Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

For example, if I were in a situation where I said something and it was misunderstood (maybe because of bad Japanese), what would be the best way to attempt to correct myself?
In English one could say, "Sorry, I meant ..."

e.g., Saying, 「これは兄がもらった贈り物だ」(This is the present my brother got) when you meant, 「これは兄もらった贈り物だ」(This is the present I got from my brother), and you want to tell them this correction after the other party has replied.

What would be the equivalent phrase to use when correcting somebody else?
In English it could be, "Did you mean ... ?" or, "I think you mean ..."

e.g., Someone says to you, 「これは兄が私に上げた贈り物だ」 and you want to correct them to say, 「これは兄がくれた贈り物だ」 (presuming they didn't know they made this mistake)

share|improve this question
Could you maybe give a specific example of the sort of mistake you want to correct? It seems like this question is too broad without it. – virmaior May 11 '14 at 16:06
I added some examples that might or might not be artificial – 小太郎 May 12 '14 at 8:27
up vote 5 down vote accepted

For the second sort of grammar correction, I go with:

もしかしたら、「correct or what I imagine to be correct thing」でしょうか。

For the first type:

すみません、「what I meant to say」と言いたかったんです。

If what I said wound up being rude:

失礼いたしました。違うこと、「correct thing」、と言いたかったんです。

share|improve this answer

I often just use/hear じゃなくて〜.


Also, I know of [元]{もと}へ, but I don't know how much it's actually used. Here's an example my dictionary gives.

次の計算問題は22プラス12…元へマイナス12です → The next problem in calculation is 22 plus 12... no, [I take that back / correction] ─ (I mean) minus 12.

I also seem to remember hearing 改めて(言う)... from some people, but I might be making that up.

share|improve this answer
元へ >> 少なくとも現代は、通常、「もとい」って言います。(書くときは平仮名で) – user1016 May 12 '14 at 16:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.