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Spawned from What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?; I started thinking about ~かける. Don't these essentially mean the same thing? I'm failing to see any difference except that maybe ~かける doesn't necessarily have a negative nuance to it.

  • 食べかけたリンゴ → An apple I started eating
  • 食べっぱなしのリンゴ → ??? (is it even grammatical; or used?)

  • やりかけた → Started but not finished (?)
  • やりっぱなし → Unfinished, incomplete
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Isn't the emphasis what makes the difference? ~かける for having been started (yet unfinished), and っぱなし for the state of something being unchanged for an amount of time. – Chris Harris Jun 14 '12 at 4:34
食べっぱなし sounds to me like you don't clear the table after eating, like...食べたまま、ほったらかし(にしている). Likewise やりっぱなし sounds to me like やったまま、ほったらかし and you don't do '片づけ' after doing something. – user1016 Jun 14 '12 at 8:17
up vote 6 down vote accepted

As Chocolate suggests, one difference is that かけ implies that the activity is not completed, whereas ぱなし means that the activity is completed, and as a result, some negative situation (messed up, etc.) is left.

やりかけた 'had started working on something (but have not completed)'
やりっぱなし 'completed doing something, (and have not cleaned/put away the tools after it)'

食べかけたりんご 'an apple I have started eating (but have not eaten up)'

食べっぱなしのりんご is very strange because, if you complete eating it, there should not be anything to talk about regarding the situation of the apple that had disappeared. You can talk about a dish (that had the apple on it) not being put away, or a table on which such dish is left, but then, the sentence should be


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Do you mean "there should not be any discussion regarding the remains of the apple left in a particular situation"? – Chris Harris Jun 14 '12 at 15:44
@Chris Your comment reminded me that my explanation was not good. I edited it. – user458 Jun 14 '12 at 15:53
It seems much more clear now :) – Chris Harris Jun 14 '12 at 15:58
食べっぱなしのりんご somehow reminded me of a grin without a cat. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 18 '12 at 13:01

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