“Totemo” is seldom used: How to say “very” in Japanese

In many case especially on twitter I can often see “Totemo”(とても)used by foreigners but actually, we Japanese seldom use it in both casual and business scenes because “Totemo” is too “standard.” Instead, in most cases the best solution is to use “Sugoi” and “Hijouni.”


Sugoi – casual scene

“Sugoi”(すごい)is categorized in adjective but actually can be used as both adverb and adjective. “Sugoi” tend to be used as a spoken word so it’s natural to use this in SNS conversation or some chat. And nowadays it’s more natural to use Sugoi as adverb rather than using “Sugoku”, the formal adverb style. In frank business scene, “Sugoku” is also acceptable.

Hijouni – business scene

It’s enough to remember only “Hijouni”(非常に)for business scene at first. According to my real experience of a Japanese company, “Hijouni” covers 70% – 80% of all cases. This word can be used in both written and spoken Japanese.

Other words of “very” in Japanese

Okay there’re more than 30 types to express “very” in Japanese. But most of them are seldom used. So here I pick up some really useful common words that can be seen in real life in Japan.

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