意味. The meaning of words or phrases within certain contexts, especially when it does not seem to match the standard definition.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

11
votes
2answers
765 views

Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」

I think it's known that some intransitive verbs can take を particle and be used as transitive verbs such as for example 「私のことを分かってくれない」. While using 分かる transitively would require specific scenarios ...
11
votes
2answers
737 views

が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning

Consider these sentences: だれ{が・に}これが出来るか だれ{が・に}日本語が分からないか When both が and に are acceptable, what is their difference in meaning and practical usage?
20
votes
2answers
3k views

What connotation does なんだ add?

Specifically, in the expression 好きなんだ (I love you) why not just say 好きだ or 好きです?
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of ぬ added to 連用形 / masu-stem, as in 風立ちぬ

What does the ぬ at the end of 立ち specify? I can't find a verb that is just 立ちぬ, is this some kind of special form? Can this be done with other verbs as well? 風立ちぬ, for reference, is Miyazaki's new ...
12
votes
1answer
610 views

Passive form - The exact difference between を and が

I've seen this question asked before, but i feel the answer didn't quite answer all my questions, so here goes. Now, I am rather sure that this: ケーキが食べられた Means: The cake was eaten. (by ...
13
votes
2answers
894 views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
19
votes
2answers
8k views

Why does 今度【こんど】 mean “next time”?

The word 今度【こんど】, though its literal meaning is "this time" is in my experience used pretty heavily to refer to tbe next time or some unspecified point in the future. For example: 今度【こんど】こそ一緒【いっしょ】...
8
votes
3answers
825 views

Does さえ mean “even” in the following sentence?

I encountered the following on our daily reading. どのような企業{きぎょう}も、創業期{そうぎょうき}には全社員が昼食をとること さえ 忘れてしまうほど、忙しくフル回転していたものです。 In a business, a person was so busy that he forgot to eat lunch even ...
5
votes
2answers
469 views

What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
12
votes
1answer
584 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

います and あります usage

I just learned about: います and あります. I know I should use います for people and moving things and あります for plants and inanimate things. I have two doubts: Which one should I use with "dead body". For ...
8
votes
2answers
273 views

What is this form : Verb + はせん?

I am currently trying to read Bleach in Japanese. So far I haven't ran into any difficulty that a good dictionary cannot overcome. However in this particular scene I am puzzled by a particular scene, ...
6
votes
1answer
277 views

Meaning of ところ in アメリカのいいところ

I feel as though I understand what the below sentence means, but what I think it means makes no sense. 日本に行ったら、アメリカのいいところも発見できるかもしれないですね。 My translation: If you go to Japan, you might be able to ...
1
vote
3answers
292 views

The meaning of そう

I know when placed after a verb it means "seems like" or "looks like", but what I want to know is what the そう in そう です か means. I know そう です か means "Is that so?" but I've seen そう used with ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
13
votes
1answer
440 views

Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I don'...
10
votes
1answer
980 views

Is「うそおっしゃい」to be taken literally here?

In the video game Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, the protagonist Tingle meets a fortune teller who demonstrates her powers to him. She asks him, "You come from a far away town, right?" If ...
9
votes
3answers
696 views

に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and 2.(ホテルで)...
6
votes
2answers
659 views

What does 「なし」in 「問題なし」 mean?

I just started playing the video game Mother 3, and if you try to examine the trash can in front of his house, Lucas says, 問題なし. I expect this means something like, "no problem here", but I haven't ...
13
votes
2answers
551 views

Ups and downs: かみ・しも vs うえ・した

So, we have the kanji 上・下 which can be read as either かみ・しも or うえ・した, and as I understand it, those two are antonym pairs. But what are the differences between the two? The thesaurus isn't very ...
9
votes
5answers
995 views

Who scolded whom in Aに怒られる?

I can see that someone got mad or someone made someone else mad. The things that make it difficult are に and the られる form of 怒る. What does this mean? How do you figure out who did what in these types ...
7
votes
1answer
513 views

Is there a different meaning for ごちそうさま!

I have posted a "status" on Facebook: Dear santa, I would like for you to bring him for christmas My boyfriend commented: Your Wish is my command! And my Japanese manager (from our office) ...
7
votes
1answer
944 views

What does かの日 mean?

In my Japanese Bible, I've seen several passages that use the phrase かの日. Here are a couple. ある人たちの習慣に倣【なら】って集会を怠【なまけ】ったりせず、むしろ励【はげ】まし合いましょう。かの日が近づいているのをあなたがたは知っているのですから、ますます励【はげ】まし合おうではありませんか。...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

五年ぶり、ぶり返す、。。。What does ぶり mean?

Where does the ぶり in 五年ぶり (Five years ago?) and ぶり返す come from, does it have a kanji, and what does it mean?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of 氏 you'll find it defined as: family name; lineage; birth. However I have seen it used in such a way that it is doubtful that it means any of those ...
3
votes
1answer
312 views

でありません(でない)VS ではありません(ではない)VSでもありません(でもない)

でありません(でない) ではありません(ではない) でもありません(でもない) Can anyone tell me the differences between these three? And in what kinds of context would people use these three? Thank you.
4
votes
2answers
557 views

Meaning of 話になんない

I have a quote from this anime, FLCL: 「とにかくさ、バット振んなきゃ話になんないよ」. In the official translation it's translated as "nothing can happen until you swing the bat". Now my japanese is pretty rusty, as I ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

What does かけ mean in こわれかけのオルゴール?

If こわれかけのオルゴール was 壊れかけのオルゴール, 壊れ would be the stem of 壊れる, and かけ would probably be a noun. Since I'm just learning Japanese, I don't understand where かけ comes from. What meaning does かけ have in ...
11
votes
2answers
11k views

What does さあ (saa) mean?

I have seen this term used a lot in many different ways. 「さあ、忘れましょうその未来が」 saa, wasuremashou sono mirai ga — in this sense, I assume it means "come". But I have also seen it used as 「でもさあ」 demo saa — ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What does using という add to a sentence?

This sentence is from a grammar website: 主人公が犯人だったというのが一番面白かった。 Why is という necessary? What does it add? And what meaning is lost in writing the sentence without it? For example, as in: ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Japanese don't learn kanji meaning only readings? Does it make sense for a kanji to have a key meaning to identify it?

As I understand it works like this. By the time Japanese kids enter first grade they have more or less decent vocabulary of words they know. So when kanjis are taught I can't even imagine how to tell ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?

From a quick google search, they both refer to friend. Are they completely identical or is there any difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?
6
votes
2answers
211 views

Why does the waiter use past tense here

When I was trying to order a set meal in the restaurant, the waiter said Aランチのほうでよろしかったでしょうか I am not sure why the past tense よろしかった is used here, I personally would say Aランチのほうでよろしいでしょうか ...
16
votes
1answer
383 views

i-adjectives that end in a 〜ない which doesn't seem to be 〜無{な}い

I noticed there are many 形容詞{けいようし} (i-adjectives) that end in 〜ない, where the な is not part of the kanji, and doesn't seem to have the meaning 無い. Examples: 危{あぶ}ない means "dangerous", while 危 ...
15
votes
4answers
474 views

“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
8
votes
2answers
447 views

Meaning of 「生きるにしても死ぬにしても」

In the video game Mother 3, there is a group of beings called the Magypsy, who are rumored to be very old. While talking to humans, one of them says the following: 人間なんて生きるにしても死ぬにしても精々たった100年。 ...
7
votes
2answers
793 views

What is the difference between 得意 and 上手?

Both 上手 and 得意 seem to both mean something along the lines of "good at" or "skilled". However, I don't understand the difference (if there is one) between them. In fact, some of the sentences on jisho....
6
votes
1answer
211 views

Dictionary form of verb followed by に

I've recently begun noticing that occasionally I'll see a dictionary form of the verb followed by the particle に, for example: 1.)まだ学校へ行くには早い時間です。 It's still too early to go to school. I've been ...
6
votes
1answer
559 views

Usage (correctness) of だと after verbs

I've noticed だと showing up after verbs for a while now in various forms of media, such as blogs, anime, regular TV shows & also when speaking to Japanese people. However, I was originally told ...
6
votes
3answers
414 views

より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the ...
6
votes
3answers
203 views

The meaning of に in [切り出すに切り出せず]

I don't understand the meaning of に in this sentence: 切り出すに切り出せず、今日まできてしまいました Is 切り出すに切り出せず fashioned after some particular grammar? I can't really think of an interpretation that sounds natural....
5
votes
3answers
822 views

Is there a reliable translation of the kangxi radicals?

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on Kangxi radicals I decided to study the meaning and writing of radicals before I tackle the much more numerous kanji. But in working my way through the list, I started ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

Meaning of 言いだしっぺとして

I stumbled upon the following sentence: 言いだしっぺとして、10人がんばります! Context: a person is told to invite 10 persons, and seems to answer "言いだしっぺとして, I will try my best to get 10 persons!" What does the ...
2
votes
3answers
447 views

Word for “British”? (I don't mean “English / イギリス”)

If I were to explain the (pedantic) difference between "English" and "British", what would be the word for "British"? I might want to perform the following explanation in Japanese as in this question ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
9
votes
1answer
234 views

What does verb+とする mean?

Take the below as an example では私達は先に行くとするわ。ごきげんよう、皆さん. What is the difference between saying 行くとする and 行く and 行こうとする I've seen a lot of explanations for とする that use the meaning of "assume" ...
9
votes
2answers
413 views

どうしますか vs 何をしますか

I always interpreted 何 as "what" and "どう" as more of a "How or How about?" and thus was under the impression that if one wanted to ask "What will you do?" or "What did you do?" you would say 何をしますか ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How can 「うん」 be used to mean both “yes” and “no?”

I was told by my Japanese teacher that 「うん」 can be used as a casual way to say "yes" as well as "no." If this is true, how can you tell the difference, absent any additional information?
7
votes
1answer
324 views

What does ~たまえ mean exactly and how do you use it?

I've seen the verb 給え【たまえ】, usually written in hiragana and after the stem of another verb, ending a prhase. I'm not too sure on its meaning. I've read that it means "...please" but is that the only ...
7
votes
4answers
410 views

Why is coffee with shochu or awamori called コーヒー割{わ}り “split / divided coffee”?

About five nights ago I went out with a local friend to a traditional Okinawan club in Naha. We were of course drinking 泡盛{あわもり} (awamori) with water and ice. But the girl working there had a drink ...