Sore-wa futa-ga pittari shimaranai. (Its lid doesn’t fit tightly.)

Situation 1: Takako, a junior high school student, is choosing a lunch box with her mother in a shop.

たか子: お弁当箱にこれはどう?

母: だめよ。それはフタがぴったり閉まらないから。

Takako: O-bentō-bako-ni kore-wa dō?

Haha: Dame-yo. Sore-wa futa-ga pittari shimaranai-kara.

Takako: How about this one for my lunch box?

Mother: No, its lid doesn’t fit tightly.

Today, we will introduce some uses of ぴったり, an adverb that shows the state of something. ぴったり is used to show that something sticks to or fits into another thing well, with no space as in この靴(くつ)は私(わたし)にぴったりだ。(These shoes fit my feet perfectly.) ぴったり is used both in spoken language and informal written language.

Other examples: 体(からだ)にぴったりした服(ふく)を着(き)ると、太(ふと)って見(み)える。(I look fat when I wear clothes that fit tightly.) ぴったり can be used when something fits a target time or number exactly or perfectly as in 計算(けいさん)がぴったり合(あ)った。(My calculation was exact.) 新幹線(しんかんせん)は予定時間(よていじかん)ぴったりに到着(とうちゃく)した。 (The shinkansen arrived promptly and on time.)

Situation 2: Yuri asks her boyfriend, Sere, about an English-language expression.

ゆり: 「なつかしい」って英語で何て言うの?

セレ: うーん、なかなかぴったりの表現がないなあ。

Yuri: “Natsukashii”-tte eigo-de nante-iu-no?

Sere: Uun, nakanaka pittari-no hyōgen-ga nai-nā.

Yuri: How do you say “natsukashi” in English?

Sere: Well, there isn’t really an accurate way to say that in English.

ぴったり is also used when something fits the required condition closely or perfectly. このレストランはロマンチックで、デートにぴったりの場所(ばしょ)だ。 (This restaurant has a romantic atmosphere and is the perfect place for a date.) 自分にぴったりの仕事(しごと)が見(み)つからない。 (I can’t find a job just right for me.)

ぴったり also means that something suits or fits someone or another thing. この服(ふく)は山田(やまだ)さんにぴったりだ。 (This clothes suits Ms. Yamada perfectly.) この服は山田さんにぴったりだ also has the other meaning “The size of the clothes fits perfectly,” and it depends on the situation. ぴったり can be used for the perfect combination as in 二人(ふたり)の息(いき)がぴったりと合(あ)っていて素晴(すば)らしいダンスだった。(The two made a perfect pair, and their dancing was wonderful.)

Bonus Dialogue: At their office. Mr. Mita and Ms. Gray speak with Ms. Tamachi.

三田: ねえ、田町さん、いつも服(ふく)のセンスがいいね。きょう着(き)ているジャケットも田町さんにぴったりだよ。

グレイ: うん。私(わたし)もいつもそう思(おも)っているの。

田町: また、そんふうにごまをすって。何(なに)か頼(たの)みたいんでしょう? どういう仕事(しごと)?

グレイ: ばれたか。…実(じつ)は、見積(みつ)もりの計算 (けいさん)、田町さんにお願(ねが)いしたいんだけど、いい? すごく複雑(ふくざつ)なの。

三田: 田町さん、いつも計算が1回(いっかい)でぴったり合(あ)うでしょう?ぼくなんか3回(さんかい)やって全部(ぜんぶ)違(ちが)うこともあるんだ。

田町: そんなことじゃないかと思(おも)った。じゃ、私(わたし)がやるから、そこに置(お)いといて。

グレイ: ほんと! ありがとう! こういう仕事(しごと)は田町さんにぴったりだと思っていたんだ。じゃ、お願いね。[二人はたちさる]

田町: [ひとりごと]ああ、私にぴったりの仕事があるのは、とてもうれしいことだけど、私にぴったりの相手(あいて)とはなかなか出会(であ)えないなあ…。

Mita: Hey, Ms. Tamachi, you have great taste in clothes. The jacket you are wearing today suits you perfectly.

Gray: Yeah. I think so, too.

Tamachi: You two always butter me up this way. You want to ask me to do some extra work, right? What kind of work?

Gray: Oh, you got us. To tell the truth, we wanted to ask you to calculate this estimate. Is that OK? It’s very complicated.

Mita: Your calculations are always exact. As for me, I tried to figure it out three times and all my calculations were wrong.

Tamachi: I guessed as much. OK, I’ll do it, please leave it with me.

Mita: Really? Thank you! I was thinking this kind of work is just right for you. Alright, I’ll leave it to you. [They walk away.]

Tamachi: [To herself] It’s lucky I have a job that is just right for me, but I still can’t find a good man that’s just right for me.

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