563 - だけあって

If you're studying for N2, then you probably already know by now that さすが can mean something along the lines of "as one would expect."

It's often used when praising someone's actions.

For example, your friend, who is really smart, aces a test. So you say:

さすが。
Nicely done. // I expected as much. // I suppose nothing less is to be expected of you.

It's hard to put it into English that is as simple without losing some of that "as expected of you" nuance. Oh well.

We also have fancy grammar for saying "as one would expect" or "as might be expected:"


JLPT N2: だけあって (as might be expected; as one would expect)

あって is the て-form of ある (to be).

And だけ, aside from meaning "only," can mean something like ほど、くらい、and so on.

More specifically, だけ expresses how things are "equivalent" or "proportional" to one another. For more on this, you can jump ahead to this lesson: [NDL #703] - JLPT N2: だけの.

For now, let's just accept that だけあって means "as might be expected" or "as one would expect":


彼女はさすがF1レーサーだけあって、運転が上手い。
かのじょ は さすが エフワン レーサー だけあって、 うんてん が うまい。
As might be expected of an F1 racer, she’s a good driver.
Literally: “she + は + as one would expect + F1 racer + だけあって, + driving + が + skilled.”


Once more, that's:

だけあって = as one might/would expect (of)...

One of my grammar books goes so far as to explain that this phrase is "used for admiring or praising someone's achievement as befitting his talent, effort, position, or experience. Used with words that evaluate results, abilities, or characteristics."

I might put it a bit more simply: だけあって means "as one might/would expect (of)," and it's always meant as a compliment or a positive thing.

The examples in this lesson will explain better than any of these explanations, though.


If you're like me, you're thinking, If だけあって means "as one would expect," then why did we include さすが in the previous sentence, which also (sometimes) means "as one would expect"?

My answer to this question is twofold:

1) I don't know.
2) Please don't ask questions I don't know the answer to.

I can tell you, however, that we don't always need to have さすが in our だけあって sentences.

Here's one without it:


藤森さんはフレンチレストランで働いていただけあって、ワインに詳しい。
ふじもりさん は フレンチ レストラン で はたらいていた だけあって、 ワイン に くわしい。
As might be expected after working at a French restaurant, Fujimori-san knows a lot about wine.
Literally: “Fujimori-san + は + French restaurant + で + was working + だけあって, + wine + に + knowing very well.”


The Boring Part

...is always talking about the types of words that our target phrase can connect to.


First, the easy one:

NOUN + だけあって
as might be expected of NOUN; as one would expect of NOUN


We already saw this:

彼女はさすがF1レーサーだけあって、運転が上手い。
かのじょ は さすが エフワン レーサー だけあって、 うんてん が うまい。
As might be expected of an F1 racer, she’s a good driver.
Literally: “she + は + as one would expect + F1 racer + だけあって, + driving + が + skilled.”


Now, the slightly more complicated one:

Plain Form + だけあって
as might be expected of VERB/ADJECTIVE; as one would expect of VERB/ADJECTIVE


Note that this "plain form" means that with na-adjectives, we should include . Let's not forget that. Here's an example to make it stick:

彼は中国語がペラペラだけあって、中国人の友達が多い。
かれ は ちゅうごくご が ペラペラな だけあって、 ちゅうごくじん の ともだち が おおい。
As might be expected of someone who’s fluent in Chinese, he has a lot of Chinese friends.
Literally: “he + は + Chinese (language) + が + fluent + だけあって, + Chinese person + の + friend + が + many.”


This makes sense if you think about it, but だけあって does not come at the end of sentences.

When we want to end a sentence with this grammar point, we use だけのことはある or だけある. Like this:


A:
和也は本当に正義感が強いね。
かずや は ほんとうに せいぎかん が つよい ね。
Kazuya cares a lot about people doing what’s right.
Literally: “Kazuya + は + truly + sense of justice + が + strong + ね.”


B:
うん。さすが、警察官だっただけのことはあるね。
うん。 さすが、 けいさつかん だった だけのことはある ね。
Yeah. I suppose that’s to be expected of a former police officer.
Literally: “yeah. + as one would expect, + police officer + was + だけのことはある + ね.”


Tangent Time

Translating this phrase was a bit troublesome for me:


和也は本当に正義感が強いね。
かずや は ほんとうに せいぎかん が つよい ね。
Kazuya cares a lot about people doing what’s right.
Literally: “Kazuya + は + truly + sense of justice + が + strong + ね.”


I was tempted to just put "Kazuya really has a strong sense of justice."

...but what does that mean?

Well, if you have a "strong justice-feel," a 強い正義感, then you care that other people do the right thing, and you yourself do the right thing, even if no one is watching.

See an old lady carrying groceries? You help her.

See some young kids smoking cigarettes? You scold them.

See a girl getting harassed by a pervert on a train? You intervene.

So I wanted to say "always does the right thing," but that doesn't cover the part about expecting other people to do the right thing, also. I thought maybe "cares a lot about people doing what's right" would cover both. But maybe you can think of a better translation...


Here's another sentence-ending だけのことはある... but it's in past tense! だけのことはあった:


A:
駅前のラーメン屋、どうだった?
えきまえ の ラーメンや、 どう だった?
How was the ramen place in front of the station?
Literally: “in front of the station + の + ramen shop, + how + was?”


B:
おいしかった!2時間も並んだだけのことはあったよ。
おいしかった! に じかん も ならんだ だけのことはあった よ。
It was good! I guess that’s to be expected after standing in line for two hours.
Literally: “was tasty! + two hours + も + lined up + だけのことはあった.”


By the way, just saying だけある at the end of a sentence is more casual than the whole phrase だけのことはある:


ファーストクラスのサービスは最高だなあ。高いだけあるよ。
ファーストクラス の サービス は さいこう だ なあ。 たかい だけある よ。
The service in first class sure is great. I guess that’s to be expected, considering how expensive it is.
Literally: “first class + の + service + は + the best + だ + なあ. + expensive + だけある + よ.”


As might be expected of such an outstanding student, you've made it to the end of another lesson. Much props to you.

Happy studies...

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