英語のヒント vol. VII: 日本人がよくやるミス 2 - 'Almost'

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Jul 30, 2013 09:16 英語のヒント hint ミス mistakes
Hey everyone,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been busy at work, trying to get everything done before my trip to Tokyo/Yamanashi. I hope to keep posting at least 2-3 times a week, though, and maybe even more in the future!

Today, we discuss a very, very common English mistake Japanese people make. I hear this mistake all the time and I know why people make it. It makes sense in Japanese, but the direct translation is wrong.

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1. "Almost" の意味は「ほとんど」(だけ)じゃなくて 'very nearly.'

The general meaning of 'almost' in English is 'very nearly,' 'very close to ~,' or 'about ~.' 'Almost' means much more than only 'mostly' / ほとんど.

Have you ever heard or spoken sentences like these?:

x: "Almost Japanese people eat miso soup."
x: "Almost my friends came to my party."

Many Japanese people use "almost" here because in Japanese it's ほとんど. HOWEVER, in English, when you use 'almost' to mean ほとんど, it needs a QUALIFIER; that is, it needs a word AFTER it to have a meaning. So, the above sentences would be:

o: "Almost ALL Japanese people eat miso soup."
o: "Almost ALL OF my friends came to my party."

Here are some other examples:

o: "Almost NONE of my friends play tennis." (Maybe one or two do, though)
o: "Almost ALL countries eat breakfast." (Maybe a few countries don't)
o: "The class has an almost EVEN number of boys and girls." (Number of boys and girls is about the same)

Because 'almost' has a wider meaning than ほとんど, we can use it in many other situations:

o: "It's almost 3 PM." (Maybe it's 2:57 PM; 'it's very nearly 3 PM')
o: "I'm almost 20 years old" (Maybe your birthday is next week)
o: "His face is almost green." (Maybe he's sick and his face is changing color)
o: "I almost quit my job today." (Maybe you had a really bad day and were about to quit)

Hope this is helpful to you.

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