Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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506 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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1answer
182 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
160 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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1answer
512 views

When the agent takes を in the causative form

I've seen a few sets of terminology when referring to the causative form, so for the basic case, I will use the following: instigator が agent に 〇〇 を v-させる。 In its most basic, text-book form, we have ...
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1answer
214 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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2answers
351 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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75 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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3answers
161 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
218 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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3answers
580 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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4answers
957 views

What is the correct usage of 承知しました, 了解です and かしこまりました, the more formal forms of 分かる?

At work, it is wrong to simply say 分かる to say that you understand something. In what situation should I opt to use one of the previously mentioned forms?
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4answers
817 views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
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1answer
171 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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1answer
172 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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3answers
623 views

What is the appropriate size of hiragana in proportion to kanji?

I remember being told that hiragana should be the same size as kanji when writing them by hand. However, there are times when I see handwritten kana that are much smaller than the kanji. Does this ...
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3answers
367 views

Does うるさい have a “negative” connotation?

Is it true that when someone uses the word うるさい, it means that there is a feeling of "discontent" ? Like for example, we will take this sentence: "It will be noisy in the factory" "It will be ...
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1answer
382 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
146 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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1answer
163 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
91 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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1answer
973 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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2answers
256 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
187 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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429 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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1answer
170 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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2answers
350 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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2answers
489 views

ご~いただけます vs. ご~になれます

I know that you can use ご~いただく toward "clients" (which is something I've never really understood; maybe better as a question of its own) such as ご来店いただき、まことにありがとうございます ("Thank you (customer) for ...
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1answer
303 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
162 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
137 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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1answer
311 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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443 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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227 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
611 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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1answer
155 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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121 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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2answers
258 views

餌食 vs 獲物​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 餌食{えじき} and 獲物{えもの}? Both mean "prey", so how do we decide when to use which? What is the difference in their nuances?
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1answer
428 views

How to hope something is going well?

I would like to hope that someone's small business is going well. I know if someone's business is going well they can say: 「店は繁盛している」 but, how can I say "I hope your store is prosperous/I hope ...
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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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394 views

What's the difference between どうして and どうやって?

I've read on Stack Exchange that どうやって can be used to mean "what did you do in order to x" どうやってお医者になったか? — What did you do in order to become a doctor? This definition makes a lot of sense to ...
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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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1answer
177 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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1answer
222 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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When is it appropriate to use お疲れ様 (otsukaresama)?

I know the general meaning of using お疲れ様です/でした to express gratitude for some work, but I'm a bit fuzzy about appropriate times to use it. I know it is a common saying when leaving for the day, and ...
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What is the difference between 大事 (daiji) and 大切 (taisetsu)?

These are two words that seem like they are basically interchangeable at most levels, as they generally are. The difference between them appears to be small, but what is the difference, if one exists? ...
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2answers
648 views

Can placements of adverbs be altered freely?

I'm curious if there is any difference in nuance between these two sentences: 彼は少なくとも週に一度車を洗う。 彼は週に少なくとも一度車を洗う。 I'm aware that grammatically speaking both are 100% right, but this question is not ...
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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
242 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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1answer
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 ...