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<< kurai | kurai.....wanai >>

くらい、ぐらい (位) [くらい、ぐらい] (kurai, gurai)
    Meaning: to the extent that; so ~ that ~ almost ~; at least; the only ~; rather than ~
    Example: It's so warm this evening that we (almost) don't need a heater.
    JLPT Level: 3
    Category: grammar
    Author: rubyhatchet

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
This grammar does exist on another page, but I believe the old page did not include enough of the other possible meanings in English, and I did not want to heavily edit the old grammar page. 
[kurai / くらい] with a negative predicate indicates a superlative. (Mr. Yamada is the most forgetful.)

It also expresses the idea of "at least." ]くらい in this use implies that the degree of a state is such that one cannot expect much more than X from that state.

Sのは]くらいのものだ expresses the idea that the speaker cannot think of anyone or anything else but ] that meets the description in S. In other words, ] meets the description in S to the highest degree among those the speaker can think of.

V1くらいならV2ほうがましだ expresses the idea the one would rather V2 than V1.
A related is expression is hodo. This can replace くらい *sometimes,* such as in examples #6081, #6082, and #6083. 

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ex #6081   今晩は暖かいので、ストーブが要らないくらいだ。  
It's so warm this evening that we (almost) don't need a heater.  
ex #6082   私たちは一歩も歩けないくらい疲れていた。  
We were so tired that we couldn't take a single step.  
ex #6083   山田さんくらい物を忘れる人はいない。 
There's no one as forgetful as Yamada (who forgets things as much as Yamada).  
ex #6084   私は料理は下手ですが、ご飯くらい(は)炊けます。  
I'm a poor cook, but I can at least cook rice.  
ex #6085   今この仕事が出来るのは彼くらいのものだ。  
He's the only person who can do this job now. (The person who's capable enough to do this job is he.)  
ex #6086   そんなことをするくらいなら、死んだほうがましだ。 
I would rather die than do such a thing.  
ex #6137   合格の知らせを受け取ったときは、うれしくて、踊りあがったくらいだ。 
When I received the notice that I had passed, I was so happy that I almost leaped for joy.  

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pupurundoes matter which one you use, or are くらい and ぐらい interchangable? 
rubyhatchetpupurun, it doesn't matter. Both mean the exact same thing. It just depends on your preference. 
karekorahow is it different to hodo? is it that literally, kurai='this little' and hodo='this much'?? 
tigertI think this grammar point is a little misleading, くらい、ぐらい means approximately, about, almost. it is used to state unspacific amounts of what comes before it. it does not carry a meaning of minimal amount, rather than, so〜that,the least or the only.

I think that you need to look at other sections of each of the examples to understand their true meaning.

#6085 does not translate to he is the only one. if you wanted to say he is the only or no one else could do the job, you would say.
今この仕事ができるのは 彼だけです。 

because you use ぐらい your saying that if it wasn`t someone that has about as much (unidentified ablility) as he does they couldn`t do the job.

The next example #6086

the real operator in the sentence is the last part. ”ほうがました” and くらい is not nessasary to hold the meaning I would rather die than do such a thing. そんなことするなら already has the meaning.

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