Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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177 views

Difference between なり (meaning 'either.. or…') and か (meaning 'or')

I came across the construction ~なり~なり (meaning either... or...) on JGram and I saw this example: ジュースなりコーラなり、お好きなものをどうぞ juice.. cola.. have whatever you like That made me wonder what the ...
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1answer
133 views

What is the difference between 経験 and 体験?

I was wondering what the difference is between 経験 and 体験? I've come across both terms a couple of times, and I know they both mean 'experience', but what is the difference between the two? Based on ...
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261 views

Whats the difference between ぜひ and もちろん

Both mean of course, right? I always traditionally used もちろん but I increasingly seem to see ぜひ. When do you use each?
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2answers
176 views

Meaning of 過去形の動詞+上で

Lately, I've been wondering what's the meaning of past tense verb connected to 上で, like in the 3 examples below: 両親とよく相談した上で、留学することにした。 家を買う場合は、十分調べた上で、決めた方がいい。 よく考えた上で、返事をするつもりだ。 As ...
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166 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 ...
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2answers
478 views

What does it mean for the 'feel' of a sentence / text when it's written in all hiragana?

When a Japanese-language sentence is written out in all katakana, it's supposed to be either stilted, robot-like speech or something to simulate ALL CAPS. How is that with hiragana? Does it make te ...
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156 views

Nuance between でいい and でもいい

Follow up question to this one : Sentence structure and meaning About this sentence : 「ただしお前達の相手は私一人でいい。」 It seemed to me that in Tokyo Nagoya's answer, でいい sounded a lot like でもいい : " ...
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177 views

雨 pronunciations

I have a question about this character: 雨 I know each kanji has so many pronunciations, this is pronounced "ame" but it has other pronunciations, could you please tell me when to pronounce it ...
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1answer
208 views

Meaning of inversion in questions: 「何ですか、今の音は?」

I often hear questions where a phrase marked with は is moved to the end of the sentence: 今の音は何ですか? 何ですか、今の音は? I heard the second sentence above in the anime となりの関くん. A student has just ...
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344 views

Likely Sentences (Nuance in use of 〜てもらう vs Passive form)

Our professor gave us some problems where you are suppose to circle which statement the person is more likely to say. Below is an example. おまわりさん よく道を聞かれます。 よく道を聞いてもらいます。 I think this means ...
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73 views

Difference between ではダメ、いけない、ならない to end a sentence

This question came up from a previous SO post Katakana ダメ to end a sentence - emphasis? 全ての敵を倒す必要はないが、逃げてばかりではダメ。 It is not necessary to beat all enemies, but you can't run away all the time ...
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158 views

Difference between 研究所 and 研究室

What is the difference between 研究所 and 研究室? Do both mean a research institute?
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2answers
204 views

心配なく surely it should be 心配ない?

To outline the context, this is from a Legend of Zelda videogame guidebook I am translating. I'm pretty sure the meaning below is that you should not worry about not being able to control the ...
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562 views

What does 私たち imply?

I know that 私たち means "we", but in what sense? Does it simply mean the last two people talked about? Or does it always mean the speaker and the listener? So say I'm talking to Shota about Sawako, and ...
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165 views

What are the differences between 選ぶ, 選択, and 選定, if any?

In Japanese, I have encountered 3 words for selecting or making a choice (so far). 選ぶ 彼はよい奥さんを選んだ。 He chose a good wife. 選択 それでも、早期の退職を選択する人は多い。 Nevertheless, many ...
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151 views

Difference between うまい and 美味しい when talking about food

What is the difference between うまい and 美味{おい}しい when talking about food? I suppose they can be used interchangeably in most cases, but when should I prefer one to the other? I've seen a number of ...
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1answer
336 views

Difference between 家内、嫁、妻、奥さん、かみさん and other words meaning wife

I have seen and heard all these words being used before all to mean wife, but what is the differences between them? I know some, such as 家内, can only be used for your own wife, but which are which? ...
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2answers
144 views

The difference between 詳しい and 詳細 when used adverbially or adjectivally

While I know that 詳しい and 詳細 both have unique meanings, there are some cases where I am not able to tell the difference between them. Here are two I've stumbled upon: Adverbially: 我々の研究計画を詳しく述べた ...
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156 views

Nuance: Using the negated adjective versus using the opposite adjective

As far as I understand, the following two sentences functionally mean the same thing, "It's not easy" and "It's hard" やさしくないです。 むずかしいです。 My question is, do these statements have any subtle ...
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1answer
90 views

Is 「<number>回後」 equivalent to 「第<number>回」?

For example, I'm trying to make sense of the following phrase: 二回後システム When literally translated to English, becomes: Twice After System I have also encountered a similar phrase: ...
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184 views

Why sometimes people change the way they say 明日 from あした to みょうにち or あす when confirming a reservation day over the phone?

I noticed that each time I get my haircut reservation to the day after the day conversation takes place, I hear the person on the other end changing the way he or she says 明日 from あした to あす or みょうにち, ...
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229 views

Is it common to use 火を入れる when referring to a degree to which meat or any steak should be cooked?

I recently asked for a well done steak at a restaurant, while my friend asked for a medium rare. When waiter came back with two steaks, he used 「火をよく入れた方」 to let us know which one is well done. So ...
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1answer
152 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...
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1answer
281 views

Attributive form in Japanese narration

I have recently started reading novels as a means to improve my Japanese after reaching a comfortable enough level to do so. I am familiar with the use of the non-past form (dictionary form) in ...
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3answers
160 views

Is 年寄り “neutral” or “positive”?

In English, we can refer to an old person using "elderly", or "aged person". Comparatively, "aged person" would be more neutral than "elderly", which carries positive connotations. As for Japanese, ...
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2answers
134 views

Differences between verb + の verb + か and -ます/-です?

Consider these two examples: 神{かみ}を信{しん}じるの? and 神を信じますか? To me, both mean 'Do you believe in God/gods?', with the first example possibly slightly more casual than the second. Other than that, are ...
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305 views

how did 公 (こう) come to be derogatory

My dictionary says this word means something like "official; public" - how does the word go from that definition to being used as a derogatory suffix for animals and people? One example the ...
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390 views

明日: あす & あした; Is there a difference in meaning and when each is used?

Is there a difference between these two words for "tomorrow" and when each is used? (and is it just coincidence that あした sounds like the past tense of あす?) We tend to be taught あした and then discover ...
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3answers
223 views

What is the difference (if any) between these two sentences?

大学で勉強をしたいです。 大学で勉強したいです。 As far as I can tell both translate to - "I want to study at university". I'm just wondering if one sounds more 'natural' in Japanese than the other and indeed whether ...
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1answer
572 views

Does 鉄拳 mean “fist” or “iron fist”?

The kanji for 鉄拳 seems to suggest that the word means "iron fist". However, various dictionaries suggests that the meaning is simply "fist". For example, Edict shows that the meaning for 鉄拳 is ...
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150 views

What are the differences between 床, 床上, and 床の上?

I think I have an idea of the differences but I'm not sure. My goal was to say "put [something] on the floor". To me, 床{ゆか}の上 sounds the best (not that means anything). For example: 服を床の上に置きます。 The ...
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116 views

Reading of 退く meaning “Go away”

Here is a passage from my Japanese Bible 更に、悪魔はイエスを非常に高い山に連れて行き、世のすべての国々とその繁栄ぶりを見せて、「もし、ひれ伏してわたしを拝むなら、これをみんな与えよう」と言った。すると、イエスは言われた。「退け、サタン。『あなたの神である主を拝み、ただ主に仕えよ』と書いてある。」 - ...
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149 views

What makes 飯場 sensitive?

The entry for WWWJDIC lists 飯場 as a possibly sensitive word (sens). However, the definition is just construction camp; bunkhouse; workers' living quarters and it appears in 燃え尽きた地図, a novel from ...
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438 views

How are programming projects discussed in Japanese?

In English, programming projects (and large systematic projects in general) typically take their descriptive cues from well-known manufacturing/construction industry jargon, i.e. "blueprint", ...
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94 views

Can 買い食い be used for any kind of food?

Kenkyuusha defines 買{か}い食{ぐ}い as: spend one's pocket money on candy and Daijirin defines it as: (主に子供が)菓子などを自分で買って食べること。 Both of these identify 買い食い as being related to candy/sweets. Is ...
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243 views

How interchangeable are の/である/なる/たる when qualifying nouns?

So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a の. 友達のジョン → My friend John 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare) It seems ...
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1answer
166 views

How would you express “pausing to think” in Japanese?

I was wondering how would you express pausing to think in Japanese. So for example in English it would us be said as "hmmmm...". I believe あのう。。。 can be used but are there anymore ways to do so? I ...
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841 views

Japanese Buts: でも, しかし, ただ, ただし, ところが, が, けど, けれど, けれども

I'm sure someone asked a similar question but I did a search and couldn't find any. Usually I just translate everything into but, but (no pun intended) I think it's about time I got into the nitty ...
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215 views

Do native speakers think of 固い・堅い・硬い as homophones, or as the same word?

Japanese dictionaries often give distinguish among meanings for homophonous words with related meanings that have different kanji representations, such as: 固い・堅い・硬い (see, for example, the 大辞林 entry ...
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Meaning of last “te” of saki ni itte te (先に行ってて)

I always hear poeple saying     先に行ってて which means 'go ahead' But I don't really understand the meaning of the last て. I know it's the abbreviation of いて but if I translate it to English, I ...
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77 views

Why is き printed and written differently? [duplicate]

I'm just starting on my journey to learn Japanese and Hiragana, and something is puzzling me. Why is き written and printed differently. Why does the last stroke join up when printed, but is separate ...
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1answer
246 views

What is the difference between 組, 団, 班, and 群?

These four words all seem to mean "group," but what are the nuanced differences? When can a group be identified with one/some of these but not the others? How much overlap is there between them? ...
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1answer
226 views

the difference between 世界 and 世

Sometimes I see a character say この世 and I'm not sure why they don't just say この世界? Is it just an old way of saying it or is there a specific reason?
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107 views

What's the difference between 断定 and 結論

While I've only seen 結論 used in expressions like "Which conclusion do you arrive at?", I've seen both 断定 and 結論 used when saying "Don't draw a hasty conclusion". What are the differences between the ...
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159 views

The implied meaning of 気(き)

I have the following sentence: [仕事]{しごと}で[気]{き}を[遣]{つか}うことが[多]{おお}い. Which directly translates to: at work you use your 気 often. Some other translations of ki wo tsukau include, paying attention to ...
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108 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
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435 views

Is Japanese one of the Buddhist canonical languages?

The languages of oriental Buddhist traditions, be it Theravada or Mahayana, do not always provide complete and entire canonical texts. Up to now, I am aware of Pali, Chinese and Tibetan versions of ...
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195 views

What's the difference between 学科, 教科 and 科目

I've seen all three used in somewhat similar situations. What are the differences between them, and in which cases should i use one over another?
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639 views

Differences between いよいよ / やっと / ようやく / ついに and とうとう

I've come across these words which can all mean "finally". What I'd like to know is how they differ in usage [nuance and formality]. Below are their respective entries in the 研究社 新和英大辞典 第5版. いよいよ 1 ...
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294 views

How to say a double negative in Japanese

My Japanese friend asked me whether I believe in an afterlife. I wanted to say, "I don't believe, but also I don't not believe." My point is that while I do not believe, I like to keep an open mind. ...