Language Lesson

Uki Uki NihonGO + Culture! - Lesson 29 - Audience Questions

Uki Uki Q&A Part 7

Today's question is from Pepper Whaling

Q: When would one use goro and gurai?

goro and gurai both mean "approximately" or "about" when the exact information is not available or if you don't want to be exact.

They mean the same thing, but you use them differently.

goro is used for time expressions, specifically a point in time (as opposed to length in time).

Examples:

around 5 o'clock = goji goro

(Goji goro ni eki de aimashou.)
Let's meet at the station around 5.

around noon = ohiru goro

(Ohiru goro ni kyuukei shimasu.)
I'll take a break around noon.

around Wednesday = suiyoubi goro

(Suiyoubi goro ni shiagerareru to omoimasu.)
I believe I can get this done around Wednesday.

around 1980 = senkyuuhyakuhachijuu-nen goro

(Kono biru wa senkyuuhyakuhachijuu-nen goro ni tateraremashita.)
This building was constructed around 1980.

On the other hand, kurai can be used for all kinds of information, including a point in time as well as length of time, weight, distance, height, number of people, temperature, speed, etc.

Note: You can say either kurai or gurai. Both are common.

Examples:

around 5 o'clock = goji gurai (or goji goro)

about 13 hours = juusan-jikan gurai

(Toukyou kara NY made juusan-jikan gurai kakarimasu.)
It takes around 13 hours to fly from Tokyo to NY.

approximately 30 degrees = sanjuu-do gurai

(Kyou no kion wa sanjuu-do gurai desu.)
Today's temperature is about 30 degrees.

around 100 people = hyaku-nin gurai

(Pa-Ti- niwa hyaku-nin gurai kimashita.)
Around 100 people came to the party.

about 3 kilometers or 3 kilograms = san-kiro kurai

(Natsu made ni san-kiro kurai yasetaindesu.)
I want to lose about 3 kilograms by the summer.

about 300 kilometers per hour = jisoku sanbyaku-kiro gurai

(Shinkansen wa jisoku sanbyaku-kiro gurai no hayasa de hashirimasu.)
Shinkansen runs at the speed of 300 kilometers per hour.

Summary:

goro is only for a point in time, and gurai is for pretty much everything.

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