514 - あまりの～に
JLPT N2: あまりの～に (so... that)
あまり is kind of a tricky word. Just look at all of these definitions:
1 the rest; the remainder; the remnant; the surplus; the balance; leftovers
2 too; too much; excessively; to excess; (not) very; (not) quite; (not) much
Grammar-wise, you're most likely to be familiar with when あまり is used to say "(not) very" or "(not) much."
For example, they might teach a sentence like this in your Japanese class:
わたし の むすめ は あまり たべません。
My daughter does not eat very much.
Literally: “I + の + daughter + は + あまり (=[not] much) + does not eat.”
If most of your usage of Japanese comes from hanging out with friends and family in casual situations, then maybe you'd be a bit more likely to hear the more conversational version of あまり, which is あんまり：
きのう は あんまり たべなかった。
I didn't eat much yesterday.
Literally: “yesterday + は + あんまり (=[not] much) + didn't eat.”
Perhaps this comes as no surprise, but in this lesson we're looking at a completely different usage of あまり.
Specifically, you can use あまりの～に to say that the degree of something is extreme, and that it is producing an unusual result.
To put it more simply, あまりの～に is the "so... that" in phrases like, "I was so cold that I couldn't sleep at all."
In fact, that's our first example sentence:
さくや は あまりの さむさ に いっすい も できなかった。
Last night it was so cold that I couldn’t sleep at all.
Literally: “last night + は + あまりの + coldness + に + (not) a wink of sloop + も + couldn’t do.”
寒さ is "coldness." So...
↓ ↓ ↓
あまりの coldness に
↓ ↓ ↓
so cold that
Not too tricky, yeah?
👷 Construction 👷
This is easy: Just put a NOUN between あまりの and に, like this:
あまりの ＋ NOUN ＋ に
あまりの さむさ に
so cold that
Literally: “あまりの + coldness + に"
あまりの りふじんさ に
so irrational that
Literally: “あまりの + irrationality / unreasonableness + に"
あまりの いたさ に
so painful that
Literally: “あまりの + pain / painfulness + に"
あまりの きょうふ に
so scared / scary that
Literally: “あまりの + fear / terror + に"
Did you notice a pattern in the list of constructions above?
We have a さ at the end of most of those words.
It is common for the "‐さ form" of i-adjectives to appear inside of あまりの～に.
We explored how to make i-adjectives into nouns (of degree) in these two lessons:
Anyway, it seems kind of self-explanatory to me that we're changing adjectives into nouns and inserting them into あまりの～に. I mean, the English translations are all using adjectives like "cold," "painful," and so on.
You have to make it through three more example sentences in order to achieve あまりの～に master status...
かれ は なんでもかんでも ひと の せい に する。 あまりの りふじんさ に いかり を とおりこして あきれて しまう。
He blames everything on other people. He’s so irrational that I don’t even get mad at him—I just become astounded.
Literally: “he + は + anything and everything + person + の + fault + に + does. + あまりの + irrationality + に + anger + を + go beyond (and) + end up becoming astounded.”
This sentence was hard for me to translate. I had to reread the second half about ten times before I finally figured out a way to put it into English.
I'm telling you this so that you don't feel too stressed if these example sentences are making your head spin.
Comprehending head-spinning sentences is key to passing N2 and N1!
はじめて の しゅっさん の とき、 あまりの いたさ に 「もう ころして！」 と さけびそう に なった。
The first time I gave birth, it was so painful that I almost screamed out, “Just kill me already!”
Literally: “for the first time + の + giving birth + の + time, + あまりの + pain + に + ‘already + kill (me) (and)!’ + と + almost screamed.”
By the way (and I probably should have mentioned this earlier), unlike many of our N2 and N1 grammar forms, あまりの～に can actually be used in conversations. So feel free to try it out with a teacher or a language exchange partner.
Literally: “street at night + で + suddenly + someone + に + behind + from + was embraced / was grabbed. + あまりの + fear + に + heart + が + almost stopped.”
夜道で突然誰かに後ろから抱きつかれた。あまりの恐怖に心臓が止まりかけた。よみち で とつぜん だれか に うしろ から だきつかれた。 あまりの きょうふ に しんぞう が とまり かけた。
I was walking down a street at night when someone grabbed me from behind. I was so scared that my heart almost stopped.
That's all for this one.