How to use よく ( = yoku)

よく」の使い方がよくわからないので教えてください。

= “Yoku” no tsukaikata ga yoku wakaranai node oshiete kudasai.

= I don’t know how to use “yoku” well. Can you teach me?

よく聞かれる質問ですね。

= Yoku kikareru shitsumon desu ne.

= I get the question often.

 


Hi everyone! Happy New Year!!  明けましておめでとう!( = Akemashite omedetou) 

This is your 初レッスン ( = hatsu lesson) the first lesson of the year

We have the cute guest teacher, Suzu! We just had a question in the comment section and she will  explain the usage of よく ( = yoku).

********

みなさん、はじめまして! = Minasan, Hajimemashite! = Nice to meet you!  すずです。= Suzu desu. =  I am  Suzu!

Maggie Sensei always tells me,

「このサイトに来るみんなは、日本語の勉強を本当によくがんばっているよ。」

= Kono saito ni kuru minna wa nihongo no benkyou wo hontou ni yoku ganbatte iru yo.

= All the people who come visit this site study Japanese really hard.

She recently got a question about the usage of よく ( = yoku).

You may say, “I know that! よく ( = yoku) is an adverb form of いい ( = ii), right?”

(Check my いい ( = ii) lesson.) 

Yes, it’s true. It is an adverb of いい ( = ii). But the meaning is not just “well”. It can be used in a negative way.

We’ll see.

よく ( = yoku)

1) to do something well, nicely, kindly, carefully

*よくやった!

= Yoku yatta!

= Well done! / Nicely done!

* この洗剤はしみがよく落ちる。

= Kono senzai wa shimi ga yoku ochiru.

= This detergent removes the stains well.

* この絵はよく描けている。

= Kono e wa yoku kakete iru.

= This painting is nicely done.

* よく考えてからものを言いなさい。

= Yoku kangaete kara mono wo ii nasai.

= Think carefully before you speak.

* このゲームはよくできている。

= Kono geimu wa yoku dekite iru.

= This game is nicely done.

* ホームステイの家族は皆、私にとてもよくしてくれた。

= Hoomu sutei no kazoku wa mina, watashi ni totemo yoku shite kureta.

= Everybody in my host family was very nice to me.

* 「鍵をなくしちゃった。」

=” Kagi wo nakushichatta.”

= I lost my key.

よく探したの?」

= “Yoku sagashita no?”

= Are you sure you looked everywhere (carefully)?

* JLPTに受かったの?すごい!よくがんばったね。」

= “JLPT ni ukatta no? Sugoi! Yoku ganbattane!”

=  Did you pass JLPT? Wow! Good job!

* 彼女がいなくて寂しい気持ちはよくわかるけどなんか、食べたら?

= Kanojo ga inakute sabishii (or samishii) kimochi wa yoku wakarukedo nanka, tabetara?

= I understand you miss your girlfriend (or you feel lonely because you don’t have a girlfriend) but you should eat something.

* 忘れ物がないかよく見てください。

= Wasure mono ga nai ka yoku mite kudasai.

= Look around carefully to see if you have everything.

* in a negative sentence: not ~ well

*よく聞こえません。

= Yoku kikoemasen.

= I can’t hear what you said well.

2) to do something/ something happen often, frequently

* この店、よく来るの?

= Kono mise yoku kuru no?

= Do you come here/this place often?

* 子供の頃は、父とキャッチボールをよくしたものだ。

= Kodomo no koro wa, chichi to kyacchibooru wo yoku shita monoda.

= When I was a boy I would play catch with my father.

* この頃、彼とよく喧嘩をする。

= Kono goro, kare to yoku kenka wo suru.

= I’ve been fighting with him a lot recently.

* 最近、マジ卍(マンジ)という言葉をよく聞く。

= Saikin, maji 卍(manjitoiu kotoba wo yoku kiku.

= I’ve been hearing the word, “maji manji” a lot recently.

Note:  (manji) is a slang word among teen girls. Originally the symbol of is a temple which is called “manji”.

It doesn’t have a specific meaning and you use it to express emotions or describe one’s state when you feel sad, happy, angry, OK or see something cute, cool, etc.

It is like another slang word ヤバい ( = yabai) and it can be used both positive and negative meanings.

* 「マギーってきれいだね。」

= “ Maggie tte kirei dane.”

= You are pretty, Maggie.

「うん、よくそう言われるの。」

= “Un, yoku sou iwareru no.”

= Yeah, I get that often.

3)  a lot

* よく飲むね。

=  Yoku nomu ne.

=  You drink a lot, don’t you.

* 彼女はよくしゃべる。

= Kanojo wa yoku shaberu.

= She talks a lot.

* よく笑い、よく寝ることは健康にいい。

= Yoku warai, yoku neru koto wa kenkou ni ii.

= Good laugh and good sleep are the keys to staying healthy.

* 私は父によく似ている。

= Watashi wa chichi ni yoku nite iru.

= I look a lot like my dad.

* 彼はよく働く。

= Kare wa yoku hataraku.

= He works hard. or He works a lot.

* 最近、彼女とよくLINEで話す。

= Saikin, kanojo to yoku LINE ( = rain) de hanasu.

= I’ve been talking to her a lot on LINE.

4) to show one’s gratitude

* 遠いところからよく来てくれました。

= Tooi tokoro kara yoku kite kuremashita.

= Thank you for coming all this way.

*よくいらっしゃいました。

= Yoku irasshaimashita.

= Thank you for coming!

*よく)言ってくれました!

= “Yoku (zo) itte kuremashita.

= Well said. / Thank you for saying that.

Note: * When you stress the meaning, you add  ( = zo)  ( = yokuzo) )

* よく)この仕事を引き受けてくれました。

= Yoku (zo) kono shigoto wo hikiukete kuremashita.

= Thank you for taking on this work.

Note: It shows more gratitude than just saying

この仕事を引き受けてくれてありがとう。

= Kono shigoto wo hikiukete kurete arigatou.

Also よく ( = yoku) implies taking on that job is not an easy thing to do.

5) carefully,  closely 

* よく考えてみたら旅行に行くお金などなかった。

= Yoku kangaete mitara ryokou ni iku okane nado nakatta.

= Come to think of it, there was no way that I could afford to go traveling anyway. (I don’t have the money.)

* 買ったばかりの皿をよく見たらひびが入っていた。

= Katta bakari no sara wo yoku mitara hibi ga haitte ita.

= When I examined the plate that I had just bought carefully, there was a crack in it.

*よく聞いたら試験は、明日だった。

= Yoku kiitara, shiken wa, ashita datta.

= I found out the exam was tomorrow after all. (When I asked about the exam more carefully, I found out that it’s tomorrow.)

Note: You also use よくよく ( = yokuyoku) very carefully, very closely  to emphasize the meaning.

All the above sentences can be replaced with よくよく ( =  yokuyoku)

Another usage of よくよく ( = yokuyoku):  for special reason / in the last extremity

* よくよくのことがないと実家には帰らない。

= Yokuyoku no koto ga nai to jikka ni wa kaeranai.

=  I don’t go my home (my parents’ house) unless there is a special reason.

* 彼が私にお金を借りにくるなんてよくよくのことだ。

= Kare ga watashi ni okane wo karini kuru nante yokuyoku no koto da.

= He must be in a bad state if he’s coming to me to ask for money.

6) to express one’s admiration/ surprised feelings/disbelief

*よくそんなに食べれられるね。

= Yoku sonnani taberareru ne.

= Wow, you eat a lot, don’t you?

* あの二人、よく続いているね。

= Ano futari, yoku tsuzuite irune.

= They (referring to a couple) have been together for a long time, haven’t they?

Note: You also say

よくもまあ (  = yoku mo maa) to stress the meaning

* よくもまあこの寒い中、コートも着ないで歩けるね。

= Yoku mo maa kono samui naka, kooto mo kinai de arukeru ne.

= How can you walk aroudn without wearing a coat in this cold weather. ( I can’t believe it.)

* よくもまあぬけぬけとここに来られたな。(male speech/rough)

= Yoku mo maa nukenuke to koko ni koraretana.

= You have a lot of nerve to come here.

Note: ぬけぬけと( = nukenuke to)  = brazenly

( = na) suffix here is for male speech. (rough)

7) When you accuse someone who has done something bad for you.: How dare you + verb/ How could you ~

As we saw in 6), you can express your admiration/surprised feelings with よく ( = yoku)

For example, if you see someone is bungee jumping, you can say:

*よくそんなことができるね。(positive) 

= Yoku sonna koto ga dekirune.

= Wow! How could you do something like that?

It implies that you are very impressed. It’s a compliment.

But this sentence can be used when you accuse someone as well.

You just find out your friend was cheating on his girlfriend when she was away.

You can also say

*よくそんなことができるね。(negative) 

= Yoku sonna koto ga dekirune.

= How could you do that (to her)?

= How dare you do such a thing.

So you have to know the context well.

* 何もしないのによく文句が言えますね。

= Nani mo shinai noni yoku monku ga iemasu ne.

= You don’t do anything. How could you complain?

* よく言うよ!

= Yoku iu yo.

= Oh that’s funny (sarcastic) / Yeah, right. / Look who’s talking!

This is another  expression that you have to change the translation depending on the context.

Ex. 「自分で言うのもなんだけど、 僕は、頭がいいだけじゃなくてかっこいいよね。」

= Jibun de iu nomo nan dakedo, boku wa, atama ga ii dake ja nakute kakko ii yone.

= It may sound strange to say this about myself but I am not just smart. I’m also pretty cool, right?

* よく言うよ!」

= Yoku iu yo.

= Haha! / Yeah, right. (being sarcastic)

In Kansai area, they say ようゆうわ!」= You yuu wa

Ex. 「これ以上、食べると豚になるよ。」

= Kore ijou, taberu to buta ni naruyo.

= Don’t eat anymore. You are going to be like a pig.

よく言うよ。自分だってラーメン2杯食べたくせに。」

= Yoku iu yo. Jibun datte raamen nihai tabeta kuseni.

= Look who’s talking. You had two ramen, too!

よくも ( = yokumo)

When you emphasize your feelings, you add ( = mo)

よくも ( = yokumo) 

It sounds much stronger.

(1) to express your exasperations or frustration towards someone:

*よくもそんなひどいことが言えるね。

= Yoku mo sonna hidoi koto ga ieru ne.

= How dare you say such a horrible thing./ How could you say such a horrible thing?

*よくもそんなことしてくれたな。(male speech/rough)

= Yoku mo sonna koto shite kureta na.

= How dare you do things like that. / How could you do that to me?

*よくもだましたな。(male speech/rough)

= Yoku mo damashita na.

= How dare you trick me / How could you trick me?

******

Maggie先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Suzu先生、ありがとう!

= Suzu sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Suzu sensei!

まだ小さいのによくがんばってレッスンしてくれました!!

= Mada chiisai no ni yoku ganbatte ressun shite kuremashita!!

= I know you are still little but you did a good job making this lesson!

News!  I have just started Patreon to keep this site.  I appreciate your support!  サポートありがとう!
My supporters can access an audio file for this lesson on my Pateron page.

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24 Comments

  1. Hello Maggie Sensei!
    I’m reading manga and came across よく whose meaning I’m not sure of and was wondering if you could help.
    Person B is asking person A for some tips in leading a group of people particularly problematic people. The next conversation follows:

    A: しかしな
    俺は何もしてないぞ

    B: それでよくみんなをうまいこと扱えますね

    Half of me is leaning towards gratitude while the other is leaning towards disbelief, could you shine some light on this?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Jinzal

      For that particular case, it express surprised feelings/disbelief. (The usage 6) in my lesson)
      B was surprised how well A manages people based on what A says, (I am not doing anything).

      1. I was leaning towards that option a bit more so I’m glad to have received the confirmation. Thank you for the quick reply!

  2. こんにち先生!
    Thank you for your answers. It helped me like usual^^

    So another usage of the particle も is to stress the meaning. so 大丈夫も is used to stress “It’s ok”?
    も is according to what I know means also.
    Is there other usages for it?

    I’m still confused about the ending of verbs ~いる。as in 食べている
    Is there a lesson on it?

    Thank you so much in advance.

  3. こんばんは先生!^^
    I have some questions please:

    1: ” よく考えてからものを言いなさい。”
    I don’t understand this sentence at all. Here what is から、もの?もの no kanji?

    2.”忘れ物がないかよく見てください。”
    What is the function of “か” here?

    3. “この頃、彼とよく喧嘩をする。”
    can you please explain to me the difference between
    このごろ
    最近
    この前
    I’m very confused about them

    4. “私は父によく似ている。”
    In this sentence, we talk about looks or personality?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. 1. I guess you use kanji in old saying but if it is not something tangible you use hiragana in general.

      2. ~か(どうか) whether ~ or not (In this case “to check well whether you leave something or not.)

      3. このごろ/最近 can be interchangeable
      You can use both このごろ/最近 for some ongoing actions.
      But to describe one time action/event in the past, you can’t use このごろ

      Ex. 最近事故があった。(There was an accident recently.)
      X この頃、事故があった。

      You can also use この前 here but
      最近 recently この前 the other day

      4. Could be both. You can tell by the context.

    2. こんにちは先生!^^
      Thank you so much for your answers. And thank you for correcting me.
      I will check these lessons soon.

      本当にありがとう!

  4. Kon’nichiwa Maggie Sensei (^_^ Thank You For The Lesson…. ♡♡♡♡
    Sensei, I Have A Question Couldn’t Find Any Satisfyin’ Answer Of It, What Is The Exact Point For Usin’ The Adverb “Zuruzuru To” In This Context:
    “Zuruzuru To Juu Nen….”
    ずるずる と 10年….
    ….?
    Onegai Shimasu!

    1. おはよう先生
      Thank u so much for you answers but most important is that are you ok? I heard there was an earthquake so I wonder if you’re ok or not

      I’m worried…

  5. 「よくも!」そのように、一言で言われていますか。「己!」みたいな感じで、漫画とかビデオにキャラが言うでしょうか。もう一つは普通の人は言いますかな。

    1. 「よくも!」と言い切るのではなく 「よくも….」という形で使うことはあるかもしれませんが、省略するとしたら、
      よくもそんなことが…(言えるな)
      よくもそんなことを…(してくれたな)
      で切ると思います。

      普通の人も、相手のやったことに対して非難するときに使います。ただ、すこし強い表現なのでかなり怒ったときに使いますよ。

      よくもやったな。(male speech)
      よくもそんなことを言えるわね。(female speech)

    1. こんばんは。どういたしまして^^

      I have the following questions please:

      1.”マジ卍” I heard this is very rude to say when we talk to people (daily conversation) among friends, family, etc. Is it true? Also is it true this word is for teenagers only?

      2. “よく(ぞ)この仕事を引き受けてくれました。” I thought ぞ is a male limited suffix? Is it another type of ぞ? I’m confused

      3. ” よくもまあこの寒い中、コートも着ないで歩けるね。”
      寒い中= Originally it had particles but they were omitted?
      What is this ね at the end of the sentence?

      4. “自分で言うのもなんだけど、 僕は、頭がいいだけじゃなくてかっこいいよね”. What is the function of のも here? Double particles? btw, is there a lesson on double particles?

      Thank you very much in advance.

      1. Hi Kuroineko!

        1. Not rude but this slang word could be out of date by the end of this year. Yes, it is mainly for teenagers so I bet many Japanese people have never heard that word.

        2. That is not just for men. Women can use it, too.
        ぞ is a literal suffix to emphasize the meaning so it may sound a bit dramatic.

        3. We say 寒い中, 暑い中 as 雨の中
        I guess it will be easier for you to think 寒い天気の中

        4. I think I explain this before (maybe some other people…) の is a particle to nominalize the verb which comes before in this case 言う
        言う to say 言うの saying
        も is a particle to stress the meaning.

        Hope it helps

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