Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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297 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
135 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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125 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
88 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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159 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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205 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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147 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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263 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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157 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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126 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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290 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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328 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
221 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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512 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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142 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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113 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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148 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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430 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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92 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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220 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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157 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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696 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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208 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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375 views

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
243 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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213 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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105 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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1answer
142 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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104 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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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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192 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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574 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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273 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. ...
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343 views

What's the difference between 何【なん】 and 幾【いく】 when referring to amounts?

Is 幾 simply more literary/archaic than 何? Can 幾 only be applied to certain words whereas 何 is more versatile?
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1answer
171 views

What's the difference between 以後 and 以降

I've seen these words used in the following sentences: 以後: それ以後彼女に会っていません 以降: それ以降彼は辛い一生を送った Judging from these examples alone, I guess they have some kind of overlap. When is it appropriate to ...
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456 views

What's the difference between 広める 広げる and 広まる 広がる?

I find the difference between 「広める (他動詞) 広げる (他動詞)」 and between 「広まる (自動詞) 広がる (自動詞)」 to be complicated. Can someone explain?
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1answer
185 views

Difference in usage between exclamations: クソ vs. しまった

I apologize in advance for the possibly vulgar language, but I am asking purely from an academic perspective. My understanding is that both クソ and しまった translate roughly to the English "damn" when ...
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1answer
231 views

あくまで compared to あくまでも

I never really thought about it before; but, I'm having a hard time explaining the difference concisely, and when to use which. What are the differences in nuances between あくまで and あくまでも? When is ...
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260 views

What is the difference between [利用]{りよう}, [活用]{かつよう}, [使用]{しよう} and [用]{もち}いる?

I feel 活用 has some kind of feeling of "put to the use", as a politician would use his charm in a campaign. The other three seem confusing to me, however. What are the differences?
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161 views

What's the difference between 治す and 治る?

My dictionary says they are both cure/fix, so I am wondering what the difference is and how to use them? Is it an active/passive difference, or transitive/intransitive? Or just a subtle nuance? I ...
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1answer
114 views

What's the difference between 限界, 限り, 制限 and 限度

While 制限 seems rather straightforward, the others don't seem as easy to pinpoint to me. What are the differences, and in which cases should I one over another?
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271 views

How is 「ように」 different to just 「よう」?

When writing or reading a sentence in Japanese, does the word 「よう」 have a nuance any different to using 「ように」? For example, sentences using 「ように」: 好きなように踊ってよろしい。 落第しないように一生懸命勉強しなさい。 ...
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151 views

Difference between 延ばす and 伸ばす

As far as I can tell, they both mean something like stretch or extend. When would you use each one?
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278 views

What's the difference between 済む, 終わる, 出来る and 上がる

I've seen all four used in the context of something being finished. What's the difference between them?
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232 views

What's the difference between [勝負]{しょうぶ} and [試合]{しあい}

I've seen both refered to as "match". Is there some secondary usage or perhaps a connotation or nuance that separates the two?
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211 views

Difference between Vるのにともなって and Vるにともなって?

I've been trying to work out the usage of にともなう, にともなって, and so on, but am having difficulty understanding the difference between placing the particle の after a verb and before にともなう. One grammar ...
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3answers
166 views

Difference between 防ぐ and 予防する

What is the difference between 防ぐ and 予防する ? To me both of them seem to mean "to prevent". A Japanese person once explained to me how they are different but unfortunately I don't remember. Similar ...
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227 views

What is the difference between 有用(yuuyou) and 便利(benri)?

As far as I know both words could be used to describe usefulness/handiness/conviniency of something. What are the main differences between them? In particular, what are the use patterns for these ...
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101 views

What sort of tone/nuance does せいぜい have? Can it be sarcastic or condescending?

I understand that せいぜい has implies 'at most' or 'at best' such as: 田中:今日、8時に横浜駅ね。仕事遅くならない? 加村:大丈夫だよ。いつも通りに終わるから、せいぜい7時半までしか残業しないから。 However, in my notes I have my sensei saying that: ...