I've been wondering but, what are the differences in nuance between the grammar points ごたえ and かい/がい ?


  • 見ごたえがある vs 見がいがある
  • 聞きごたえがある vs 聞きがいがある
  • やりごたえがあった vs やったかいがある
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    I will point out I have heard both used together in a sentence like …甲斐があると言う手応えを感じた Commented May 12 at 23:46
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    @whatyouexpect - 手応え is one word and 手 is not a verb.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 13 at 0:00
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    The difference might become clearer in negative sentences. One of the comments here talks about the difference between 甲斐 and 出, and ごたえ is similar to 出.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 13 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


The suffix かい/がい are about the beneficial outcome of an action, while ごたえ is about the impact, effort or challenge of the action itself.

聞きがいがある (or 聞く甲斐がある) suggests you'll gain something worthwhile by listening to the material, even if the material itself may be boring. 聞きごたえがある suggests the material itself is interesting and impactful.

見ごたえがなかった means something was not spectacular or impressive, while 見たかいがなかった means watching it amounted to nothing particularly worthwhile.

食べごたえがあった means the food itself is impactful and a bit challenging to eat (like a one-pound hamburger), while 食べたかいがあった means eating it turned out to be meaningful or useful regardless of its taste (for example, it became your best memory during a trip). Likewise, やりごたえがあった usually means something was challenging and mentally-rewarding. やったかいがあった usually means it was objectively beneficial in some way.

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