When I asked a Japanese about the difference between 並々ならぬ and 並外れた, he gave me a couple of examples how he uses the words:

  • 並々ならぬ身体能力(✕) 並はずれた身体能力(〇)
  • 並々ならぬお世話 (〇) 並はずれたお世話 (✕)

I also consulted the dictionary, but it didn't provide much information about how to distinguish the two. Could you tell me how to use the two words wisely? and when they are not interchangeable?

1 Answer 1


並外れた is used to describe someone's talent/ability/beauty/enthusiasm/etc that is truly and objectively exceptional and extraordinary.

並々ならぬ describes something that is much better or bigger than average/necessary. It's also a word commonly used to flatter someone in formal greetings, as in your example. You can use 並々ならぬ身体能力, 並々ならぬ努力 or 並々ならぬ才能 to praise someone, but we don't use it to describe a true genius.


  • イチローの並外れた才能: OK
  • イチローの並々ならぬ才能: a little odd because he is truly exceptional
  • 彼女は並外れた努力を重ねてきた: OK (she is truly exceptional)
  • 彼女は並々ならぬ努力を重ねてきた: OK
  • 彼は並外れた愛情を娘に注いできた: sounds a bit pathological
  • 彼は並々ならぬ愛情を娘に注いできた: OK
  • 私は政治に並外れた興味を持っています: NG (how can you prove it?)
  • 私は政治に並々ならぬ興味を持っています: OK

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