Some uses of the Japanese verb 限る (kagiru)

By | May 10, 2015

This time I’d like to talk about a few uses of the Japanese verb 限る (kagiru), which means “to limit”.

The first use is to mean “not necessarily”. Here is an example sentence.

  • 美味しいとは限らない
  • It’s not necessarily tasty

Literally 限らない is close to “do not limit to”, but in this case the meaning matches up well with the English expression “not necessarily”. Note the は used before it, this is primarily because the verb is used in the negative. You can add the expression “必ずしも” (kanarazu shimo) to the beginning of the above phrase for emphasis, though it basically means the same thing.

You can say “that is not necessarily true” with the phrase “そうとは限らない”.

This verb can also be used in the passive tense to mean something is limited. [選択肢 (“sentakushi”) = option or options]

  • 選択肢が限られてる
  • Options are limited

Finally, 限る can be used in an expression which means something is the best or most appropriate. This can be used in an  exaggerated sense, as in this example:

  • 夏はビールに限る
  • In summer, beer is the best!

限る is a fairly advanced term used mostly by adults, just like you won’t hear most children say “not necessarily”.

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