literally means how long or much, but often used in conversation for adding an "about" feeling to soften a phrase.
sometimes pronounced gurai depending on the phrase before; for example if the sentence before ends with a vowel.
3万ドルぐらい = about 30,000 dollars
can also mean "if anything", "rather"
Could anyone add a bit more detail to this? I really don't understand it, yet it seems like it's used quite often in Japanese. All the English translations I've found make no sense to me, and "about" isn't very descriptive. Thanks.
is it dono Gurai or dono Kurai ? is there any rule for this or just depends on the speaker?
Reply to dc's 質問. I don't think there is any rule for Gurai and Kurai. Even I sometimes think which of them is more often used for a prior word. We often use both like 10分くらい、10分ぐらい、あいさつくらい、あいさつぐらい、どれくらい、どれぐらい。You can see them by Google search.
KURAI here implies 程度. the rough standard, the degree, or the range of something. So, ex#609 implies somebody is expected at least a manner something like a hello. ex#3117, somebody is expected to do at least something like what a child can do.
婚約したことを友人くらい伝えたらどうですか。 Why don't you tell your engagement to at least your friends/ to at least somebody like your friends? 私にはこれくらいしかできない。 Least I could do. (ex from ALC) アルコール中心の昼食の後で請求書をサッと取れるくらいしらふである be sober enough to grab the bill at the end of a liquid lunch. (ex from ALC) 私が払えるのはそれくらいです。 That's about all I can pay. (ex from ALC)
See also gurai ぐらい
Lit : 'the extent (of politeness) of a greeting'
くらい is used when it comes in as a single word and ぐらい is mainly used in combinations.
What about the as.. as meaning of くらい? I'd add it myself, but I'm not very familiar with it yet. I know なら is with it a lot, though, or some sort of conditional. For example (from the wwwjdic)... あんな男と結婚するくらいなら死んだ方がましだ。 I might as well die as marry such a man. それをするくらいなら死んだほうがましだ。 I may as well die as do it.
I posted the above submission. My bad... I didn't notice that there was another article covering it. You can delete this and the previous post if you wish. Sorry!
I have been taught to use it this way: "ｘはｙくらいです", meaning "Y is about the only X". This can only be used when Y is about the only case where X holds true. X and Y are both either nouns or noun phrases. E.g. 東京が静かになるのは，お盆のころくらいです。