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I was praised by my tutor for the progress I'd made myself thus far, but somehow the message just seemed to carry a strange negative connotation to me. Here's the part where I found a tad off:

今年二月から勉強して、それだけの長文を書けるのはすごいことだとおもいます。

This is part of his reply after I reached out to him for an offer to be my tutor in conversation yesterday. I am fairly certain he wasn't being sarcastic or anything. There was absolutely no need to.

The reason why I find the message ostensibly negative is that I usually associate だけ with a sense of negative exclusiveness. Therefore, "これだけの長文" just reads like, "an article only so long in length" to me.

Am I being influenced by my understanding of だけ, especially how it usually translates to "only" in English? If not, is there a better way to rephrase this to avoid any confusion?

For example:

こんな程度の長文を書けるのはすごい…

Is this somewhat better than using だけ?

ご教授をいただければ、ありがたく思います。よろしくお願いいたします。

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    FWIW: some examples of grammar points using だけ in a positive way: だけあって・だけに・ だけのことはある Sep 19, 2018 at 5:45

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だけ is not necessarily negative, and this それだけ just means "that much" (or "that good" in this context).

Here are some related questions where だけ is not used in negative ways:

Contrary to your expectation, こんな程度/この程度 is usually used in negative or sarcastic remarks. (e.g., この程度の文章ではダメだ)

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  • Just realized the question was yet another duplicate. I cannot believe I didn't find the posts you linked to. I think I've even read some of them before.
    – Yeti Ape
    Sep 19, 2018 at 6:01

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