Once again, while doing exercises, I came across a sentence that bugged me:


A. だけあって、B. だけに、C. だけ、D. だけは

The solution to the exercise was A, which makes sense to me; but why would B be incorrect? As I understand it, both だけあって and だけに mean "precisely because" (in this example, it bears the nuance that if not for her wit, Naoko would have died). However, since they both appear as propositions, I guess there's a nuance between them; unfortunately I could not find any reference about such a nuance.

What's the difference between だけあって and だけに? What makes だけあって the right answer here?


1 Answer 1


To my surprise, someone asked exactly the same thing one year ago, but I'm going to focus more on their difference.

They are a bit more nuanced than "precisely because" for each. Especially the speaker's attitude is always woven into those expressions.

  • XだけにY: "considering how much X, (it's natural that / unavoidably / admittedly / I can't help but say) Y"
  • XだけあってY: "as can be expected of (how) X, Y"

だけあって comes from an idiom だけある "live up to the expectation that", so the connection is very straight, saying that what happened (Y) is true to, and is proof of the fact something has the quality (X). だけに is more convoluted if you look at my translation. It just put how highly you expect of it and the actual event side by side. It doesn't necessarily say Y is the expected outcome of X, and even when it does, the baseline is that Y is "fair enough" for X, not that it wouldn't be like otherwise. This mentality often leads to the impression that Y is not expected or desirable without reserve to the speaker.

So purely grammatically, B can be also a right answer, so you could say it's not a very good question. But I think 98% sober Japanese would choose A if given no other context, in this sense the question is more or less valid.

  • 1
    To sum things up, both mean "precisely because", but だけあって bears the nuance that Y is to be expected given X, while だけに does not, is that correct? Is it also correct that だけに being more neutral, it can always replace だけあって, but not the other way round due to the stronger nuance that だけあって bears?
    – Right leg
    Jul 24, 2019 at 7:03
  • You can say "neutral" but it doesn't mean "general". だけあって positively asserts that the expectation is even more true, but だけに is more like "yeah it surely worked as advertised this time" Jul 24, 2019 at 15:01

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