We're doing our best to prepare for, and hopefully, to help you prepare for the 日本語能力試験１級, but please remember: 1級, by its very nature, consists of grammar that is difficult, highly nuanced, and most of the time, rarely used in regular conversations. That's why it's important that you use our posts as references, to be compared with other study sources, and even more important that you CHECK THE COMMENTS after each post. We're lucky to receive corrections and clarifications from native speakers and other foreigners more knowledgeable than we, and they don't always make it back into the body of the post. Thanks, and 頑張って！
1級 Grammar 11-15:
Rerunning points 11-15, revised explanations and examples, hopefully less half-assed and more accurate than before.
~ no sooner... than
~ as soon as
There are two things that seem to separate 「が早いか」 from similar ２級 points 「かと思うと」 and 「～か～ないかのうちに」. First, all of the book's examples for 「が早いか」 describe things that occur in an objectively short time span:
"As soon as she heard the news, she turned pale."
"As soon as the bell rang, the kids cleared their desks and left."
"As soon as my son had stuck his head in the door and said 「ただ今」, he dropped his backpack and ran off to play."
You can literally imagine all of these things happening in a matter of a few seconds, while the old examples for 「かと思うと」include "Christmas has just ended and it's already New Years." Or "As soon as I finish this job, the boss will give me another one." for 「～か～ないかのうちに.」 I get the sense that the old grammar points lend themselves better to subjective ideas of how fast time has passed. 「が早いか」 seems designed for things that can be objectively established as happening almost at once.
Second, according to the book sentences that include 「が早いか」 end, most often, with verbs in the past tense. The others are not so restricted.
You use it by adding it onto the dictionary form of a verb.
~ as many as
~ more than
「か らある」 gets defined as 「もある」, to be used especially in cases when you want to emphasize how large the number is, relatively of course. It seems straightforward enough.
~ to have a tendency to
I don't know whether or not it's related, but the fact that 「きらい」 is a part of this grammar point makes it easier to remember that it's only used to express a negative judgement about that tendency. Also, it's not used to talk about things like "a tendency to get sick," or a "tendency to miss work" (use ～がちだ for those), but for talking about the essential nature of a person.
Often used in the same sentence as phrases like 「ともとすると」 and 「とかく。」 Use it with the dictionary form of a verb, of following a noun + の.
14. ～極まる ・ ～極まりない
We've talked about 極める in our other posts. It means "to take something to the extreme," and can be used to talk about "mastering," or "perfecting" something. In this case, it only gets used negatively, and only shows up in writing, according to the book. It expresses a very STRONG judgement.
極まりない is like a stronger version of 「嫌だ,」 or 「不愉快だ.」 It expresses the same idea.
The format for it is : （な形容詞 ・ 名詞１）＋極まる＋名詞２
or: （な形容詞 ・ 名詞１）＋極まる ・ 極まりない (and you can end the clause here, or add another めいし）.
This ones a bit hard, so here are some book examples.
I tried to read that book, but the story was so extremely cliche that I was disappointed.
Crossing the tracks while the train is approaching is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
15. ～ごとき ・ ～ごとく
名詞 （with or withoutの）+ ごとき + 名詞
名詞 ＋ ごとく ＋（形容詞・動詞）