Compare にくい nikui and づらい zurai

Compare にくい nikui and づらい zurai

Hi everyone! Suppose there is a situation like this: You have to be away from your lover for a long time, but you find it difficult to do that, which expression will you choose,(別れ)づらい or にくい? To help you understand how to use にくい and づらい better, in this post, Learn Japanese Daily will introduce to you the lesson : Compare にくい nikui and づらい zurai.

Compare にくい nikui and づらい zurai


Both grammar structures express the meaning “difficult to do something” and are used with Vます(remove ます).


にくい nikui

にくい means “It’s difficult on the physical side when doing something (such as energy or technology)”.  It can be used with non-volitional verbs.

Example :

Kono hon ha ji ga chiisakute, yomi nikui desu.
The letters of this book are so small that it is difficult to read. (The difficulty of reading is caused by physical factor (small letters))

Kono tabemono no reshipi ha fukuzatsu de, tsukuri nikui desu.
This food recipe is complex so it’s difficult to make.

Kono hiroba ha bibiku node koe wo chiisaku dashi nikui desu.
Because this plaza resonates, it’s hard to speak in a small voice.

づらい zurai

づらい means “There are resistance and obstacles, so it’s hard to do something” This structure is different from にくい in that it is often used to talk about psychological obstacles. It is not used with non-volitional verbs but is still used with the following verbs:「見える・聞こえる・わかる」

Example :

Kodomo no kawaisou na kao wo mite, shikaridurai desu ne.
It’s hard to scold a child when looking at his/her poor face. (The difficulty of scolding the child here is caused by psychological factor (looking at the poor face of the child).

Kare ha totemo gekidou shiyaru hito na node, hontou no hanashi wo iidurai desu.
He is a person who is very easy to be agitated, so it’s hard to tell him the truth.

Anna kankyou de ikidurai darou.
It will be hard to live in such an environment.

Exercise for consolidating knowledge:

Choose the correct answer :


こんな人が多いところでは話しづらいだと思います。I think it’s hard to talk in such a crowded place. (Psychological factor (worry or anxiety) makes it difficult to talk in a crowded place)


この紙は特別な木から作られたので、裂きにくいです。: This paper is made from special wood, so it is hard to tear. (Physical factor – to be made from special wood)


あのうわさは本当かどうか信じづらいね。: It is hard to believe whether that rumor is true or not. (Psychological factor)


あんなに重い荷物は一人で持ちにくいだろう。: It would be difficult to carry such a heavy luggage alone. (Physical factor – heavy luggage)


あの人に前に悪い態度をとったので、現在話をかけづらいです。: I showed a bad attitude to that person before, so it’s hard to talk to him now. (Psychological factor – I’m ashamed because I showed a bad attitude to that person before)


いたずらな子供がいるので割りにくいコップを使っています。: Because there are mischievous children, I use a hard-to-break cup. (Physical factor – mischievous children)

In this post, Learn Japanese Daily has helped you compare にくい nikui and づらい zurai.

See other similar lessons at category: japanese grammar dictionary

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