This is an isolated example sentence from my kanji practice workbook:


I think the gist of this sentence is: "The price of land is high, and I can barely afford to buy a house, etc."

I know that, if the sentence wanted to say "many houses," they would use 「たくさん」, so I am making the assumption that 「とても」goes along with 「買えない」, and thus has the meaning of "barely" or "hardly", but I'm not confident that that's actually what is happening. I'm also wondering why 「あまり」wouldn't be used, given the negative verb conjugation?

If anyone knows a specific rule, I'd appreciate your insight!

1 Answer 1


The second definition of とても on jisho.org has the following definition (when combined with a negative form):

(not) at all; by no means; simply (cannot)

So you are correct in saying that it goes along with 買えない. とても heavily emphasizes the negative part of it.

The price of land is so high, there's no way I can buy a house or anything!


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