I came across the expression に限って but not too sure how to use it. It seems to mean "especially/of all the/only" and has to be used in a negative manner.

However, I am confused with the following examples:

× その日に限っていい天気だった。
Only on that day, the weather was good.

○ 夏はビールに限る。
Beer is the only beverage for summer. (implying beer is the best option)

Is there an easy explanation as to why the first example is wrong and the second one is right?


"In a negative manner" does not mean the sentence must be a grammatically negative one. "~に限って" tends to be followed by a phrase which denies something previously implied by the context, but not always.

The first sentence makes perfect sense in certain situations. For example, suppose the weather was good on "that" very day, although it had been raining these days. If you wanted rain on "that" day, too (for example because you wanted a certain event on that day to be cancelled), then you can say:


This emphasizes the speaker's disappointment as compared to "その日だけはいい天気だった".


@Naruto has already given a great answer but I just want to add a few words of my own because this phrase 「~~に限って」 is actually much more difficult that the words may tell.

The sentence 「その日に限っていい[天気]{てんき}だった。」 is "correct" ONLY if you had been hoping for bad weather for that day. Strange, I know, but you could say that only if the good weather affected you negatively.

In other words, the same sentence is "incorrect" or at least unusual to use if you had been hoping for good weather for that day.

On a minor note, 「[夏]{なつ}はビールに限る」 has almost nothing to do with 「~~に限って」. 「~~に限る」 , in that context, just means "Nothing beats (beer in the summer)." I recommend that learners remember it as an idiom. No twist with this one.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.