I'm having trouble coming up with a way of saying "not greater than 0" and "not less than 0".

Would the following sentences be natural/grammatical? If not, in what ways can the following be expressed?

  • greater than 0/less than 0


  • greater than or equal to 0/less than or equal to 0


  • not greater than 0/not less than 0


Space ALC says that greater than or equal is ~以上で and less than or equal is 以下の.

I thought that 以上 meant "above" and 以下 "below". If that's the case, is there any way to tell that usage and their usage as "greater/less than or equal" apart?


1 Answer 1


There are two ways of answering this question. Are you looking for mathematical terms for 'not greater/less than' and 'greater/less than', or ways of expressing this in more general conversation?

Mathematically, the greater than symbol > is pronounced 大なり(だいなり) and the less than symbol < is pronounced 小なり(しょうなり). The greater than or equal sign ≧ is pronounced 大なりイコール and the less than or equal sign ≦ is pronounced 小なりイコール.

In terms of daily conversation, I think you pretty much have it. より大きい and より小さい do not include the value being used for the comparison, while 以下 and 以上 do. Although keep in mind that this is a dictionary definition, and my experience is that in normal daily conversation they tend to be used a bit interchangeably without paying too much attention to that specific detail.

Also there is the term 未満(みまん), which you can use as a 'less than' term that doesn't include the number being used. Example: 18歳未満禁止(じゅうはっさいみまんきんし) means 'no admittance to those under 18'.

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