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Although both means repair, but I am not able to understand the differences between them.
Is it that, when human efforts are involved in repair its called 直す and when it is being repaired by any other means is called 修理

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are many, many examples of this kind. There are always different ways of saying the same thing. The 漢語 (Chinese-derived word) plus する verb is often the more formal version, whereas the simple native Japanese word is less formal. When comparing 車を直す and 車を修理する, 直す and 修理する both mean "to repair", but the latter sounds a tad more technical, but probably only because it is more formal. It's something like

車を修理する
to perform a car maintenance operation

車を直す
to repair the car

but both can involve human efforts. In general, however, なおす means more than just 修理する:

[椅子]{いす}を直してください
Put the chair back where it was.

病気を[治]{なお}す
to cure an ailment

作り直す
to remake

この文章を直してください
Please correct this sentence.

(See Tsuyoshi Ito's comment below.)

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2  
I would add that this is very similar to English. A lot of Latin derived words are the equivalent if jukugo (of Chinese origin). –  Jade Nov 2 '12 at 13:26
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I am afraid that this answer is either misleading or incorrect. 修理する has a more specific meaning than 直す, and it is not just a more formal way of saying the same thing. For example, we can say 間違った答えを直す (correct a wrong answer), but we cannot say 間違った答えを修理する. (See also istrasci’s answer.) This happens in many cases: native Japanese words tend to have a more general meaning and be less formal, and Sino-Japanese words tend to have a more specific meaning and be more formal. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 11 '12 at 21:45
    
@TsuyoshiIto There was just a question about this (with an answer from you) about whether 物 and 者 are different words. I hope you agree that 修理する and 直す are very close in meaning, when one compares 車を直す and 車を修理する. (In the sense that 車を直す often just means 車を修理する.) But of course 直す can mean much more, which I tried to hint at by mentioning 治す. I guess, you are right, though, in that なおす, even written as 直す, means more than 修理する. I'll edit my answer a little. –  Earthliŋ Dec 12 '12 at 2:36
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Slightly off topic, but isn't the chair example Kansaiben? I always thought that 直す used to mean 片付ける was Kansaiben? –  Jeemusu Dec 12 '12 at 7:17
    
@Jeemusu I guess you are right. I was trying to come up with an example that came close to EDICT's definition "(4) to replace/to put back as it was". But people from 関東 seem to use 直す in a narrower sense (closer to 修理する) than people from 関西 (or 九州), who use it an all sorts of ways, including 片付ける, which probably comes closer to 直す as "to straighten". –  Earthliŋ Dec 12 '12 at 7:40

直す is a verb, and 修理 is a noun.

修理 can be made into a verb by adding する, as in 修理する, or into an adjective by adding , but it's still a noun at heart. Likewise, 直す can also be made into a noun by adding こと, but it is still a verb. Just because a language allows you to modify words into different forms shouldn't trick you into thinking they are the same thing. They have different grammatical purposes and usages.

So 直す is "to fix", whereas 修理 is "a repair".

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修理 means "fix/repair" and almost, if not always refers to fixing something that is physically broken.

直す can also mean "fix" as in something broken, but has more metaphorical uses. "Fix" as in correct a mistake (often seen as a compound verb 〜なおす: 書き直す to rewrite); "fix" as in straighten out, put right, etc.; "Fix" as in change/alter (a plan, etc.)

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