458 - 限り (so long as)

There are all kinds of grammar points that deal with some form of the word かぎり.

Just look at this dictionary entry:

限り
かぎり
limit; limits; bounds; as far as possible; as much as possible; to the best of one's ability; very much; unless; the end; the last; as long as; only; degree; extent; scope

Oh, and there is a verb form, too:

限る
かぎる
to restrict; to limit; to confine; to be restricted to; to be limited to; to be confined to

Rather than trying to memorize all of the possible meanings and uses of 限る and 限り like chumps, let's just take things one at a time.

We'll start with...


JLPT N2: 限り (は) 〈so long as; as long as

We'll start with an example:


体が丈夫な限り、働き続けるつもりです。
からだ が じょうぶな かぎり、 はたらき つづける つもり です。
I intend to continue working for as long as my body is healthy.
Literally: “body + が + healthy / durable + 限り, + continue to work + intend to (=つもり) + です.”


So we have two clauses:


体が丈夫
からだ が じょうぶ
(my) body is healthy.
Literally: “body + が + healthy / durable”


働き続けるつもりです。
はたらき つづける つもり です。
I intend to continue working.
Literally: “continue to work + intend to (=つもり) + です.”


We then combine these sentences using 限り:


体が丈夫な限り、働き続けるつもりです。
からだ が じょうぶな かぎり、 はたらき つづける つもり です。
(my) body is healthy 限り, I intend to continue working.
→ I intend to continue working for as long as my body is healthy.


A likely question: Why do we put な after the na-adjective 丈夫 (じょうぶ // healthy; durable)...?

That, my friend, is because we will always insert な between na-adjectives and 限り.

Well, not always, because we can also put である between them.

For example, we could say 体が丈夫である限り (からだ が じょうぶ である かぎり). This is what we do with nouns, too---a good thing, because differentiating nouns and na-adjectives is a pain in the brain.

I'm always tempted to skip all of this "insert な and である" stuff because it's boring. But I'll try and do the teacher thing just for you.

Officially, this is what we can put before 限り:

Present Plain Form Word + 限り

When I say "present plain form," I'm also including na-adjectives with な and nouns and na-adjectives with である.

By the way, for our purposes we can also consider である a present plain form verb. である basically means です or だ, though it has varying uses... which we'll worry about in other lessons.

All this conjugation stuff is putting me to sleep, though, so let's keep moving...


I should also mention that 限り will sometimes be followed by は. The meaning and nuance don't really change much (if at all), so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Still, an example:


この保険に入っているかぎりは、医療費の心配はいらないだろう。
この ほけん に はいっている かぎりは、 いりょうひ の しんぱい は いらない だろう。
So long as you’re under this insurance policy, there is no need to worry about medical expenses.
Literally: “this + insurance + に + are enrolled + かぎり + は, + medical expenses + の + worry / concern + は + not needed + だろう.”
Note: Remember that they say "entered (into) insurance" in Japanese, which is why we used the verb 入る.



彼が覚せい剤常用者である限り、子供に会わせるわけにはいかない。
かれ が かくせいざい じょうようしゃ である かぎり、 こども に あわせる わけ に は いかない。
So long as he’s addicted to meth, I can’t allow him to see our children.
Literally: “he + が + stimulants (esp. methamphetamine) + constant user / addict + である + かぎり, + children + に + allow to meet + cannot do / no way I can.”

If phrases like 会わせるわけにはいかない make you want to cry still, you may not be ready for N2 yet. 会わせる, "to let meet" is covered in N4, and ~わけにはいかない is covered in N3. Sadly, we haven't had our lessons on these yet. Give me time!



ゴリラは争いを嫌う温和な動物で、こちらが危害を加えないかぎり、人を襲うことはまずない。
ゴリラ は あらそい を きらう おんわな どうぶつ で、 こちら が きがい を くわえない かぎり、 ひと を おそう こと は まず ない。
Gorillas are gentle animals that dislike confrontation, so as long as people do not cause them harm, they are unlikely to attack.
Literally: “gorilla + は + quarrel / dispute + を + hate + gentle + animal + で, + this (side/person) (i.e. from here) + が + don’t cause harm (=harm + を + don’t add) + かぎり, + person + を + attack + こと + は + almost / hardly + there is not.”

Rei and I really want a pet gorilla. Or rather, we would like a gorilla to be drawn to the jungle paradise in our backyard and consequently be interested in joining our family.

We don't have a backyard yet, so this dream is still a long way from being realized.

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