The meaning of sukoshi (少し) and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word sukoshi, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does sukoshi mean?

Sukoshi (少し、すこし) means a little or a little bit in Japanese. This word refers to a small quantity of something. You can also use sukoshi when talking about a short amount of time, like when saying for a while.

Not to be confused with chotto (ちょっと), sukoshi is a common word that you will hear often in Japanese. Let’s look at how to use it and some other expressions that include it.

Sukoshi meaning 1: A little

In Japanese, the word "sukoshi" means a little or a little bit.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji in the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Teima paaku wa tanoshii kedo, sukoshi takai.
Theme parks are fun, but a little bit expensive.

Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu.
I understand a little Japanese.

Kyou wa sukoshi suzushii ne.
It (the weather) is a little bit cool today.

Sono omise ni itte mitai kedo, sukoshi tooi.
I would like to go to that shop, but it’s a little far.

In Japanese, the word "sukoshi" means a little or a little bit.

Sukoshi meaning 2: A while

Sukoshi kyuukei shitai desu.
I want to take a break for a while.

Sukoshi aruku to, me ga sameru yo.
You’ll wake up once you walk for a while.

二次会? 少しぐらいならいいですよ。
Nijikai? Sukoshi gurai nara ii desu yo.
にじかい? すこしぐらいならいいですよ。
(You’re going to drink at) A second place? It’s OK if it’s just for a short while.

As we will see below, sukoshi also forms some useful phrases that you will hear a lot in Japanese.

Mou sukoshi = a little more

Mou sukoshi (もう少し、もうすこし) means a little more or a bit more. People commonly use this expression when saying that something will take a little more time.

Mou sukoshi jikan ga kakaru.
It will take a little more time.

Ie wa mou sukoshi massugu desu.
Go straight a bit further to get to my house.

Mou sukoshi otousan no koto wo shiritakatta desu.
I wish I’d known your father a little better (lit: a little more).

Note that mou sukoshi is often used together with ato (後、あと), which means later.

Ato mou sukoshi gohan wo tabeyou ka?
Shall we eat dinner a little bit later?

Sukoshi zutsu means little by little or gradually.

Sukoshi zutsu: Little by little

Sukoshi zutsu (少しずつ、すこしずつ) is a useful Japanese expression that means little by little or gradually. You can use it when talking about incremental progress or gradual change.

Sukoshi zutsu genki ga modotte kiteiru.
Little by little, I’m feeling better.

Saikin, kanojo wa ryouri ga sukoshi zutsu umaku natte kita.
She has gradually been getting better at cooking lately.

Nichijoteki ni eigo wo benkyou sureba, sukoshi zutsu oboeru hazu.
If you study English regularly, you should be able to gradually learn it (lit: remember it).

Sukoshi benkyo ni natta kana?

I hope this was a least a little bit instructive? I tried to cover the most common uses of sukoshi here, but there are many more. With long-term exposure to the language, you will naturally pick up on these nuances. Feel free to reach out anytime via the contact form if you have any questions or comments!