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I originally learnt 引っ越す to mean "to move house", but my textbook recently told me "移る" was also "to move house".
Flaw also mentioned that 引っ越しする meant that too in chat, but that just looks like stem+する of 引っ越す, aka kind of politer.

What are the differences between these words? What are some situations when they are used over one another?

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There is also 移住する. –  Earthliŋ Jun 27 '13 at 0:46
    
And also 転居 . –  istrasci Jun 27 '13 at 15:01
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

移る is general movement from one area to another and is not limited to housing situations. It can be for houses, but you can use it in a variety of other ways. This is shown in the following definition and examples:

移る

(1)人や物が、ある所から別の所へ動く。移動する。移転する。
「本船からボートに―・る」「大阪から京都へ―・る」「住まいを―・る」

Notice the connection to 移動 (physical movement) as well as to 移転 (which means something closer to "moving" in the housing sense).

As for 引っ越す and 引越しする, they are the same thing. I'm even having a hard time googling it because google treats them as exactly the same word. I assume they are 100% interchangeable, and they deal exclusively with "moving" as you describe it. I suppose I would agree that in polite speech you are more likely to hear 引越しする rather than 引っ越す, however I don't necessarily think that 引っ越す would be seen as impolite. I could be wrong but I feel it's more just a matter of convention there.

Edit: I asked around a little bit and got this comment from a native regarding the difference;

状況で変わったリしない
まったくおなじにつかえる
引っ越されたも十分丁寧にかんじる
引っ越しされたと同じだと思う
ただ、自分のことを話す場合は
引越しました。よりは
引越しをいたしましたが丁寧
でも引越しましたも失礼じゃないし普通に敬語だとおもう

So basically this person agrees that they are basically the same, that it might be more common in polite speech to use 引越しする but that 引っ越す is not impolite. However when speaking about yourself using a humble 引越しを致します is more polite, but at that point it's ambiguous as to whether it's using noun 引越し+いたす or the humble form with 引っ越す.

And to touch on @Earthling's comment, I associate 移住 more with migration than I do with moving houses, as in the word 移住民. There's much more of a sense of uprooting yourself and going somewhere far and new as opposed to moving across town.

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I just mentioned 移住, because 移住 is for example used for people moving from "mainland" Japan to Okinawa, which in English would probably still qualify as "moving" rather than emigration. Regarding 引っ越す and 引越しする, I hear 引越し often in the polite form 引越しされたんですか, which seems to be favoured over 引っ越されたんですか. –  Earthliŋ Jun 27 '13 at 3:04
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Not sure if this warrants a separate answer or not, but as @ssb said, 移る is a general word for "move". However, it carries additional metaphorical meanings of "moving", such as "changing"/"shifting"/"turning".

  • 話題は政治に移った → The topic of conversation moved/turned to politics
  • 次の項目に移ろう → Let's go/move on to the next item
  • 子供の関心はすぐに移る → Children's interests shift/change quickly

These meanings could not be replaced by either 引っ越す or 引っ越しする.

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