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    硬い

Rare Kanji

許り

About んばかりに

Like とばかりに, んばかりに is a construction that is often used to show that something is being done 'as if it were (A)', or 'seeming that it will (A)'. It is thought to be a combination of ん, an abbreviation of む, the classical auxiliary verb used to show intent or strong will in the same way as う and よう, and the adverbial particle ばかり, exhibiting that something is 'basically exactly as described'. As a result, んばかり simply indicates the volitional form of (A) as appearing to be about to happen.
んばかりに will appear linked to the indeterminate form of verbs (ない stem), and then followed by a statement that is being modified by the に. If んばかり will modify a noun instead, の will replace に.
  • 台風(たいふう)(かぜ)で、(となり)()()(くず)んばかりにギシギシ(おと)()てていた。
    The vacant house next door was making creaking sounds as if it were to collapse because of the winds caused by the typhoon.
  • 先生(せんせい)は「こっちを()ろ」って()んばかりに(つくえ)(たた)いた。
    The teacher slammed his desk as if to say, 'look this way'.
  • このコンサート会場(かいじょう)(あふ)んばかりのファンで()()くされている。
    The concert venue was filled, as if it was about to overflow with fans.
  • (かれ)交通(こうつう)事故(じこ)()くなったってことを()いて、(わたし)(うで)()()んばかり気持(きも)ちになって、その()から(うご)くことができなくなった。
    When I heard that he had died in a car accident, I felt as if my heart was about to tear apart (heartbroken), and I could not move.
Caution
When attached to the indeterminate form of verbs, there is some contention among linguists whether ん is an abbreviation of む, the classical way of expressing う or よう, or whether it is an abbreviation of ぬ, the classical way of expressing ない. Due to being unable to accurately determine what the actual origin is, it would be advisable to choose whichever variation helps to remember the nuance of the grammar point on a case-by-case basis.

Examples

--:--

    小説(しょうせつ):「()れんばかりの拍手(はくしゅ)部屋(へや)()たされた。」

    Novel: 'As if it were about to shatter, the room filled with thunderous applause.'

    小説(しょうせつ):「この巨大(きょだい)宝石(ほうせき)はまるで「(ひろ)ってください」()わんばかりに燦然(さんぜん)(ひか)(かがや)いていた。」

    Novel: 'The enormous jewel was shining brilliantly as if it were saying "please pick me up".'

    コロ先生(せんせい)最後(さいご)講演(こうえん)とあって、講堂(こうどう)生徒(せいと)(あふ)れんばかりだった。

    Since it was the last lecture of Koro-sensei, the auditorium was about to overflow with people.

    回顧録(かいころく):「16年後(ねんご)、スミレに偶然(ぐうぜん)出会(であ)った(とき)彼女(かのじょ)(ぼく)()らないふりして(とお)()ぎた。しかし彼女(かのじょ)(むね)がいっぱいになり、(よろこ)びの(なみだ)()()さんばかりの(かお)をした。」

    Memoir: 'When I happened to meet Sumire sixteen years later, she passed by, pretending not to know me. However, she was filled with emotion, as if she were about to burst into tears of happiness.'

    小説(しょうせつ):「木橋(もくきょう)(くるま)(おも)さで()れんばかりに(きし)(おん)をたてる。」

    Novel: 'The wooden bridge is making a squeaking noise as if it were about to collapse.'

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んばかりに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (3 in total)

  • vnClJTUL

    vnClJTUL

    Should this be Verb[ない ] + + ばかり + instead? All of the example sentences only use the ない-stem without ない.

  • darkhelmet

    darkhelmet

    I found this reference on p. 374 of Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar, instead of Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar as stated in the readings section.

  • mrnoone

    mrnoone

    @darkhelmet

    Thank you again!
    All fixed!

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