How to say “very” naturally in Japanese

You have so many ways of saying “very” in Japanese, such as “totemo”/「とても」, “meccha”/「めっちゃ」, “mechakucha”/「めちゃくちゃ」, “cho”/「超」, “hontoni”/「本当に」, “sugoko”/「すごく」, “monosugoku”/「ものすごく」, “hijyoni”/「非常に」, “makotoni”/「誠に」, “kiwamete”/「極めて」, “taihen”/「大変」, “kanari”/「かなり」, “taiso”/「たいそう」, “soto”/「そうとう」, “erai”/「えらい」, “jitsuni”/「実に」or “hanahada”/「甚だ」. All of these  expressions mean the degree is big. But the expressions used often actually are limited so I will pick them up from my experiences in Japan and introduce them. I’m 32 years old and have worked for a Japanese company for about 7 years although now I live in Germany.

1. “Meccha”/「めっちゃ」 - it’s a casual expression.

Japanese 20s and 30s really often use “meccha”/「めっちゃ」as the meaning of “very”. Originally it seems that young generations in the Kansai area have used it. Nowadays young generations all over Japan often use it. Japanese young generations used to say “cho”/「超」 a few decades ago, but I think “meccha”/「めっちゃ」is more common. There is no problem to say “meccha”/「めっちゃ」to friend or family, but I think it’s over-familiar to say it to your boss in the workplace. I will introduce the actual example.


A:I’m sorry. I was late for our promise because the train was very late./ごめん。電車がめっちゃ遅れて約束に遅刻しちゃった。

B:No problem !/うん、いいよ!

2. “Kanari”/「かなり」 - it’s an expression you can use as a spoken language in the workplace.

I usually say it to my boss in the workplace. It’s not too casual. Some people say “hijyoni”/「非常に」in the workplace. I think it’s not unnatural, but I have heard “kanari”/「かなり」more often. I can feel that “hijyoni”/「非常に」is more formal than “kanari”/「かなり」. I don’t feel strange even if you use “kanari”/「かなり」to your colleague, so I think there is no doubt if you remember you use “kanari”/「かなり」in the workplace.


The meeting tomorrow might be very long./明日のミーティングはかなり長くなりそうです。

3. “hijyoni”/「非常に」, “taihen”/「大変」or “makotoni”/「誠に」 - it’s an expression you can say to the people out of the office or as a written language in a business scene.

I use them to the people out of my company in a business scene or as a written language in a business Email. I often use “taihen”/「大変」or “makotoni”/「誠に」especially when I apologize or appreciate in a business Email. ”These expressions are more formal than “kanari”/「かなり」so you wouldn’t give people an impolite impression when you use them. Some very polite people use them as a spoken language in the workplace, but I think it’s too polite if you say them to colleagues, friends or family.


This is very hard./これは非常に難しいです。


I’m very sorry./大変申し訳ございません。


Thank you very much./誠にありがとうございます。

4. Summary

“Meccha”/「めっちゃ」is a casual expression and you can say it to friends or family in daily conversation. You can use “kanari”/「かなり」as a spoken language in the workplace. You can use “hijyoni”「非常に」, “taihen”/「大変」or “makotoni”/「誠に」to the people out of your company or in a business Email.


  1. Tim says:

    Really explanatory article. PS The romanji is incorrect for 非常に. Keep it up!

  2. Jin says:

    This is very helpful! Thank you 🤗

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