I read the definition of くだら◦ない【下らない】:


I know everything but that だけ. I've searched it up but I have no clue "which" だけ is used here.

  • The second definition in this wiktionary entry: 分量・限度・程度を表す。「~ほど」、「~くらい」、「~かぎり」。
    – Jimmy Yang
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


I am going to plagiarize my own answer here.:

Understanding the だけ in this context

I am not suggesting it as a duplicate because I will explain your phrase at the end.

Broadly speaking most of だけ's usages fall under two general categories: a negative sense and a positive one. I think because the negative sense is taught earlier to us Japanese learners, most people are more familiar with that sense. But the other meaning is also very common and unfortunately easily confusable with the negative sense.

The negative sense functions to limit a degree, scope, or reference, and is explained as:

  1. 範囲を限定することを表す。「~ばかり」、「~のみ」。(Wiktionary Japanese)
    in a negative, limiting sense: only, just, limit (Wiktionary English)

But here the other sense is invoked in your text:

  1. 分量・限度・程度を表す。「~ほど」、「~くらい」、「~かぎり」。
    in a positive, non-limiting sense: amount, as much as

As explained in that Wiktionary entry:


  • おんぼろの中古車だが、走るだけましかな。
  • タイムはともかく、この悪天候下で完走しただけ立派だ。

So given that this is "as much as", 「ほど」 and 「くらい」 are synonyms that might be of help. まじめに取り合うだけの価値 means "as much value as being seriously considered"

まじめに取り合うだけの価値がない: not worthy of being seriously considered/not worthy of serious consideration/attention

  • Do native speakers actually think of these as different senses? I've noticed a pattern with JP-EN dictionaries where a conjunction or expression will be given two opposite glosses, and then you read the fine print and see that one of them is specifically applicable in a negative context (like with e.g. しかない). With だけ, it seems like either way the core underlying idea is "this is the amount to which <main clause>". Feb 3, 2022 at 23:31
  • 1
    The meaning of だけ is determined by what follows it because that’s where we can infer whether the speaker sees the amount positively or negatively. I personally don’t see it as having two different meanings in itself.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 4, 2022 at 2:26
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    As for 惜しい, the two definitions can be understood as referring to your feeling towards the difference between (1) what you already have and what you might end up having, or (2) what you ended up having and what you hoped to have. Only the second sense is possible in the context of the linked question because no one is going to lose anything there. It is just that “regrettable” is probably too strong a word to describe the speaker’s feeling in that situation, making “close” a more appropriate translation. It is highly context-dependent and rather subjective.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 4, 2022 at 2:26
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    When you say 終わってしまうのは惜しい, whatever you refer to is still ongoing. When it ends, it creates a difference towards which you know you are going to have a certain feeling. It falls in the first category. In English you might describe this feeling with the verb “to miss.” My English dictionary gives the following definition for this sense of “miss”: feel regret or sadness at no longer being able to enjoy the presence of. If you are asked to give an adjective-to-adjective translation to express the same idea, you might choose to say “regrettable.” I guess that’s what bilingual dictionaries do.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 4, 2022 at 4:36
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    Indeed, もったいない and 惜しい are sometimes interchangeable. In fact, you could say 終わってしまうのはもったいない in your example. But it has a connotation that you think whatever is ongoing deserves to be continued and see its ending as a waste. In general terms, you regret a situation where something you think is valuable is not fully utilized. もったいない could sound rude if used for a person. You can say 惜しい人を亡くした when someone has died, but if you said もったいない人を亡くした, you would sound like you were seeing that person only as a convenient resource or something.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 4, 2022 at 6:23

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