I am doing some JLPT prep, and I'm struggling with the differences between ほがらかな and 人懐っこい。

私は、誰にでも抱っこされる( )赤ちゃんだったらしい。

A「ほがらかな」 B「人懐っこい」

The given correct answer is 人懐っこい which I can understand as a sociable/friendly baby anyone can hold.

But I don't see how ほがらかな is a bad choice. A cheerful/happy baby anyone can hold seems fine to me...

Any hints?

  • JLPT questions tend to look for the best fitting or most appropriate answer. Jun 11, 2021 at 12:32
  • @JansthcirlU But ほがらかな赤ちゃん sounds rather unnatural to me.
    – naruto
    Jun 11, 2021 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


Perhaps even without those options, many native speakers can instantly give 人懐っこい or 人見知り(を)しない as the most natural expression which fits in that blank. 人懐っこい is such a common adjective to describe a friendly baby who smiles instead of crying when held by a stranger. 人懐っこい is also commonly used to describe a friendly animal. This is a rather simple vocabulary question, so you have to memorize it.

ほがらか doesn't match the definition in that sentence, and it's usually not used to describe a baby whose personality is not formed yet. I feel someone who is ほがらか is usually at least three years old. We don't use ほがらか to describe an animal, either.

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