I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the nuances in usage for these two adverbs:

  • そんなに: so much; so; like that​
  • そういう: such; like that; that sort of

Of the three definitions, I see they only share "like that" as the exact same, but the other definitions all seem very close in meaning for me to understand whether they're fully interchangeable, or if there are specific use cases where only one would apply over the other.

  • 4
    そういう is a pre-noun adjectival rather than an adverb.
    – Leebo
    Feb 20 at 11:15
  • The difference is more syntactic. Such never modifies an adjective/adverb and so never a noun. そういう/そんなに are parallel in this respect.
    – sundowner
    Feb 21 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


I think your question is better to ask if そんな and そういう can be used interchangeably, since both そういう and そんな modify nouns, そんなに is an adverbial phrase and modifies adjectives/verbs/adverbs.

Since そんなに and そういう are not even the same part-of-speech, there is no way they can be used interchangeably. However, I will answer the question if そういう and そんな can be interchangeable.

The short answer: they're interchangeable almost all the time.

The reason I say "almost" is because そういう is a neutral term, carrying neither positive nor negative connotations, but そんな, other than being a neutral term, can also carry a slight negative connotation. Now the exact perception would differ from person to person, but this is the general trend, and I'd say it's negligible.

そういう人は好きです。そんな人は好きです。 Same meaning

そういう事情を避けたい。そんな事情を避けたい。 Same meaning

B:は?そんな勉強不足の人でもできるの? (somewhat a disdainful tone)

B:は?そういう勉強不足の人でもできるの? (less/no disdainful tone)

P.S. Other than そんな and そういう, there is also the longer, more formal and also neutral-sounding term そのような, which would mean the same thing as the other two. そんなに would correspond to そのように

  • 2
    This doesn’t make your explanation any less valid but it’s hard to tell what kind of relationship A, B and 山本 are in. If 山本 is a common friend or acquaintance of A and B, B would say あんな or ああいう. The use of そんな or そういう implies B only knows about 山本, most probably through A, as someone who doesn’t study much, but in this case, A’s first question about whether B has heard about 山本’s passing the exam a bit strange.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 21 at 5:49
  • Thanks for pointing that out
    – dvx2718
    Feb 22 at 1:38

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