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.

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    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. Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


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."

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    Dang colloquial speech. Thank you very much.
    – ElSigh
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 13:03
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    Actually, イ形容詞 and ナ形容詞 are words, and are used not infrequently in JSL/JFL literature.
    – rintaun
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 18:00
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    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).
    – ithisa
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 23:30

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