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My book explains that あれで can be used to indicate mild surprise, and gives some example sentences. They all make sense to me except this one:


In the first sentence, the speaker seems to be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the cafeteria meal. But in the second, he says it's like pig food. Is the first sentence sarcastic? Is something else going on there?

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The よく is like よくも/よくもまあ, how dare... #5 in goo辞書 or Weblio – user1016 Jan 26 '14 at 13:56
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A half literal, half free translation (in the sense of "worst of both worlds"):

Regarding today's lunch special, with that they have some nerve to say that they improved. It's quite simply pig food.

あれで doesn't express pleasant surprise. よく言える is, I guess, where you got lost. It doesn't mean "being well able to say", but rather "how could you say that?".

A sentence from ALC for comparison:

How can you ask me to do that?

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You're right. I didn't catch the meaning of よく言える. Thanks. – infinitecardinal Jan 26 '14 at 14:05

I think you may misunderstand the meaning of "よく". In this sentence, "よく" doesn't mean "good".

"あれでよく[改善]{かいぜん}したって[言]{い}えるよね" means "Why do they say that it was improved!"

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