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The four of ちゃんと, きちんと, きっちり and ぴったり all seem to mean something like "perfectly", "precisely" or "exactly", and there seems to be a lot of similarity between their definitions.

Daijisen says that all three of ちゃんと, きちんと and きっちり can mean something like "without disorder and well arranged" and きっちり and ぴったり "without deviation", but I think they're used in different ways.

I think just from the way I've seen them used that ちゃんと might often, though not always, be close to "(do something) the way you're supposed/expected to", きちんとした "spotless", きちんと "to the letter", きっちり "firmly" and ぴったり "(suits) perfectly"/"perfect (match for)", but I'm not really confident and I don't have sources to back it up.

What is the difference between them and how do their usages differ?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The first two are used in contexts like: "do it properly."

ちゃんと手を洗ってください

きちんと部屋を掃除してください。

To me, it seems that きちんと implies more concentration/involvement. The result is cleaner, more polished. Thus, ちゃんとできた would be "I did it as required", while きちんとできた would be "Not only did I do it as required, but I also paid attention to every detail."

The last one is used to express a perfect fit.

このズボンがぴったり合う

I've never used/noticed きっちり, so I won't discuss it.

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きっちり is a colloquial form of きちんと but has a flavor of Kansai dialect. google.co.jp/url?url=http://www.youtube.com/… –  sawa Jun 29 '12 at 11:02

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