347 - にかたくない

Today's grammar point is, in my mind, not a grammar point at all--the reason being that it only shows up in a handful of phrases.

We're looking at:

JLPT N1: ~にかたくない

Generally speaking, this means "easy to ~" or "not hard to ~."

It is almost exclusively used with the two following idiomatic phrases:

想像に難くない
そうぞう に かたくない
easy to imagine; not hard to imagine
Literally: "imagination + に + not difficult."

理解に難くない
りかい に かたくない
easy to understand; not hard to understand
Literally: "understanding + に + not difficult."

A note about kanji: I can almost guarantee that on the JLPT test にかたくない will be written in hiragana alone. However, if you look online, you'll see that the two phrases above often show up with the rare kanji reading ~に難くない(~にかたくない)so it might be worthwhile to note that kanji usage is possible as well.

A note about かたい:The dictionary form of the word in our grammar point would be 難い (かたい // difficult; hard). There are many possible kanji (and nuances) for words pronounced かたい, but that's an issue for another day (here's a short explanation in Japanese). Note that usually when you want to say "difficult; hard," you can just use 難しい (むずかしい // difficult).

Like I mentioned above, you'll usually see either 想像にかたくない or 理解にかたくない, but it is theoretically possible to put other plain-form words in front of ~にかたくない.

For example, at the end of this lesson we have:

察するにかたくない
さっする に かたくない
easy to guess [sense]; not hard to guess [sense]
Literally: "guess / sense / presume + に + not difficult."


Enough explaining!

Let's look at some sentences using these phrases...


交通事故で子供を失った家族の悲しみは想像にかたくない
こうつうじこ で こども を うしなった かぞく の かなしみ は そうぞう にかたくない。
It's not hard to imagine the sadness that a family must experience from losing a child in an accident.
Literally: "traffic accident + で + child + を + lost + family + の + sadness + は + imagination + にかたくない."


姉が希望していた航空会社に就職が決まり、どんなに喜んだか想像にかたくない
あね が きぼう していた こうくう がいしゃ に しゅうしょく が きまり、 どんなに よろこんだ か そうぞう にかたくない。
It's not hard to imagine how happy she must have been when she finally got hired by the airline that she wanted to work for.
Literally: "older sister + が + hope + was doing + airline company + に + finding employment + が + decided, + how much + was delighted + が + imagination + にかたくない."


妻の言葉の暴力を理由に離婚を決めた彼の判断は理解にかたくない
つま の ことば の ぼうりょく を りゆう に りこん を きめた かれ の はんだん は りかい にかたくない。
It's not hard to understand that his wife's verbal abuse led to his decision to get a divorce.
Literally: "wife + の + word + の + violence + を + reason + に + divorce + を + decided + he + の + decision + は + understanding + にかたくない."


動植物の減少が人間による環境破壊の影響であることは、察するにかたくない
どうしょくぶつ の げんしょう が にんげん による かんきょう はかい の えいきょう である こと は、 さっする に かたくない。
It's not hard to guess that the decreasing number of plants and animals is a result of mankind's destruction of the environment.
Literally: "plants and animals + の + decrease + が + human + due to + environmental destruction + の + influence + is + thing + は, + guess + にかたくない."


While normally I would encourage you to get out there and practice your grammar point, this is a pretty obscure one. If you do want to use it, I'd save it for formal written Japanese. Also, I would stick to one of the three exact idiomatic phrases listed above.

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