[JLPT grammar] What’s the difference between 下手(へた) and 苦手(にがて)?

Today I am going to share the Q&A quoted from my JLPT N4 course!


[Student’s Question]

what’s the difference between 数学が下手 and 数学が苦手?

*数学(すうがく) mathematics
下手(へた)/苦手(にがて) not good at


[My Reply]

上手(じょうず)/下手(へた) means whether you have the skill or not, like ピアノ, 日本語, サッカー.
But 数学 is a study subject, it is not a skill.
We say 数学が苦手, but not 数学が下手.

When you use 苦手, it doesn’t mean that you are unskillful, but you are not comfortable of doing it.

When you use 下手, it simply means your skill is not good, and doesn’t take your feeling.

I am not skilled enough to play the piano.

My Japanese skills are still not good enough.

I am not comfortable studying mathematics.

I am not comfortable reading kanji.


I hope my answer helps you.😊


In the JLPT course, you can ask me any questions as much as you want.
I will teach you until you get it!



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