I want to know more about the difference between ぐらい and ばかり, and when either should be used. For example in the 2 sentences below. I think either of them can be used.



But for the sentences below, it will have a different meaning



In my assumption, ぐらい is "about", and ばかり is "only about"

1 Answer 1


As you say, ばかり has a connotation of “only” even when it is used as a synonym of ぐらい. However, I would say that difference is pretty subtle and rather negligible.

I see a much bigger difference between the two. ばかり is not very frequently used in that sense any longer, at least not in spoken language. I may see it from time to time in writing but hardly ever hear anyone actually say it in a conversation. It would sound a bit stilted.

ばかり in the sense of “only” is commonly used in conversation, often in the colloquial form of ばっかり.

He does nothing but complain.

If you need to express the meaning of "approximately" somewhat formally, you can use ほど instead of ぐらい.



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