How to use せっかく ( = sekkaku)

sekkaku

Marlowe 「せっかくきれいなスリッパをもらったんだけど大き過ぎるよ。」

= Sekkaku kireina surippa wo morattan dakedo ooki sugiruyo.

= You gave me these beautiful slippers but they are way too big.


Hi everyone! Today’s guest teacher is this adorable kitty, Marlowe.

He has good friends who are willing to be our guest teachers. I am sure they will be great teachers as well.

Anyway, Marlowe Sensei will be teaching you how to use  せっかく ( = sekkaku)

お願いします( = onegai shimasu) Please go ahead、Marlowe Sensei! !JYANE!

***********************************

Meow everyone!  I am Marlowe.

Today I will teach you a word, せっかく ( = sekkaku)

The kanji for せっかく( = sekkaku) is

 

:rrrr: 折角

but it most commonly written in hiragana.

 :purple: How to use せっかく( = sekkaku)

せっかく( = sekkaku) + verb  (something that requires one’s efforts) + のに ( = noni)

(1) Showing your disappointment / Complaining when you made an effort to do something or went out of your way to do something (after all the trouble) , you didn’t get desirable results.

Ex. せっかく彼女とデートする為に車を借りたのに断られた。

= Sekkaku kanojo to deito suru tame ni kuruma wo karita noni kotowarareta.

Even though I rented a car to go on a date with her, she turned me down.

Ex. せっかく彼に会いに彼の家まで来たのに外出中だった。

= Sekakku kare ni  aini kare no ie made kita noni gaishutsuchuu datta.

I came to his house all the way to see him but he wasn’t there.

Ex. せっかくレポートを書いたのに提出しなくてもよくなった。

= Sekkaku repooto wo kaita noni teishutsu shinakutemo yoku natta.

=After all the work I’ve done, I didn’t have to turn in my report.

Ex. せっかく料理を作ったのにお腹が一杯なの?」

= Sekkaku ryouri wo tsukutta noni onaka ga ippai nano?

= After all the trouble I went to cooking for you are you telling me you are not hungry?

Ex. せっかくレッスンを作ったのに誰も読んでくれない。

= Sekkaku ressun wo tsukutta noni daremo yonde kurenai.

= I tried so hard making this lesson but nobody reads this lesson.

Ex. せっかく髪をきれいにセットしたのに誰も気がついてくれない。

= Sekkaku kami wo kirei ni setto shita noni daremo ki ga tsuite kurenai.

= After all the trouble I went to getting my hair done, nobody noticed.

(2) When you feel bad when you wasted the efforts someone went to do something for you.

Ex. せっかく母がお弁当を作ってくれたのに家に忘れてきた。

= Sekkaku haha ga obentou wo tsukutte kureta noni ie ni wasurete kita.

= Although my mother made lunch for me, I forgot it at home.

Ex. せっかく来てくれたのに留守をしていてごめんなさい。」

= Sekkaku kite kureta noni rusu wo shite ite gomennasai.

= I am sorry you came all the way here when I wasn’t home.

Ex. せっかくお電話を頂いたのに出られなくて申し訳ありません。(polite)

= Sekkaku odenwa wo itadaita noni derarenakute moushiwake arimasen.

= I am sorry that I couldn’t answer your phone. (even though you took the trouble to call me)

Ex. せっかく彼女が花見に誘ってくれたのに行けなくなった。

= Sekkaku kanojo ga hanami ni sasotte kuretanoni ikenakunatta.

= Although she asked me to go see cherry blossoms with her,  I can’t make it.

せっかく(=sekkaku) ~(だ)が ( = (da)ga) / (だ)けど ( =  (da) kedo) ・~(です)が ( = desu (ga)

When you apologize to someone for not being able to do something even though they offered something/ they took the trouble to do something.
Although someone took the trouble to do something, you can’t do something / you have to decline their offer.

Ex. せっかくお越し頂いたのです今、部長は出張中です。

= Sekkaku okoshi itadaita no desu ga, ima, buchou wa shucchouchuu desu.

= We are very sorry. You took the trouble coming here but our division manager is on a business trip right now.

Ex. これ、せっかく買ってきてくれたんだけど、サイズが大きいからから返すね。

= Kore, sekkaku katte kite kuretann dakedo, saizu ga ookii kara kaesune.

= I appreciate that you took the trouble to buy this, but since it is too big, I will give it back to you.

2) When you want to take advantage the opportunity. / Since you have a chance to do so ~

せっかく(=sekkaku) + reason + (だ)から ( = (da) kara) / (polite) (です)から (= (desu) kara)

Ex. せっかく大阪まで来たんだから京都まで行こうよ。

= Sekkaku Osaka made kitan dakara Kyouto made ikou yo.

= Since we came all the way to Osaka, why don’t we go to Kyoto as well?

Ex. せっかく日本にいるのですから、是非、いろいろな所に旅行に行ってみて下さい。

= Sekkaku nihon ni iru no desu kara, zehi, iroirona tokoro ni ryokou ni itte mite kudasai.

= Since you are in Japan,  go visit many places taking advantage ( of being here.)

Ex. せっかくこうしてみんなが集まったのだからお酒でも飲みに行こうよ。

= Sekkaku koushite minna ga atsumatta no dakara osake demo nomi ni ikou yo.

= Since we all got together like this, we should take advantage of this opportunity and go out for a drink.

Ex. せっかくここまで来たんだから中に入らない?

= Sekkaku kokomade kitan dakara naka ni hairanai?

= Since we came all the way, why don’t we go inside?

Ex. せっかく作文を書いてくれたのですから、後からチェックをします。

=Sekkaku sakubun wo kaite kureta no desu kara, ato kara chekku shimasu.

Since you worked very hard on the composition,  I will check it for you later.

Ex. せっかく来てくれたのですからどうぞ中に入ってコーヒーでも飲んで行って下さい。

= Sekkaku kite kureta no desu kara douzo naka ni haitte koohii demo nonde itte kudasai.

Since you came all the way, please come in and have a cup of coffee!

Ex. せっかく今日は残業がないのですからまっすぐ家に帰ったらどうですか?

= Sekkaku kyouwa zangyou ga nai no desu kara massugu ie ni kaettara dou desuka?

= Since you don’t have to work late today, why don’t you take advantage and go straight home?

Note: We often omit the reason and just say

 :rrrr: *せっかくだから = sekkaku dakara

(more polite)

 :rrrr: *せっかくですから = sekkaku desu kara

It may be difficult to translate this type of せっかく( = sekkaku) in English but

  :rrrr: Since we have this chance/opportunity, we should take advantage of it. / I don’t want to waste this opportunity so…

*******

When you are somewhere near Kyoto,

Ex. せっかくだから京都まで行く?

= Sekkaku dakara Kyouto made iku?

= Since we are here (somewhere close to Kyoto), why don’t we go to Kyoto?

******

When someone visits your house and stay until dinner time,

Ex. せっかくだからご飯でも食べて行きませんか?

= Sekkaku dakara gohan demo tabete ikimasen ka?

= (Since you are here) why don’t you have dinner with us?

*******

When someone prepared dinner for you, you accept their invitation saying

Ex. それでは、せっかくですから頂きます。

= Soredewa, sekkaku desu kara itadakimasu.

= (Since you took the trouble to make dinner for me) I will have it with pleasure.

!star! せっかく ( = sekkaku no) + noun

= something precious/ valuable/long-awaited

★When you (can’t) take advantage of something precious / valuable

Ex. せっかくの日曜日だからどこかに行かない?

= Sekkaku no nichiyoubi dakara dokoka ni ikanai?

= Since it’s Sunday, why don’t we go somewhere taking advantage.

Ex. せっかくの機会ですから是非、ご一緒させて下さい。

= Sekkaku no kikai desu kara zehi, goissho sasete kudasai.

= Since it is a great opportunity, please let me be / go with you.

When it is used in a negative sentence: Something precious/valuable/long-awaited but not taken advantage of

Ex. せっかくの正月休みなのに子供達は受験勉強で忙しい。

= Sekkaku no shougatsu yasumi nanoni kodomotachi wa jukenbenkyou de isogashii.

= Although we are in  precious New Year’s holidays,  children are really busy cramming for entrance examinations.

Ex. せっかくのお誘いですが、今回は行けません。

= Sekkaku no osasoi desuga, konkai wa ikemasen.

= Thank you for inviting me but I can’t make it this time.

Ex. せっかくの作品が台無しだ。

= Sekkaku no sakuhin ga dainashi da.

= This precious work (piece) got totally ruined. / Although this work (piece) was great, it wasted.

Ex. せっかくの休日なのに仕事だ。

= Sekkaku no kyuujitsu nanoni shigoto da.

= Though it is a long waited holiday, I have to work.

Ex. せっかくのチャンスをだめにした。

= Sekkaku no chansu wo dame ni shita.

= I blew a good chance.

Note:

In my わざわざ ( = wazawaza) lesson, I said some of the usages of せっかく( = sekkaku) is very similar to わざわざ(=wazawaza)

Ex. わざわざ/ せっかく来てくれたのにお茶も出せなくてごめんなさい。

= Wazawaza/ Sekkaku kite kureta noni ocha mo dasenakute gomennasai.

= I am sorry that I couldn’t even serve you a cup of tea even though you came all the way.

Ex. わざわざ/ せっかく行ったのにお茶も出してくれなかった。

= Wazawaza/sekkaku itta noni ocha mo dashite kurenakatta.

= I went all the way there, but they didn’t even serve me a cup of coffee.

:l: The difference:

You use them both when someone does something with efforts/take the trouble to do something but

!star! せっかく( = sekkaku) to try do something favorable / desirable

!star! わざわざ( = wazawaza) to try do something not necessary to do.

*彼はわざわざ東京まで私に会いにきた。

= Kare wa wazawaza Toukyou made watashi ni ai ni kita.

= He came all the way to Tokyo to see me.
(He didn’t have to do that, but he has gone out of his way and came to Tokyo to see me.)

Focusing on his efforts / troubles

You can not use せっかく( = sekkaku)

X 彼はせっかく東京まで私に会いにきた。(wrong)

= Kare wa sekkaku Toukyou made watashi ni aini kita.

You need unfavorable results.
:u:
X 彼はせっかく東京まで会いに来てくれたのに私は大阪にいて会えなかった。

= Kare wa sekkaku Toukyou made aini kite kuretanoni watashi wa Ousaka ni ite aenakatta.

= He came all the way to Tokyo to see me, but I was in Osaka and we could’t see each other.

As I explained above, you can say

:u:

せっかくですから頂きます。

= Sekkaku desu kara itadakimasu.

(Since you took the trouble to make dinner for me.) I will have it with pleasure.

but you can’t say

X わざわざですから頂きます。

= Wazawaza desu kara itadakimasu

Please go check Maggie Sensei’s わざわざ ( = wazawaza) lesson if you want to learn more.

 

それではこれで僕のレッスンを終わります!みんな、ありがとう!

= Soredewa korede boku no ressun wo owarimasu! Mina arigatou!

= OK, I will wrap up my lesson here. Thank you everyone!

**********************
maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

せっかくこのサイトに来てくれたのですからどうぞお茶でも飲んでゆっくりしていって下さいね。

= Sekkaku kono saito ni kite kureta no desu kara douzo ocha demo nonde yukkuri shite itte kudasaine.

= Since you are already here at this site, please take your time and have a cup of tea.
***

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31 Comments

  1. Hello, Maggie-sensei! Since I discovered this site about a month ago, I’ve been resorting to your lessons quite a lot. They’re really helpful, the best extra for the Japanese classes I’m taking!
    You might remember from a little question about the usage of って in a certain statement… and well, since that time I’ve been doing just fine without needing to ask. But recently I stumbled upon a sentence I can’t really get the gist of it on my own. So, I hope you could help me again:

    It goes like this: “せっかく気になってるし!やってみようと思って!”, and to put you in context, this line is said by a somewhat tomboyish girl that went to a rock concert for her first time and now wants to learn to play the guitar so she’s got in touch with a private music teacher.
    I have many doubts here. The first one is about せっかく (the topic of this very lesson). As you explained, せっかく implies that an effort has been done, but do “going out to a concert” or “setting up a date” really count as an effort? And even if they count, which word in English would take the role of せっかく here?
    Second doubt is about that し at the end of the first sentence. I checked out the lesson [http://maggiesensei.com/2014/07/10/how-to-use-%E3%80%9C%E3%81%97-shi/] and I’ve narrowed its meaning to two possibilities: that し is used either to make your point, or to give a reason (just like から). Last use kinda fits with the second structure you showed us in this lesson (“When you want to take advantage the opportunity”), but given that exclamation point, I’m not sure this is the true option.
    Next doubt is about 気になってる, which I presume is 気になる + ている. I can’t conclude nothing about about its meaning, though… After reading the lesson about this idiom [http://maggiesensei.com/2011/10/20/request-%E6%B0%97%E3%81%AB%E3%81%99%E3%82%8B-vs-%E6%B0%97%E3%81%AB%E3%81%AA%E3%82%8B-kinisuru-vs-kininaru/], I primarily thought that it meant “to be interested”… but given that kinda gloomy nuance that せっかく has, I’ve started to think that it really means “to be bothered”. I just don’t know anymore.
    And the final doubt is about the ending of the second sentence (…思って!). I start sweating every time I see a sentence ending with a verb/adjective in the て-form, I never get it, and I always get lost: Is it a command/request? Is it an unfinished sentence? And if so, what could be the following remark?

    And that’s all.. sorry if it is a very long question and my explanations aren’t that good. You helped me lots the first time I asked, so if it’s not too much of hassle, would you do it again? ;)

    1. Hi Ichijiku!

      Welcome back!
      せっかく気になってるし!やってみようと思って!

      In this lesson, I explained the usage of

      せっかく〜(だ)から When you want to take advantage the opportunity. / Since you have a chance to do so ~

      As you said, し has a meaning of “から” to give a reason.
      You can rephrase it
      せっかく気になっているからやってみようと思って。

      気になる means “to be curious, to be interested in” or something gets one’s attention.

      Since it got my attention anyway, I thought I should give it a try anyway.

      思って It is unfinished sentence. 思っています。/思っているの/(more casual) 思ってるんだ…
      You sometimes leave a sentence unfinished on purpose.

      1. Thank you very much! I think I’m starting to understand those lines now. However, I still have some minor doubts remaining:

        Why is there a exclamation mark and not a comma in the middle? From my point of view, if you want to add a stop between the two statements, “せっかく気になってるし、やってみようと思って!” feels better than “せっかく気になってるし!やってみようと思って!”. With that exclamation point in the middle, it seems like the two sentences are independent from each other.

        And does that せっかく still have that “took the trouble of” nuance? I mean, could “せっかく気になってるし…” mean “Since they took the trouble of making me interested…”?

        And finally, it’s not a doubt, but I gotta say it again: unfinished sentences always leave me confused. I really don’t get what purpose could be behind that. Probably it’s not the same in Japanese, but when somebody leaves a sentence unfinished in English, I find it kind of rude.

        Again, thank you for all the trouble!

        1. You are totally right. It should be せっかく気になっているし、やってみようと思って is more natural.
          I wouldn’t put an exclamation mark after し and cut the sentence like that.
          It is a writer’s style and younger people tend to use more exclamation marks but it is still not natural.

          I have a lesson of ambiguity in Japanese language. (Check this link)
          It is a cultural thing that you read between lines.
          For example, if you want to ask your boss a day-off,

          休みをとらせてください。/ 休みをとりたいです。 sound a bit too straight and strong.
          Instead, if you say 休みをとりたいのですが… sounds more humble and polite.

          1. Thank you again for answering!
            I’ve just read the aimai lesson (thank you for that link too!). I liked it, I’ve learned a few things that I think they’re gonna help me… but I’ll probably still have some difficulties from time to time, since I have always had trouble reading between lines.

            Just one more thing… I’ve been told that, sometimes, when Japanese people leave their sentences unfinished ending with the て-form, it’s because they’re kind of “answering” a previous statement.
            For example, in the sentence we’ve been dealing with: before the girl says her line “せっかく気になってるし!やってみようと思って!”, a friend asked her “本当に始めるの!?”. So, could that “思って” actually be “思って始める”?
            Would that theory be correct?

          2. I would say the part which is not mentioned is いる to describe the current state.
            思って(いるの)I am thinking about doing it (because ~)

            思って始めます。sounds a little unnatural.

            思って+verb is usually used with a past tense.
            Ex. 面白いと思って始めた。I thought it was interesting and that’s why I started.

          3. I don’t know why but I cant reply to your last comment, so I’ll say it here:

            It took me time, but I think I’m starting to understand the whole picture. Still, I feel like I have to do more practice on casual/conversational Japanese…
            Anyway, thank you so much for all your answers!!

          4. Good!!
            Casual/Conversational Japanese could be harder in fact. There are some colloquial Japanese lesson here so check them out!
            がんばって!

  2. marlowe先生、すみません
    第一の例の漢字が違うよー ~>
    「せっかく彼女とデートする為に車を買ったのに断られた。」
    Even though I rented a car to go on a date with her, she turned me down.
    「借りた」もっと正しいです。^^

  3. thank you very much maggie-sensei, your explanation is very clearly^^
    ima wakaru you ni narimashita, arigatou gozaimashita maggie-sensei.

    「せっかくだから、他のポストを読まない?」 いいですかこの文章?

    1. @Japanese Learner

      Hello!!
      「せっかくだから、他のポストを読まない?」
      It’s correct.
      But are you talking about some blog and wanted to say “read other posts as well since you are here?” If so
      せっかくだから、他のポストも読まない?
      (ポスト could be 記事、投稿 depending on what kind of posts..)

  4. Great to have such a thorough resource tackling one of Japanese’s trillions of adverbs. They can be quite overwhelming at times.

    This has really helped, thank you! !DANCING!

    1. @George Porgie
      Haha, I know it is one of trillions of adverbs but it’s quite important and useful.
      Thank you for your comment! ありがとう!

  5. thanks for your always great lessons!!!

    Do you have already a lesson about how to use “なんか“? I hear it all the time in Japanese dramas and real live but a don’t get how to use it. !gejigeji!

    Thank you again :) from Spain :kanpai1:

  6. 是非の使い方レッソンしてあるかなー

    たくさん勉強になったのよ!
    ありがとうマギー先生、マロー先生♪

    1. @Melody

      「是非」の使い方のレッスンは、まだないです。(レッスンをいっぱい作りすぎてたまに自分が何を作ったのかわからなくなります。)
      また機会があったら作りますね♪

  7. Maggie Sensei, should 「せっかく料理を作ったのにお腹が一杯なの?」 be “Sekkaku ryouri wo tsukutta noni onaka ga ippai nano?” instead of “Sekkaku ryouri wo tsukutte noni onaka ga ippai nano?” in romaji? :)

  8. Hello! Thanks for your lessons, they’re always helpful.

    I have two things to say:

    1. “to do something only to to succeed”, did you mean “only to not succeed”?

    and “Ex. 「せっかく料理を作ったのにお腹が一杯なの?」 = Sekkaku ryouri wo tsukutte matte ita noni onaka ga ippai nano?”

    hmmm they’re not matching, right?

    2. Ex. せっかくレポートを書いたのに提出しなくてもよくなった。

    Hmm why is the yoi in negative form? I know the “not having to do something” as nakutemo ii, which would be nakutemo yokatta in past form, so I don’t really understand why it needs to be on negative as well…

    1. @reid

      Hello reid

      1. Sorry for the confusion. That was a typo. to to →to not succeed. I fixed the sentence.

      2. I am not sure if I understand your question.

      提出しなくてもいい= I don’t have to turn in the report.
      提出しなくてもよくなった = after all I don’t have to turn in the report
      (〜なった= It ended up/ turned out )

      * Usually ~しなくてもよくなった is used when you are relieved but since the speaker tried really hard writing the report, he/she got disappointed.

      1. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH I READ IT WRONG!

        I was 1850% sure it was “提出しなくてもよくなかった” instead of just 提出しなくてもよくなった, now I understand it completely, sorry for the confusion too! hahahahaha.

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