What does the phrase 「あえて言{い}えば」 mean? What are a few example sentences?

Is the following usage correct:
「好きな日本料理{にほんりょうり}はあんまりないが、あえて言えば 納豆{なっとう}ですね。」

"I don't really like Japanese food, but if I had to mention something I would say natto."

  • Sounds good to me.
    – istrasci
    Jan 30, 2015 at 17:53
  • I will be honest. I am a Japanese speaker but I do not understand what your "Japanese" sentence means. Are you saying that you do or you do not like natto?
    – user4032
    Feb 3, 2015 at 2:03
  • @l'électeur I am trying to say: "Well, I do not really like any type of Japanese food. However, if I were forced to say something, then I guess I'd say natto."
    – user312440
    Feb 10, 2015 at 1:47
  • See also: [強いて]{しいて}言えば
    – oals
    Feb 23, 2015 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


「あえて言えば」is often used to mean a kind of weak opinions. Your sentence looks totally natural to native speakers (including me).

I'll list some example sentences:

  • あなたの提案で概ね問題ないが、あえて言えば予算が気になる。(Your proposal looks good as a whole, but I have little worry about its cost.)
  • あえて言うほどでもありませんが、家に帰ったら手は洗った方がいい。 (This may be a needless concern, but I think you should wash your hands when you go back home.)
  • I'm curious that if 「あえて言う」= "to say something that's needless (to say)", how can 「あえて言うほどでもない」 mean "this may be a needless concern" but not the opposite?
    – null
    Feb 1, 2015 at 12:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .