A set phrase used commonly in the Japanese language

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17
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1answer
2k views

Can you say “half hour” or must you say “30 minutes”?

I know that to say an hour and a half you can say 一時間半, but is it possible to express simply half an hour even though the counter comes before 半? Or would you just have to say 三十分? If both ways are ...
15
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1answer
534 views

Temperature abbreviations?

A certain dialog in my book has a man describing the symptoms of his cold to the doctor. It reads thus: 医者:熱はありますか。 ...
14
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1answer
391 views

What does 窓という窓 mean?

What does 窓という窓 mean? I found it in this sentence in Harry Potter: 木の扉に寄りかかってホグワーツを見上げると、窓という窓が夕日に照らされて赤くキラキラ輝いている。
13
votes
1answer
927 views

How should one respond to “お大事に”?

I came across a situation where I went to a volunteer class wearing a mask since I have a cough. My sensei told me "お大事に", and I did not know what to reply. In this case, should I just say "はい"? Or ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between 「いけない」 and 「いかない」?

I've just learned that ~わけにはいけない as in 断{ことわ}るわけにはいけない ("I can't refuse") apparently isn't valid but ~わけにはいかない is, even though I've been using the former frequently. But what is the difference ...
13
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1answer
251 views

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」? I used to always read 「この辺{へん}」as 「この辺{あたり}」 as I thought it would be confused with 「変{へん}」 but it apparently is different.
13
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1answer
622 views

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」?

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」, all seemingly meaning "well" in English? Someone said that I should use 「よく」 rather than 「うまく」 in the following sentence. Can anyone explain why? ...
12
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3answers
820 views

When and to whom should I use the expression ご苦労様 (gokurousama)?

In what context and relationship wise to who can I safely say ご苦労様 (gokurousama)? I often defer to using otsukaresama since I'm not sure if I'm talking down to someone by saying gokurousama. Please ...
10
votes
6answers
543 views

Greeting a person over the internet

So I was wondering, how do japanese people greet each other when they are, for example, writing on a blog or recording a video? My doubt comes from the fact that their greetings will be directed ...
10
votes
1answer
514 views

How to use ~に同意する to agree or disagree with a person?

A couple of times I've tried to say "I agree with..." or "he agrees with..." but I don't know whether I'm using 同意{どうい}する correctly. In what ways should に同意{どうい}している be used? Also, which particles ...
9
votes
8answers
732 views

How to say “What's it to you?” in Japanese?

What would be appropriate expressions or idioms to convey the typical English response: What's it to you? (in a sense that goes somewhere between "None of your business" and "This is not your ...
9
votes
1answer
323 views

How do you express “try”?

I know that -てみる can mean "try", but my understanding of it is that it means "try it and see what it's like" or "give it a try". But is there a way of expressing "try" that emphasizes that effort was ...
9
votes
2answers
188 views

How would one express an opinion from the perspective of an inclusive group?

Often times, it is common for a speaker to make an assertion or opinion based upon a (ethnic or social) group to which they belong. In English it is common to use prefixes like "we" or "us" to ...
8
votes
3answers
270 views

Explanation of the expression 気が済まない

A: 百均に入ると、何もいらなくても何か買わないと気が済まない人っているんだよね。 B: いるいる。僕だよ。 A: At the dollar store, there is always somebody who has to buy something even if they don't need it. B: Yes, yes! That's me. ...
8
votes
3answers
426 views

What is the difference between {出来る限り} and {出来るだけ}?

EDICT gives almost similar translation for these two expressions: 出来る限り; できる限り 【できるかぎり】 (n) as ... as one can できるだけ 《出来るだけ》 (exp) (uk) as much as one can; as much as possible; if at all ...
8
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4answers
421 views

word search: voluntary pause between desire and action

Some years ago, I read that Japanese has a word (or idiomatic expression) that means roughly: The action of voluntary interposing a pause between the moment you desire something and the moment you ...
8
votes
2answers
414 views

What is the etymology of お陰で/おかげで and how does the expression relate to the kanji?

If おかげで / "okagede" is an expression that means thanks to ...;  owing to ...;  because of ...; and the correct (?) kanji that this expression derived from is 陰 as in お陰で which by ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use 早速ですが

I usually hear 早速ですが used as a phrase in the office. After looking on examples in the net, it somehow mean "Well then" in English. Is the phrase just the same as "じゃ" or "では"? For example: ...
7
votes
2answers
354 views

How to say “open Pandora's box” in Japanese?

How to say "open Pandora's box" in Japanese? Ex.: When I asked Jane about her problems, I didn't know I had opened Pandora's box. What kind of Pandora's box do we open if we decide not ...
7
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2answers
324 views

Saying “as if to say” - What's happened to 言う in と言わんばかりに?

Can you help breakdown 言わん? 彼女は当たり前と言わんばかりに答えた She answered as if it was a matter of fact. Are these incorrect, have different meanings? 彼女は当たり前と言うばかりに答えた 彼女は当たり前なことばかりに答えた ...
7
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1answer
362 views

must/need [必要]{ひつよう}がある vs. なくてはいけない and [必要]{ひつよう}だ vs. [要]{い}る

This is a two part question, both pertaining to expressions involving "必要". What is the difference between 必要がある and -なくてはいけない/ -なければならない? The difference between the latter two expressions is ...
7
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2answers
259 views

Is ほんの一瞬【いっしゅん】だけ redundant?

When using the phrase ほんの一瞬, I somehow feel compelled to insert だけ afterwards. This seems to be somewhat common (over one million hits for "ほんの一瞬だけ" on Google), but does it seem silly in terms of ...
7
votes
1answer
175 views

こんにばんは as a greeting

I just had someone say this to me. I'm pretty sure I know what it means already but I came here to confirm if I'm correct or not. こんにばんは is a combination of こんにちは and こんばんは. こんにちは is what you would ...
7
votes
1answer
439 views

Correct usage of ばかり

On a certain online correction site, my sentence: 正直に言うと、最近アメリカのドラマを観ていたばかり。 Was given many possibilities. Some people crossed out 「ばかり」 like 「観ていたばかり」 in the following sentences so I'm inclined ...
7
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1answer
191 views

Is "あら” a feminine expression? Can I use it as a guy?

あら as in the expression of surprise like "oh my".
7
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1answer
298 views

What is the literal meaning of  ”いいかげんにしろ!”?

Some translations for the expression いいかげんにしろ! are: that's enough!;  cut it out!;  get a life! If the correct kanji of this expression is 好い加減, what is the literal meaning of both 好い and 加減 in ...
7
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1answer
177 views

Does 換骨奪胎 have negative connotation?

I looked at several online dictionaries, all of which didn't seem to me that the expression doesn't have negative sense by definition. However the book I'm reading makes me feel the author implies ...
7
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1answer
130 views

The expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く

What is the logic behind the similar sounding expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く? Are they idioms? Apple dictionary lists these examples: 後へ引く もう後へは引けない 'It's too late to turn back now.' 'We're in ...
6
votes
3answers
500 views

What exactly does この通{とお}りmean?

I know that その通り can mean "Exactly" or "That's right". But I was watching an anime (Samurai 7) and heard one of the characters say "この通り" and something else right afterwards which I didn't catch. For ...
6
votes
2answers
449 views

My friend said she says “やる時やる.” a lot. What's the translation to english?

やる時{とき}やるじゃん! (Yaru toki yaru jan!) I think the meaning is something like "When you want to do something, you do it". Or maybe, "When you are about to do something, you just do it." This is a ...
6
votes
3answers
424 views

Sorry, I wasn't listening

What is the Japanese expression for: Sorry, I wasn't listening For example, for when you're asked a question and realize that you have no idea what it's about as you've been thinking about ...
6
votes
1answer
277 views

Translation of 「そんなことない」

What is a correct translation for 「そんなことない」 and when can it be used? I understand the "this is wrong"/"this is not correct" general sense but is this considered either as harsh or a gentle way of ...
6
votes
2answers
456 views

“Boo” equivalent in Japanese?

Is there a disappointed or sad "boo" equivalent in Japanese? Kind of like: Person 1: "Hey man, can I borrow 10 dollars?" Person 2: "Nah I don't have any change." Person1: "Boo, now I don't have ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

How can I express “you make a…/you'd make for a…”?

Do you know the English expression, "you make a"? It's pretty simple: You make a fine wife. It might be more correct as You'd make for a... but they're tenses are different then. I could ...
6
votes
3answers
572 views

Japanese equivalent of “Thanks anyway.”?

In English, "thanks anyway" is a common way of acknowledging the other person's effort/attention even though the end result wasn't satisfactory to the person doing the thanking. For example: ...
5
votes
2answers
564 views

How to say don't tire/wear yourself out?

I guess there is a slight/subtle difference between the two, but also wondering what is the preferred/acceptable way to express this to someone who is a good friend (not just an acquaintance). Ideally ...
5
votes
3answers
364 views

Is it normal to use ただいま in situations other than ただいま戻【もど】りました?

By itself, I would say that 「ただいま」 means something like "just now". I've used it a few times in sentences like this, but it feels somewhat awkward, as I am always reminded of ただいま戻【もど】りました. So, for ...
5
votes
3answers
418 views

What does 「ハイきた。」 mean?

Also seen as 「ハイきたぁ~!」. Maybe it's used between young people. It seems to express the idea that you have achieved your expectations, or something like that. I hope someone can explain it better. ...
5
votes
1answer
253 views

Is それが人生{じんせい} , 仕様{しよう}が無{な}い, or something else the most natural equivalent to “that's life”, “c'est la vie”, etc?

For years I have been saying それが人生{じんせい} in Japanese to mean "such is life" / "c'est la vie". In fact English has a few other ways to express the same thing, and so do the other European languages I ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

Is わくわく waku waku a feminine expression?

I tried using this expression but a friend of mine who lives in Japan said it is feminine. I tried searching about this online but couldn't find any indication that it is. Is it really feminine? if it ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

Does the expression 抱えて生きている always imply a situation with negative aspects?

I was studying the expression 抱えて生きている (literally "living while holding"?), and have found the best English equivalent to be "having to live with." In the English expression, the "thing" that one has ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

how can I say “what about…?” in Japanese?

I was writing to my japanese friends, and I got some doubts. Hope it wasn't asked here before. How can I express "what about ..." in Japanese? Particularly: What about having some breaks? What ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

Is using 笑 to mean “lol” feminine or gender-neutral?

On Facebook, you see 笑 getting used a decent amount to mean "lol". To my American eyes, using something that literally means "smile" - and even looks semi-subconsciously kind of like an advanced ...
5
votes
2answers
408 views

What is that expression used to generally mean “…is what I would say, but…”?

Forgive me if this is a bit anecdotal, but I often hear a sentence pattern in speech which basically is of the form "[statement]...is what I would/want to say, but..." I usually hear this when the ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

How do you use 「どうか」 to mean please?

Sorry for the beginner question! I came across the vocabulary 「どうか(ください」. Could you please give an example of it's use? Thank you in advance!
5
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2answers
502 views

Meaning of ありじゃないかなぁ

I was asking if something is possible or not, and received the "ありじゃないかなぁ" answer below. I had never heard this expression, is my translation correct? Q: 独習×ゲーム的なソーシャルウェブサイトは可能ですか? A: ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How to thank somebody for their hospitality?

Having been on the receiving end of Japanese hospitality quite a bit in the past week, I'd like to know the best way to thank people for it in Japanese. I've found several words for "hospitality" but ...
4
votes
2answers
195 views

Meaning of 気負わずに奮ってご参加ください

What does 気負わずに奮ってご参加ください mean? Is it like 気軽にご参加ください? Context: an event information page announcing pre-requisites for attendance: 前提知識 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How and when to use せや and its variants in Kansai-ben?

Here in Kansai I hear せや, せやねん, and せやな everywhere. I was wondering if anyone could clarify the meaning and usage of these, as well as their equivalent in more standard Japanese? Additionally, are ...
4
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1answer
179 views

Meaning and spelling of1対1で対応

In a recent email conversation, an acquaintance used the expression: 1対1で対応するそれは、大変だね。 Although I can vaguely infer the meaning of the expression 1対1で対応する (いちたいでたいおう), I am having a hard time ...