Adverbs for “Especially”

第325課: Adverbs for “Especially”: 殊に, 特に, 就中, とりわけ, 殊更, etc.

This lesson focuses on an array of interrelated adverbs which translate to “especially/particularly.” Although some words may already be very familiar to you, others will be crucial additions to your vocabulary in preparation for the higher levels of the JLPT.


The adverb 殊に derives from the adjectival noun 異なり meaning “to be different,” which you’ll recognize from the verb 異なる with the same meaning of “to be different.” In fact, 異なる is the verbalized form of 異なり.
It should come as no surprise, then, that 殊に means that something “especially/particularly” different. It is used to mark a higher degree of some quality in comparison to other things. This word is rather literary and is not heard too often in the spoken language.

1. 天文は殊に船乗りに必要だ。
Astronomy is especially important to sailors.

2. 先ほどから殊に目を惹いた一人の男性がいた。
There was one person from earlier who particularly drew my attention.

3. 雪崩の跡で道が殊に悪くなっていた。
The road had become especially worse by what the avalanche left behind.

In older language, 殊に could also mean “moreover.”

4. 殊にこの頃は西山、東山の花盛りにてあると申して
Moreover, (they) say that the Nishiyama and Higashiyama are in full bloom at this time.

From 『猿座頭』 by 虎清狂

特に & 特別(に)

The adverb 特に also means “especially/particularly” by indicating that something stands out as being different than the norm, but unlike 殊に it can also refer to “special/preferential” treatment. 

5. 今日は【特に・特別(に)】暑い。
Today is particularly hot. 

6.  発展途上国で雇用が特に悪化している。
Employment is particularly worsening in developing countries.

7. 「何か問題があった?」「特にないよ」
“Where there any problems?” “There weren’t any in particular.” 

特別(に) can also be used as an adverb, indicating that the state or disposition of something surpasses other things. It also shares 特に’s meaning of referring to “special/preferential” treatment. You will also see 特別 used as an adjectival noun to mean “special/particular.” As an adjectival noun, it usually takes な, but it is also very common to find it in compound words. 

8. 在留を特別に許可する。To especially allow for (someone) residing.

9. 特別なものなんて要らない。
I don’t need anything special.

10. 漢検は自分には特別必要ないと思っている学生がいるかもしれません。
There may be students who think that the Kanken is not particularly important to themselves.

11.  特別料金で申込受付中!
Accepting subscriptions at a special (lower) rate! 

格別(に)& 格段に

格別(に)is also very similar to 特別(に)in that it marks an exceptionally true quality. It can also have the nuance of being “especially selected/treated with exception.” The difference in nuance between it and 特別 is that it indicates that something is especially better.

Just like 特別, 格別 may also be used as an adjectival noun meaning “special/particular,” and as an adjectival noun, it usually takes the particle の. 

12. 冬は鍋が格別に美味しい季節ですね!

Winter is the season when hot pot tastes especially delicious.

13. 雨の日は格別として、毎日ジムに行きなさい。
With exception to rainy days, go to the gym daily.

14. 平素は格別のお引き立てを賜り、厚く御礼申し上げます。
I wish to express my deep gratitude for the substantial support you always provide.

格段に is particularly closely related to the word 格別(に), but rather than indicating that something is far better than something else, its nuance indicates that the difference at hand is a “marked/noticeable” one at that. The difference is also usually a positive one. When it is used as an adjectival noun, it usually takes the particle の. 

15. 一般の人と技量に格段の違いがある。

There is a substantial difference in skill between (him) and ordinary people.

16. 私から言わせると格段に上達していると感じております。
If you ask me, I feel that (he) has markedly improved.

If you want to say that something is at a wildly different level than something, you can also use the synonym 段違いに. As an adjectival noun, it can take な or の.

17. ファイターの強さも段違いだ。
The fighter’s strength is on another level.

18. ダンジョンで出現する他のモンスターより段違いに強いモンスターが出現する。
Monsters wildly stronger than other monsters that appear in dungeons will appear.


Deriving from the te-form of the verb 取り分ける meaning “to distribute/divide,”とりわけ(て) means “especially,” but it is preferred in objective contexts and is not used in relation to actions that are done purposefully or willfully. 

19. 今年はとりわけ雨が多い。
This year has especially had a lot of rain.

20. とりわけ政治界においては必ずと言っていいほど改革は挫折する。
Especially in the world of politics, it is safe to say that reformation will invariably fail.

21. 世界中があなたの物になっていても取り分けて本国をお愛しなさい。
Even if the whole world becomes yours, love thy home country above all.From 『ファウスト』by 森鷗外.

Variation Note: とりわけて is identical in meaning and usage to とりわけ, but it is usually only encountered in writing. 

とりわけ can best be understood as pinpointing what is “especially so among others.” In this sense, it may be used to refer to personal opinion or the action of others, making it interchangeable with 特に, but it maintains its objective lens on the situation. 

Among sports, I especially like soccer.

23. とりわけボクシングを熱心にやっている。
(Among other things, he) is especially patient about boxing.

Orthography Note: The Kanji spelling of とりわけ is 取り分け, but it is seldom used.


なかんずく, also more traditionally spelled as なかんづく, is a contraction of なかにつく and means “especially… among other things” and is a more literary, fancy synonym to the second usage of とりわけ.

24. すべての学科に言えるが、なかんずく国語が重要である。
Though the same can be said for every subject, Japanese language instruction is especially important.

25. ただ道は最も奥で、山は就中深いが、栃木峠から中の河内は越せそうである。
The road is simply further deep with the mountains being especially deep, but Kawachi, in its interior, seems passable from Tochigi Pass.
From 『栃の実』by 泉鏡花.

別に & 別段

Although all these adverbs can be used in negative sentences, the two synonyms that can only be used in negative structures are 別に and 別段. Both words mean “not particularly/especially,” the latter form being more literary.

26. そこも別段変わった所もなかった。
There wasn’t anything particularly unusual there either.

27. 彼は別段、戦争に協力するような一行の煽動的な文章を書いてはいない。
He hasn’t particularly written any incendiary passage abetting war. 
From『通俗と変貌と』by 坂口安吾.

28. 科学は別に特別な知識ではなくて、結局は知識そのものにすぎない。
Science isn’t especially particular knowledge but ultimately knowledge itself and nothing more. 
From 『科学編』 by 戸坂潤.

殊更 VS わざと VS 故意に

殊更 has two meanings, one of which is meaning “particularly” as the emphatic version of 殊更.

29. 善とか悪とかいうことが何であるかは今殊更問題にしまい。

I will not particularly make issue of what exactly “good” and “evil” are now.

30.  その種の笑い話は本集にも極めて多いが、殊更に多くを集めたのではない。
There is an extremely large amount of such funny stories in this compilation, but it isn’t that (we) have particularly collected lots of them. 
From 『中国笑話集』 by 駒田信二.

The second meaning of 殊更 is indicating “intentional/deliberate” action. In negative contexts, it may give off the meaning of “not particularly necessary to” which could be viewed the same as saying “no need to go out of one’s way to.” 

In positive contexts such as Ex. 26, you can actually see how the “intentional” meaning derives from its use to “particularly” be a certain way but in a transitive context. 

Particle Note: For this second usage, you may also see the particle に with no change in meaning or nuance. 

31. 筋肉は殊更(に)膨脹し、男らしさを強調する。
His muscles especially swelled up (on purpose), emphasizing his manliness.

32. 殊更(に)誰に聴かせようとして歌っていたものではない。
(I) wasn’t singing that to intentionally have someone listen to it. 

A far more common way to say “deliberately/on purpose,” though, is わざと.

33. 喫茶室にラファエル君がいることには気づいていたが、わざと視線を合わせなかった。
Although I had noticed that Rafael was in the coffee room, I purposely made sure I eyes didn’t meet. 

34. 人の前でわざとこんなことをして見せたがる女がいるなんて・・・
To think there’d be a woman who would purposely want to show off doing this sort of thing in front of people…

Orthography Note: The Kanji spelling of わざと is 態と, but it is seldom used.

In technical speech, the adverb 故意に will also be seen. 

35. たとえば他人がその櫛で頭を梳かしたことはなかったか。あるいは故意にA型の人の毛をそこに入れて裁判所に提出しなかったか。
For instance, are you sure another person didn’t use a comb on the person’s head? Are you sure no one deliberately placed hair of an A-type individual there and then presented that to the court? 

From 『死体は語る』by 上野正彦.

36. 犯人は死体の遺棄を故意に腐食動物に任せた可能性が出てきたのである。
The strong possibility has arisen that the criminal abandoned the body and purposefully left it for scavengers. 
From 『虫送り』 by 和田はつ子.