445 - というところだ

There are so many Japanese grammar points that seem to mean... well, nothing.

Take this sentence:

私がメイクにかける時間は、せいぜい5分というところだ
わたし が メイク に かける じかん は、 せいぜい ご ふん というところだ。
I only spend five minutes putting on my makeup, at the most.
Literally: “I + が + makeup + に + spend on + time + は, + at the most + five minutes + というところだ.”

In the second half of this sentence, we have:

せいぜい5分というところだ
せいぜい ご ふん というところだ。
five minutes at the most
Literally: “at the most + five minutes + というところだ.”

Tell me: What in the world does this というところだ mean?

I have a grammar book that says it means something along the lines of "at the most."

But aren't we already saying "at the most" by including the word せいぜい, which means "at the most?"

What's the purpose of adding というところだ?!

I don't know, but people say it. And it's on our tests. So let's study it.


JLPT N1: ~というところだ (at the most)

We know that と can sometimes act kind of like a set of "verbal quotation marks" around whatever phrase comes before it. Sometimes this can be done with just と. Other times it can be done with という or, more casually, って.

So if we have:

Blah blah blah というところだ

It's kind of like saying:

"Blah blah blah" ところだ

ところ technically means "place," and だ is the copula, which, being lazy, we'll just call "is."

So:

"Blah blah blah" place is.

せいぜい5分というところだ
せいぜい ご ふん というところだ。
"at the most five minutes" place is

Well, that doesn't teach us much at all, does it?

Therefore, I advise the following: Just live with it.

We don't need to be able to put every single Japanese particle and word into English. And in this case we can just remember the following:

~というところだ is used to show that something is limited to an amount that is not big, great, impressive, etc.

For this reason, we can sometimes translate it as "at the most."


というところ, or というところです in more formal language, always comes directly after a NOUN:

NOUN + というところだ[です

5分(ごふん // five minutes
5分というところごふんというところだ // five minutes at the most

10万円(じゅうまんえん // 100,000 yen [lit. 10 x 10,000 yen]
10万円というところですじゅうまんえんというところです // 100,000 yen at the most


We've already seen this example, although now it has fancy colors:

私がメイクにかける時間は、せいぜい5分というところ
わたし が メイク に かける じかん は、 せいぜい ご ふん というところだ。
I only spend five minutes putting on my makeup, at the most.
Literally: “I + が + makeup + に + spend on + time + は, + at the most + five minutes + というところだ.”

I was a bit torn about whether I should put "only" or "at the most" in bold here, as it's hard to say which is corresponding to というところだ.

But then maybe both "only" and "at the most" correspond to it, so I put both in bold. Also, that way I don't have to decide.


私の毎月のバイト代は、だいたい10万円というところです
わたし の まいつき の バイト だい は、 だいたい じゅう まん えん というところです。
My monthly income from my (part-time) job is only about 100,000 yen.
Literally: “I + の + every month + の + (part-time) job payment + は, + approximately + 100,000 yen [lit. 10 x 10,000 yen] + というところです.”


It is also possible to say といったところだ instead of というところだ, as in our last two examples...

趣味?そうですねえ。読書、散歩といったところです
しゅみ? そうですねえ。 どくしょ、 さんぽ といったところです。
My hobbies? Um, well… I like reading and going for walks. That’s about it.
Literally: “hobby? + well (=that’s right…) + reading, + going for walks + といったところです.”


A:
外食はよくしますか。
がいしょく は よく します か。
Do you eat out often?
Literally: “eating out + は + often + do + か.”

B:
いいえ、多くても月に2~3回といったところです
いいえ、 おおくても つき に に さん かい といったところです。
No, only two or three times per month at the most.
Literally: “no, + at the most (=even if many) + month + に + 2-3 times + といったところです.”

Like we saw earlier with せいぜい, here the "at the most" meaning of といったところです is overlapping with 多くても, which also means "at the most" here. Some might say it's repetitive. But that's grammar for you.

That's all for this lesson. Hope you enjoyed it. ^^

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