How do I use あまり and そんなに in negative sentences? It would be a great help if it was explained with various examples of あまり vs そんなに.

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    Hello and welcome to Japanese.SE! Please also add your own example sentences, where you think あまり and そんなに are interchangeable. (You also have some typos in your question.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 27, 2018 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Update: as Chocolate-san pointed in the comment, this answer is wrong. I didn't realize which part そんなに would apply to (probably thought of そんな). Not sure if I have to remove it, please feel free to do so.

Since you mention negative sentences specifically, it seems that you are trying to translate into Japanese something like "It's not that much interesting", and puzzling why そんなに doesn't fit.

In a negative sentence そんなに means that much not X in a sense not X beyond expectation, while あんまり simply means not much X, thus they are not interchangeable. Consider the following dialogue:

A:「そんなに[面白]{おもしろ}くない[映画]{えいが}を[観]{み}たいの?」- Do you want to see the movie that is that much uninteresting?

B:「あんまり[面白]{おもしろ}くないけど、[主人公]{しゅじんこう}はかっこいい」- Though it's not that much interesting, the main character is cool.

Note that A evaluates the movie as a total waste and beyond (how a movie can ever be that much uninteresting?), while B suggests that the movie may still be somewhat interesting (though not that much interesting).

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    そんなに面白くない映画を見たいのか -- ちょっと変です、、、というか普通の日本語話者ならそれ読むと「そんなに~したいのか」(Do) you want to do ~~ so bad って読んでしまうと思うんですけど・・
    – Chocolate
    Mar 29, 2018 at 0:01
  • That much uninteresting is a little hard to understand because the polarity-sensitive item much isn't licensed by the following lexical negation uninteresting in the same way that it would be by a preceding not.
    – user1478
    Mar 29, 2018 at 0:57
  • @Chocolate I kinda hoped か would mean sarcasm like in 知るか (A thinks the whole idea of wanting to see that movie is crazy). Removed.
    – kroki
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:09
  • @snailplane The translation is meant to be more literal rather than literate to show different meanings of "that much".
    – kroki
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:10
  • @Chocolate Ah, I probably got you point wrong, you mean the sentence is parsed as そんなに(面白くない映画を)見たいの? - Right? - Then my answer is off...
    – kroki
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:27

First of all, I don't think they mean exactly the same, there's a difference not only in usage, but in the nuance it brings...

あまり or あんまり - Much

そんなに - That much, to that extent.

While あまり is used to simply state that you cannot perform something very well

I think that そんなに is kind of a "comparison", there is an established standard to that action that you're supposed to perform, and you're stating that you can or cannot perform it to that established point/extent.



その新しいゲームやったことある? - Sono Atarashii Geemu Yatta koto aru? (have you already played that new game?).

ごめん、ゲームのことはあんまりわからない。 - Gomen, Geemu no koto wa anmari wakaranai. (Sorry, I don't understand much about games.)


ドイツ語で本が書けますか? - Doitsugo de Hon ga kakemasu ka? (Can you write a book in German?)

もちろん、僕は書けないよ。僕はまだそんなに上手じゃないよ。 - Mochiron, Boku wa kakenai yo. Boku wa mada, sonna ni jouzu janai yo. (Of course I cannot write it. I'm still not that fluent.)

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    +1, but I think 「ゲームのこと"は"あんまりわからない」 sounds more natural.
    – Yosh
    Mar 28, 2018 at 1:52
  • @Yosh I will edit it!! 教えてくれてありがとう^ ^ Mar 28, 2018 at 1:55
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    @FelipeOliveira For the same reason, the previous sentence would be more natural without が: "その新しいゲーム(を)やったこと(は)ある?". These を and は are optional, but it'd be a little more better without them.
    – user4092
    Mar 28, 2018 at 9:54
  • @user4092 I edited it! I'm just a little afraid that making an answer perfectly natural might be confusing for beginners, all the particles drops and things like that, but I guess in this case it's ok. Thank you! Mar 28, 2018 at 12:43
  • I think I should explain the reason. The point of using zero particle or は is to indicate things as a topic (when the sense of contrast is redundant, zero particle is better). You want express both その新しいゲーム and やったこと as a topic here for the listener to follow.
    – user4092
    Mar 29, 2018 at 18:18

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