I came across this sentence in an exercise, so there is no context :


What is exactly the meaning of よく住める and is it possible to have one or two other sentences using it?

1 Answer 1


Here よく means how (can/do you) ...?, indicating the speaker thinks '...' is something extraordinary. It is somewhat close to how come ...?.

So the sentence means how can you live in such a cold room like this? (I think it's impossible).

Incidentally よく can be put at the front: よくこんな寒い部屋に住めるね.

Other examples:

  • よくこんなもの見つけたね How did you find such a thing? (I am surprised you did)
  • よくそんなこと言えるね How dare you say such a thing?
  • よく日本語なんか勉強するね How come you study Japanese!

Note that it often comes with そんな/こんな or なんか (roughly corresponding to such).

デジタル大辞泉 lists this usage of よく(well) as separate definitions:

4 困難なことをしたり、考えられないような喜ばしい結果を得たりして感じ入るさま。本当にまあ。よくぞ。「―来てくれました」「月給だけで―やっていけるね」

5 相手の非常識な言動などを非難するさま。4を反語的にいう語。よくもまあ。「―のこのこと来られたものだ」

5 is the definition for how dare...

That said, I suppose it can be understood as an exclamation. E.g. the sentence in question is how well you live in such a cold room! and the speaker thinks you are doing too well (much).

In terms of register, it is colloquial, but can be made polite. E.g. よくこんな寒い部屋に住めますね.

Ending with な (e.g. 住めるな) would sound masculine and somewhat more rude.

  • I've never come across this usage of よく before. It would be great of you could give a few more details. Is this from よい (good), よく (often), or something entirely different? Is it standard Japanese, or does it have a more modern/slang feel? How does ね fit in? Is it part of the structure? I don't see how it would work in the usual sense of asking for confirmation. Thanks. Apr 3 at 14:47
  • 1
    @user3856370 I think this was originally a sarcasm, but it's no longer slangy. (But it's of course not very polite, either.) See this question and this question. You can use other sentence-final particles like な, or just say "よくも! (How dare you!)", "よくまあ (Ooh I'm amazed!)", etc.
    – naruto
    Apr 4 at 2:02
  • 1
    @user3856370 I added the answers to your questions.
    – sundowner
    Apr 4 at 2:26
  • 2
    よく女子供が殺せるな was used to translate the line "How can you shoot women and children?" in the famous "get some" scene of Fullmetal Jacket together with its double meaning. Apr 4 at 9:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .