520 - わりに(は)

The word 割 (わり)/割り (わり) can be a bit tricky.

Mr. Dictionary says it can mean: "rate; ratio; proportion; percentage; profit; assignment; 10%; unit of ten percent; match; schedule of matches; diluted with (of drinks); mixed with."

For example, let's say I'm at an izakaya, and I want to order a 焼酎 (しょうちゅう // shōchū [a type of liquor]) mixed with soda water, which just so happens to be one of my go-to drinks in Japan. I could say:


焼酎のソーダ割りください。
しょうちゅう の ソーダ わり ください。
I'll have a shōchū with soda, please.
Literally: "shōchū + の + soda + mixed with + please."


Speaking of shōchū, I really wish that they served this at restaurants in other countries. I love its light, delicate flavor... and the fact that it's not as strong as, say, vodka. Forbes has called this tasty liquor "the best spirit you've (probably) never tasted."

And the biggest shocker of all: In Japan, shōchū is more popular than sake.


And... I'm getting sidetracked.

We were talking about 割/割り. Uh, it means lots of stuff. So many things, in fact, that you should not worry about memorizing just one English equivalent. There are a few.

Another example is when it means "10%," as in the following sentence:


生徒の八割は韓国人です。
せいと の はちわり は かんこくじん です。
80% of the students are Korean.
Literally: "students + の + 80% (=8 + 10%) + は + Korean (person) + です."
Note: As you can see here, when the meaning is 10%, we usually write 割 with no り. For other uses of this word, however, we will sometimes write 割り. The pronunciation is わり in both cases.


With all of that in mind, let's take a look at this lesson's grammar point...


JLPT N3: わりに(は)《considering; for

わりに(は) means something along the lines of "considering" or "for" when qualifying the degree of something.

↑ That sentence will make a lot more sense once you see an example:


ナターシャさんは、よく食べるわりには痩せている。
ナターシャさん は、 よく たべる わりには やせている。
Natasha-san is thin considering how much she eats.
Literally: “Natasha-san + は, + much / well + eat + わりには + is being thin.”


So basically we're saying: "X is A for B" or "X is A considering B."

But in Japanese, that is becomes "X is B 割に A."

X = Natasha-san
A = is thin
B = how much she eats (=a lot)

Natasha-san is thin for how much she eats.
Natasha-san is thin considering how much she eats.

→ Natasha-san は eats a lot 割に is thin.
→ → ナターシャさんは、よく食べるわりには痩せている。


Now, maybe that seems tricky-tikki-tavi.

But worry not. You'll probably come across simpler uses of 割/割り out in the wild.

Specifically, you'll probably hear people say 割と (わりと) (don't write 割りとfor this one; write 割と), which means the same thing.

For example, you go out to eat with your friend, and you order a ton of food. You both can't believe how much you ate. When the check comes, you're expecting it to be quite expensive. Considering how much you both ordered, though, the meal is not all that much money. Your friend says:


割と安いね。
わりと やすい ね。
It's not that much money (considering how much we ate). // It's not that much money when you think about it.
Literally: "relatively + cheap + ね."


Quite appropriately, most dictionaries will say that 割と means "relatively" or "comparatively."


I'm going to barrage you with examples now.

Before I do, though, a quick note about the construction of this grammar form.

I'm not going to make detailed conjugation rule lists for this one. But note that, generally speaking, わりに(は)will come after a plain-form verb or i-adjective, a na-adjective with な, or a noun followed by の.

Get enough exposure to Japanese, and these types of constructions will start to feel like second nature to you. Trust me.

OK. Example time...



あんまり勉強しなかったわりには、なかなかいい点数がとれた。
あんまり べんきょう しなかった わりには、 なかなか いい てんすう が とれた。
I got a pretty good score considering that I didn’t study much.
Literally: “not much + studying + didn’t do + わりには, + fairly / rather + good + score + が + could take.”


As you can see, わりに is often followed by は. Figuring out when to include は requires an intuitive understanding of は itself, which is outside the scope of this lesson. Personally, I think は is best mastered naturally over time with long-term, high volumes of exposure to Japanese content.



私の仕事は大変なわりに給料が安い。
わたし の しごと は たいへんな わりに きゅうりょう が やすい。
My job doesn’t pay enough considering how hard it is.
Literally: “I + の + work / job + は + tough / difficult + わりに + salary + が + cheap.”



あの店の服は値段のわりには品質がいい。
あの みせ の ふく は ねだん の わりには ひんしつ が いい。
That store’s clothes are high quality for what they cost.
Literally: “that + shop / store + の + clothes + は + price + の + わりには + quality + が + good.”



玲美さんは若いわりに考え方が古風だ。
れみさん は わかい わりに かんがえかた が こふう だ。
For being young, Remi-san has an old-fashioned way of thinking.
Literally: “Remi-san + は + young + わりに + way of thinking + が + old-fashioned / antiquated + だ.”



彼は体が大きいが、そのわりには少食だ。
かれ は からだ が おおきい が、 その わりには しょうしょく だ。
He’s a big guy, but he doesn’t eat much for his size.
Literally: “he + は + body + が + big + が, + that + わりには + light eating / not eating much + だ.”


Did you read all of those examples?

If so, you're a boss.

If not, then, well... I understand. No hard feelings, yo. Sometimes reading all of the example sentences is just too much. ^^




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