JLPT N3 Grammar You Need to Know: How to Use ni Kagiru ~に限る

  • February 18, 2019 / Lily Cernak

In this blogpost, we will discuss how to use grammar patterns involving ~に限る ~ni kagiru. If you are studying for level N3 or higher of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), this is a grammar pattern that you are likely to come across.

To view our other blogposts about N3 grammar, click here.

To view our other blogposts about the JLPT (all levels), click here!

What Does 限る Kagiru Mean?

As is the case with many of the grammar patterns we have talked about, once you know the meaning of the keyword in this grammar point it all makes sense. 限る kagiru is a U Verb that means “to limit” or “to be limited to.”

This verb is unusual in that, depending on the context of your sentence, it can be transitive or intransitive.* If you want to express that something “is limited,” 限る kagiru is often conjugated to its Passive Tense:



Jikan ga kagi rarete imasu node, isoganakucha ikemasen.

Time is limited, so we must hurry.



Similarly to other verbs, you may also see the Stem Form of 限る kagiru (限り kagiri) used as a noun.

For example,


Jikan ni wa kagiri ga arimasu node, isoganakucha ikemasen.

There is a limit to our time, so we must hurry.


*Click here for our blog post on transitive and intransitive verbs!


Using the Grammar Pattern ~に限る ~ni Kagiru

If you make a sentence with the construction [noun/Plain Form verb/negative Plain Form verb] に限る ni kagiru, it expresses that you think that noun/verb is the only correct option for a stated situation.

For example:


Hotto kokoa wa fuyu ni kagiri masu.

Winter is really the only time for hot cocoa.



Ochi konde iru toki wa, kawaii neko to asobu ni kagiri masu.

When you are feeling down, really the best thing to do is play with a cute cat.



Ii seiseki o tori tai nara, chuutohanpa na shukudai o dasanai ni kagiri masu.

If you want to get good grades, really the best thing to do is to not turn in half-baked homework.


Watch Out for Other Uses of 限る Kagiru

There are a few other grammar patterns that use the verb 限る kagiru but are used differently enough from ~に限る ~ni kagiru that they bear watching out for!

These include:


Kawa chan ni ae masu! Ureshii kagiri desu.

I will be able to meet Kawa-chan! I couldn’t be happier.


If you use the noun form 限り kagiri after a feelings-related adjective, it expresses that you feel as much of that emotion as possible.  (Similar to the English expression “I couldn’t be ___-ier”). You can think of the above expression as “I am so happy that I’m at the limit of my happiness.”



Kyou ni kagitte ano bangumi ga housou shi masu.

Limited to today, that tv program will air.



Tesuto ga aru hi ni kagitte enpitsu o gakkou ni motte iku no o wasure masu.

Specifically on days that I have a test, I forget to bring a pencil to school.


If you follow a noun (but not a verb) with ~に限って ~ni kagitte, it expresses that something is the case only for that noun. This is quite similar to ~に限る ~ni kagiru, but is not used with verbs. Another thing, because it is in -Te Form, it must be used earlier in the sentence.  (Since a sentence cannot end with a -Te Form verb unless it is a sentence that is a request, or a sentence being left intentionally unfinished).

That’s all on JLPT N3 grammar for now!

Don’t forget to visit our Resource Library to download our ~に限る ~ni kagiru cheat sheet!

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To view our other blogposts about N3 grammar, click here.

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