634 - に至るまで(にいたるまで)

Like our last N1 lesson, [NDL #627] - JLPT N1: に至っては (にいたっては), this N1 lesson is also looking at a grammar form that uses the verb 至る (いたる):


JLPT N1: に至るまで(にいたるまで // even; all the way up [down] to

We'll start by diving right into an example:


大学院では世界史から動物心理学に至るまで、実に多くのことを学んだ。
だいがくいん では せかいし から どうぶつ しんりがく にいたるまで、 じつに おおく の こと を まなんだ。
I really learned a lot of things in graduate school, from world history to (even)animal psychology.
Literally: “graduate school + では + world history + から + animal psychology + に至るまで, + truly + many + の + thing + を + learned.”

If we wanted, we could remove the verb 至る from that sentence:


大学院では世界史から動物心理学まで、実に多くのことを学んだ。
だいがくいん では せかいし から どうぶつ しんりがく まで、 じつに おおく の こと を まなんだ。
I really learned a lot of things in graduate school, from world history to animal psychology.
Literally: “graduate school + では + world history + から + animal psychology + まで, + truly + many + の + thing + を + learned.”

Doing so, our English translations don't change (much), but the nuance of the Japanese does.

When we include に至る before the まで, it adds emphasis to the fact that we are reaching some extreme level or limit.

"Animal psychology" is, in the speaker's mind, a rather far-fetched, random, or extreme example of something she learned about in graduate school.

Maybe that same girl is a big fan of Charles Dickens. You might expect a big fan of Dickens to have read all of his books. But you might not expect that person to also know everything about Dickens' personal life, all the way down to [even] the name of his first love:


彼女はディケンズのことなら初恋の人の名前に至るまで、なんでも知っている。
かのじょ は ディケンズ の こと なら はつこい の ひと の なまえ にいたるまで、 なんでも しっている。
She knows everything about Dickens, even the name of his first love.
Literally: “she + は + Dickens + の + thing + if (it is the case) + first love + の + person + の + name + に至るまで, + everything / anything + is knowing.”

Using に至るまで in this way makes sense because the verb 至る (いたる) can mean something along the lines of "to reach (a level or stage)."


Can you use に至るまで whenever you want?

Well, not really.

This is rather stiff-sounding language, so don't use it in casual, spoken Japanese.

Here's the pattern:

NOUNに至るまで
even NOUN; all the way up [down] to NOUN


A couple more examples, and you'll be finished.

Take your time. Going through example sentences word by word is almost always more important than reading lesson explanations...


この旅行会社にして正解だった。ビザの手配に至るまで、丁寧にサポートしてくれた。
この りょこう がいしゃ に して せいかい だった。 ビザ の てはい にいたるまで ていねい に サポート してくれた。
Going with this travel company was the right decision. They even provided detailed support for getting a visa.
Literally: “this + travel company + に + do (and) + correct answer + was. + visa + の + arrangements / preparations + に至るまで, + thoroughly + support + do (and) + gave (me/us).”

初対面なのに家の場所から貯金のに至るまで根掘り葉掘り聞かれて、とても不快だった。
しょたいめん なのに いえ の ばしょ から ちょきん の がく にいたるまで ねほりはほり きかれて、 とても ふかい だった。
Even though it was our first time meeting, he was really prying into my personal life, asking about things like where I live and (even) how much money I have in savings. It made me really uncomfortable.
Literally: “first time meeting + although + house + の + place + from + savings + の + amount + に至るまで + pryingly / nosily (= root-digging + leaf-digging) + is asked (and), + very + unpleasant / uncomfortable + was.”


You've now learned two grammatical forms using the verb 至る!

But we're not finished yet. 至る is also used in a couple of other N1 grammar forms, which we'll be covering in future lessons.

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