Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: 〜に越したことはない
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 04:05:32 GMT
References: 1, 2
> > 英語ができるにこしたことはありませんが、それより大切なことは相手に対する気持ちだと思います。 (http://www.japanese-nihongo.com/experiences/74kotani2.html)
> > With 「それより」 right after 「〜にこしたことはない」, the author seems to be saying there IS something better than X (英語ができる). Is this contradictory, or am I just overthinking it?
> I have the same feeling as you about this. The possibilities I see are 1) the dictionary didn't do a very good job defining the phrase (I find this unlikely), 2) the dictinoary is slightly out of date in its definition (possible), 3) the person who wrote that sentence was sloppy, perhaps not proofreading what they had written (likely), and 4) the person who wrote that sentence doesn't understand what に越したことはない means (possible).
The answer is 2. Today 越したことは ない often means that something is good itself and there is nothing wrong about it.
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