How to express "a lot" in Japanese?

There are several ways to express "a lot" or a large amount in Japanese, some of these ways are totem, ooku, plentyhi, etc. But what is the difference between each of them? When to use each? Are there other ways? We will answer all these questions in this article.

TOTEMO - Adverb for "very"

Totemo [とても] or [迚も] is an adverb meaning “very; excessively” and is often used to modify adjectives. O totem it is used more to express feelings, while the other options that we will see below, it is usually used more to express quantity and abundance of things.

Usage examples of Totemo

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
彼はとても思慮深い人だ。He is a very knowledgeable person.He is a very thoughtful person.
彼はとても疲れていた。He was very tired.He was very tired.
夜、とても暑い。Night, very hot.The night is very hot
とても大好きI love you very muchI love so much

DAI [大] - Very Large in Japanese

Dai [大] can also be translated as “much; big” when used together with some words like [好き]. [大好き] means an even greater love, and together with [とても] it becomes more powerful.

Instead of [とても] you can try using different expressions like:

  • なり - Kanari - Considerably; quite
  • 特に - Tokuni - Particular; especially
  • 本当に - Hontouni - Really; truly.
  • すごく - 凄く - sugoku - Extremely
  • 超 - チョー - cho - Super
  • めっちゃ - meccha - ridiculously
  • 結構 - kekkou - Splendid; good; wonderful; quite
  • 相当 - soutou - Considerable; substantial; extremely
  • 随分 - zuibun - very; extremely; surprisingly; considerably
  • kiwamete - extremely Plenty; extremely; decisively
  • とんでもない - Unbelievable - Unthinkable; unexpected; outrageous
  • Excessively Excessive; surplus; superfluous; exceeding; unnecessary
  • yohodo / yoppodo - very; exceedingly; extremely Very; to a great extent; quite
  • 前代未聞 - zendaimimon - unprecedented; record

Try to get out of the [とても] a little bit and make your sentences richer by using these different expressions.

How to say “a lot” in Japanese?

OOI [多い] - Adjective for many

Ooi [多い] is an adjective meaning "many / a lot", however you cannot put a noun after this adjective. For example, see the sentence "There are many people" written below:

  • Wrong: There are many people.
  • Correct: There are many people

Not just this one, but there are some adjectives that cannot be used before nouns. Only in cases where you have a relative clause. That is, when the adjective [多い] does not modify the following noun, for example:

  • I went to a crowded town
  • I went to a city where there are a lot of people;

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:

OOKU [多く] - Very large

Ooku [多く] means “many; much; largely; abundantly; most of the time” and can be used before a noun, and must be used together with the particle の or another particle. Examples:

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
金は多くの人を破滅させる。kane wa ōku no hito o hametsu sa seru. Money brings about the destruction of many people.Money is the bane of many
3月になると多くの花が咲く。When March comes, many flowers bloom.In March many flowers bloom.
彼は多くの苦難を経験した。Kare wa ōku no kunan or keiken shita.He suffered a series of/many hardships.

TAKUSAN [たくさん] - Various and many

Takusan [たくさん] (沢山) is an adverbial noun meaning “a lot; lots; abundance; Many; a big number; enough".  Examples:

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
そんなにたくさんくださいました。Son'nani takusan kudasaimashita.You gave me so many.
アナは友達がたくさんいる。Ana and friends have many.Ana has a lot of friends
たくさんの人が交通事故で死ぬ。Many people die in traffic accidents.Many people die in traffic accidents.

As plenty is an adverbial noun it can be used without the particle [の] together with verbs. But you can't say [たくさん本] (many books) without using the [の] particle. The correct way to say it is [たくさんの本] (a bunch of books).

TAIHEN - Many problems

Taihen [大変] can be translated as “very;large;immense; huge” but most often used to express something bad, terrible, most often used in a negative way. Examples:

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
大変寒くなった。It got very cold.It got very cold.
この町で暮らすのは大変だ。Kono machi by kurasu no wa taihenda.It is very difficult to live in this city.
それは大変だねえ・・・。That's untranslatable.This is very bad. / That is terrible.
How to say “a lot” in Japanese?

Other ways to say a lot in Japanese

There are many other ways to say "many;plenty;large amount", let's see one more list below:

  • 大勢 - Oosei - Many; crowd; large number of people
  • 幾多 - Ikuta - Many; numerous
  • 数々- Kazukazu - Many; numerous
  • 幾つも - Ikutsumo - Many; a series of; large number of
  • 百万 - Hyaku man - One million; thousands; many; millions
  • 幾 - Iku - Some; several; many
  • 万 - Ban - Prefix of much; all
  • 数多 - Omata - Many; very; multitude
  • 夥多 - Kata - Abundant; many

Words that contain the kanji [] most often refers to a large amount of something. Examples:

  • 何千 - Nanzen - many thousands
  • 多年 - Tanen - Many years
  • 多色 - Tashoku - Multicolored; many colors
  • 多少 - Tashou - More or less; a little; some
  • 多大 - Tadai - Very heavy; heavy; very
  • 多量 - Taryou - Lots
  • 幾晩も - Ikubanmo - several nights

Japanese phrases expressing a lot

To finish the article, we will leave a video class taught by Sensei Luiz Rafael:

Sentences from this video lesson:

昨日はとっても寒かった。
Yesterday was very cold.
Yesterday it was very cold.

  • Yesterday: yesterday
  • とっても:very
  • 寒い(さむい):cold

たくさんの花が咲きました。
Many flowers have bloomed.
Many flowers bloomed.

  • たくさん:muito muito: a lot
  • flower
  • bloom

去年は雨が多かったです。
Last year it rained a lot.
Last year the rains were numerous.

  • Last year: ano passado
  • 雨(あめ):rain
  • Many / numerous

おじいさんには多くの才能があります。
My grandpa has a lot of talent.
My grandfather has many talents.

  • おじいさん:grandfather
  • Many / numerous
  • talento: talent
  • ある:have / possess

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