Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I don't get what the part ダンスとかあったら全然だったと思う is saying. 全然 is an adverb but there's no verb after it but 思う, but that's separated by a quoting particle, so I assume it doesn't modify it. If that's the case, it's to be assumed that the verb after 全然 is dropped, right? Or should 全然 and と思う go together. Please help me understand the meaning here.

share|improve this question
The original title of this question was “How does this line work/mean?” Probably a half of the questions on this website ask how certain text works. When you post a question next time, please give it a more descriptive title. – Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 14 '13 at 13:18
up vote 8 down vote accepted

In colloquial speech, 全然 = 全然ダメ. You can treat this 全然 as a 形容動詞 (I just do not like the word "na-adjective" because it does not exist in Japanese.). So, it is quite natural to say 全然だった in informal speech.

ダンスとかあったら全然だったと思う, therefore means:

"I think I would have been a total failure if I had had to dance or something."

share|improve this answer
Dang colloquial speech. Thank you very much. – ElSigh Nov 14 '13 at 13:03
Actually, イ形容詞 and ナ形容詞 are words, and are used not infrequently in JSL/JFL literature. – rintaun Nov 14 '13 at 18:00
I actually have somewhat of a gripe about the term 形容動詞. It is the i-adjectives that should be called 形容動詞 (as they conjugate like verbs), and the na-adjectives should be called 形容名詞 (as they behave like noun predicates, using だ). – user54609 Nov 14 '13 at 23:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.