Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 5: 5/18


To be (not) worth, To (not) pay off


Verb[た](1) + 甲斐(かい) + がある(2)
Verb[ます+ がい + がある(2)
Noun + の + 甲斐(かい) + がある(2)

(1) Verb[る], Less common
(2) ない


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About 甲斐がある

甲斐(かい), a noun meaning 'worth' or 'effect', will often be used following verbs or nouns, in order to show that (A) was or will be worth doing. In many cases, this grammar point will be seen in hiragana, and will appear as either かい or がい, depending on how it is conjugating with the previous word. Possible translations include things like 'it is worth doing (A)', or '(A) will pay off'.
が and the う-Verb ある 'to be' will follow かい. This states that the 'worth of (A) exists'. Occasionally, the が will be omitted. When following verbs, がい will be used after the ます-stem, or かい may be used after any standard form.
  • この(しょく)パンを()えて、(あさ)の4()から(なら)んだ甲斐(かい)があった
    It was worth standing in line since 4 a.m. as I was able to buy this bread.
  • こういう景色(けしき)()ると()きている甲斐(かい)がある(おも)う。
    This kind of scenery makes me feel that life is worth living.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)何回(なんかい)注意(ちゅうい)しても上達(じょうたつ)しないから(おし)がいがない
    She is not worth teaching because she does not improve no matter how many times I give her advice.
The primary difference between these conjugation patterns is that there is more focus on the tense of the verb with かい, whereas がい will frequently have the nuance of it 'always being worth (A)'.
When pairing with nouns, の will be required before かいがある.
  • みんなの努力(どりょく)甲斐(かい)があり、この大会(たいかい)優勝(ゆうしょう)する(こと)ができました。
    Everyone's hard work paid off, and we were able to win the tournament.
  • 看病(かんびょう)甲斐(かい)があり(ちち)がどんどんと元気(げんき)になってきた。
    Nursing my father paid off and he is rapidly getting better and better.
Alternatively, かいがない may be used in order to indicate that it is 'not' worth doing something.
  • しょっぼ、なにこれ。こんなもんのために東京(とうきょう)からきた甲斐(かい)がない
    What the heck is this, this is it? It was not worth coming all the way from Tokyo for something like this.
かいがある is primarily used when the speaker wants to convey that a positive result will come from something that is either difficult or unpleasant.




    I studied Japanese every day. My efforts paid off, and I finally passed the JLPT. I feel great!


    Was it worth it to cut all ties with your family and friends? Now, no matter how rich you are, it doesn't change the fact that you will lead a lonely life.


    As expected, it paid off to install a fire extinguisher, which proved to come in handy this time.


    As expected it was worth it to cut back on electricity and water use, because my payments decreased.


    'It is not worth to teach him, because he is not studying.'

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