Recently I have heard that the collocation その程度【ていど】 always implies a low degree, or rather a degree or level of something the speaker or author feels is insufficient or too low.

For example:

  • その程度の不幸しか知らない (implying they don't know what true misfortune/unhappiness is)
  • その程度の地震で、そればかりで、あの種類の構造物が崩壊するのは少しおかしいと思った (implying the earthquake was small enough it shouldn't have destroyed it)
  • お前のご奉仕はその程度か? いいかげん、ご主人様の気持ちに気づけ! 良太にはご奉仕の精神が足りない! (implying she isn't doing much for him)

It seems that その程度 often carrys this connotation, but I've been wondering, does it always? See below for a few examples I've collected where it expresses a rather high degree, albeit never with a positive connotation. And admittedly, they are from older books. So the question is:

  • Can その程度 be used to talk about a (subjectively) high degree of something?
  • Can it be used with a positive connotation, for a degree that is considered to be good or desirable?
  • How common would this usage be nowadays; or is it be limited to a few special situations?

Here a a few examples I believe exhibit either a high degree. While looking for examples, I did notice that this usage seems to be less common.


――田中英光【たなかひでみつ】 『オリンポスの果実』

Judging fron the context and considering the consequences --having to leave the ship-- this 程度 of violating the rules seems to be rather high.


――葉山嘉樹【はやまよしき】 『海に生くる人々』

This paragraph is rather explicit about the 程度 of the damage being anything but low.


――岸田國士【きしだくにお】 『老病について』

Here the 程度 of aging seems to be styled as neutral.


――羽仁【はに】もと子【こ】 『おさなごを発見せよ』

I don't think the author would have bothered to write this if she didn't believe the 程度 of raising children the wrong way weren't too high, at least in some cases.


――内村鑑三【うちむらかんぞう】 『デンマルク国の話 信仰と樹木とをもって国を救いし話』

I'm not quite certain, but as the idea is that the 小樅 support the growth of the 大樅 until they grow too big and now hinder its growth, I think it qualifies as an example.

  • 3
    Your examples above the first horizontal rule all read そのていど{LHHLL}, and it's almost one word that carries belittling nuance, but others I think read その{LH}ていど{LHH}, just two words of "that" + "degree". Not sure for the last one though... Apr 10, 2015 at 8:16
  • That's a good point and it does help to explain what's going on here -- over time it has become a collocation with an additional nuance. So thanks for mentioning it. Incidentally, might I ask for confirmation of the pitch accent of その程度 in the sentence 「その程度で満足すべきなんじゃないのか、とラッセルは言いたいのでは。」?
    – blutorange
    Apr 10, 2015 at 8:56
  • The former: そのていど{LHHLL}. On second thought it might be an adjective than a noun. Apr 10, 2015 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


その程度 consists of the two words その and 程度, and can be used as such with no particular connotation.

Furthermore, as noted by @broccoli forest, over time the combination その程度 has become a collocation with an additional nuance, namely implying a low or insufficient level or degree.

In the latter case, it can be considered one "word" or expression, which is supported by the change in pitch accent: そのていど{LHHLL}. In the former case it is その{LH}+ていど{LHH}.

Concerning the question regarding the positive and negative connotation, consider the following thought:


At first sight, there appears to be a positive connotation here. However, upon further reflection we find that そのていど{LHHLL} is still something subjectively bad; it is merely something you should be satisfied with, instead of wanting more. Being satisfied might involve a positive connotation here, but その程度 certainly does not.

Similar considerations apply to this:


One is aware that sweets aren't the best gift, but considers it alright and acceptable: 適当でいいんじゃない.

Taking these considerations and the examples from the question into account, I believe we can say that:

  • そのていど{LHHLL} is often used as an expression associated with a negative connotation and low(er) degree or level.

  • At most it involves a neutral connotation when it is simply a combination of その{LH}+ていど{LHH}. In that usage, a rather a low(er) or high(er) degree could possibly be involved.

  • It is not an expression associated with a positive connotation or high(er) degree or level.

  • This got more upvotes, so I accepted it.
    – blutorange
    Apr 13, 2015 at 16:23

"Always" is too much. Among your examples, Uchimura's sentence implies "no less than that degree" but others are neutral in implication, in other words, その means "its/their" instead of "that".

  • その means "its/their" instead of "that". >>> Right, and that's why 「その程度の不幸」「その程度の地震」「その程度か?」can be rewritten 「そのくらいの不幸」「そのくらいの地震」「そのくらいか?」, but 「その程度によっては」「その程度は・・・ほどであった」「その程度はひとによつて違ふ」「その程度その種類こそちがえ」「しかしその程度に達すれば」cannot be rewritten 「そのくらいによっては」「そのくらいは・・・ほどであった」「そのくらいは人によって違う」... etc.
    – Micky
    Apr 10, 2015 at 5:45

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