Referring to pulling a cracker:

It didn't go off with a bang. It exploded with a sound like a cannon.

This どころではない grammar is new to me and I'm having trouble with this sentence.

My references give the following descriptions:

  1. conveys the meaning that that this is not a situation in which such-and-such can be done (A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners).
  2. A phrase expressing that an action or state is simply impossible due to an adverse situation. (A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese grammar)
  3. ...the actual situation is considered to be even more remarkable than the phrase that どころではない is attached to. This grammar pattern will be seen at the end of phrases indicating some situation which is not ideal. (bunpro)
  4. ... used when you have some other thing to worry about and cannot focus your attention to what you want to or are supposed to be doing. (Aguijanazo's answer here)

The first part of 3) above seems to be the only definition that works with my sentence but then the second part goes on to say something different.

Meanings 1), 2), 4) and the second part of 3) all feel compatible to me but do not work with my sentence.

What is the truth here. Is "the actual situation is considered to be even more remarkable than the phrase that どころではない is attached to" a valid meaning, and the other references just forgot to mention it? Can it somehow be folded into the other definitions?

Any help on clarifying this phrase's usage would be appreciated.

  • 1
    I find this usage with a verb a bit weird. 破裂どころではない, with a noun, would have been more natural.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 4 at 23:14
  • 3
    どころではない and どころか have two seemingly-opposite usages. See my answer in this question. Here, 大砲のような音 is an extreme version of パーン.
    – naruto
    Commented May 5 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


3 seems closest, where it says 'far from (A)'.

Has the speaker been told that there would be a bang? If so, the line is basically contrasting expectation and reality, like "A bang? That was way more than that."

This is a similar example:


This basically says that childbirth is not just painful (=expectation), it's far more than that.

I think the other references talk about other (arguably, more common) usage of the phrase where impossibility (often due to distraction) is implied, so they don't fit here.

  • In English, "far from painful" means "not painful at all," or even "the opposite of painful," so your translation of 出産は痛いどころではないらしい doesn't really work. Better alternatives include "They say childbirth is far worse than merely painful" or "They say that 'painful' doesn't even begin to express what childbirth feels like."
    – Nanigashi
    Commented May 5 at 20:01
  • Thanks for pointing that out. I removed the translation. (It was a quote from bunpro.jp.) Commented May 7 at 3:22

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