すくない vs すくなくない


#1

こんにちわ。。

i have question about the adjetive 【 すくない 】ー a few
why the opposite【 すくなくない 】sometimes is translated
as enough or not much?

ex:
すくなくないですよ。
there is enough !
コーヒーがすくないです
There is not much coffee.


#2

すくない is not “a few”, but “few” as in “not many” or “not much” or “a small amount.”

Of course, if you have few things, you probably have “a few” things, but there is a negative implication to すくない that doesn’t necessary exist with “a few”.

I don’t really understand your question about すくなくない though.


#3

tks…

I understand now.
my logic was too literal , i thought something like the negative of “not much”
it should be “much”.


#4

少ない can also mean “insufficient”, so since 少なくない is the negative form of 少ない, it could be interpreted to mean “not insufficient” —> sufficient —> enough

So from your example:

すくなくないですよ。

  • “it is sufficient” —> “there is enough”

Edit: Oh okay I see you said you understand now :see_no_evil:


#5

I don’t think I’ve ever heard すくなくないです or something like that to mean “enough” even though it could be thought of that way.

十分 (じゅうぶん) is typical.

But that might just be my personal experience.


#6

I recently chatted with my language exchange partner about these double negatives, and really they’re the same usage as English.

You wouldn’t go out of your way to say “it’s not uncommon” instead of “it’s common” unless it made sense in the context of the sentence. Just as in English these double negative are often following by a “but…” the same is essentially true in Japanese. Even if it’s left unsaid, there’s something more behind what the person is saying as opposed to just “it’s enough” etc.