Would appreciate if someone helped me understand the following word patterns with examples:


Can any of them be used in a positive context too?

  • There are examples in dictionaries, for example these are from Progressive: なかなか, ほとんど, ぜんぜん Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 18:53
  • 5
    It looks like you're asking whether these three adverbs are negative polarity items. I don't see any double negatives.
    – user1478
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 22:08
  • 1
    I don't see any double negatives either, but apparently - in some languages courses - students are told that 全然 on its own means not at all and ほとんど not much/little/hardly any. Students are then told that Japanese like double negatives, and so should you. I've been to one such course...
    – blutorange
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


「ぜんぜん大丈夫【だいじょうぶ】」 is frequently used to mean "Completely OK" in a positive context. It may not conform to strict Japanese grammar instruction, but it is widely used by multiple generations of Japanese people.

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