Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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925 views

How to ask for a refund?

I want to ask for a refund? For example, if I want to refund a train ticket. How do I ask the train master? I think it is not a 返品。 Do you need certain politeness?
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2answers
318 views

Any books or websites dedicated to Japanese tech/IT language?

I work in IT in Tokyo, so most of what I do doesn't require interaction with our Japanese customers, but every so often we get that one phone call where someone wants something explained, and I can ...
8
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1answer
364 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
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1answer
435 views

Nuances of “give” - あげる/与える/授ける

Can someone give some good context and scenarios for using these? Not only when to use them, but when NOT to use them as well. I know あげる is kind of the most common, but I'm just not sure of the ...
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1answer
238 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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2answers
505 views

Come to ~: ~てくる vs. ~ようになる

Can someone please explain the fine nuances of these two? Things such as: Are there conditions/restrictions of when you can use one or the other? What are the "approximate" time periods that each ...
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114 views

Does 「鳴く」 give any nuances about the sound being made?

When we say "birds singing", there is a positive connotation. When we say "birds crowing", there is a negative connotation. "The birds are making some sound" seems to be objective, and thus neutral. ...
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558 views

Does 好きな really mean “favorite”?

In books that I've come across and even in dictionaries, I've seen the word 「好きな」 translated as "favorite". I'm a little confused by this because 「好きです」 normally gets translated as "like", or in my ...
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2answers
489 views

けど vs. が for “but” conjuction

This question covers the difference between でも and けど for "but", the difference being that でも can be used at the beginning of a sentence. But けど and が are used in very much the same way, ...
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330 views

Is it actually impolite to say ご苦労様 to a superior?

Conventional ビジネスマナー tells us that ご苦労様 is used by superiors to subordinates and お疲れ様 used by everyone, and this is backed up all over the internet and stated on some questions here, like this. But ...
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711 views

To take responsibility: 責任を 取る・負う・持つ

What are the nuances between these three verbs when paired with 責任? I understand they all mean "to take responsibility", but are they interchangeable, etc? 責任を取る 責任を負う 責任を持つ 負う's definition says ...
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130 views

Can the volitional form be used when the speaker is not intending to do the action themselves?

From what I understand the volitional form is often used to mean "let's do" something, e.g. 行こう can mean "let's go". Can this form be use when the speaker themself is not going to perform the action? ...
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4answers
577 views

What's the most appropriate negative potential form for this situation?

This morning my co-worker asked me if I wanted some coffee. I said, "No thanks, I can't drink coffee because it upsets my stomach." I was thinking of how I'd say this in Japanese, but I'm not sure ...
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2answers
279 views

Is 見物{みもの} derogatory?

To say something is a 見物, does it have a derogatory nuance like we are making fun of that person / that thing? If so, is it derogatory to the extent that even if I intended it as a fun joke it seems ...
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3answers
289 views

What is the difference between “verb+て+みる” and “verb+(よ)う+とする”?

In Japanese there are words which mean "to try something or attempt at doing something", e.g. 試す, 試みる and つとめる. However, at the same time we also have two grammatical constructions "verb+て+みる" and ...
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336 views

How to sound more manly when sneaking popcorn into the cinema

OK, really esoteric question time: So I went to the cinema with a female friend on the weekend. I was going to buy some of the horrendously overpriced popcorn there, but then she said: 持ってきちゃった! ...
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431 views

What is the difference between 言うな! and 言ってんじゃねぇぞ?

1) What is the difference between 言うな! and 言ってんじゃねぇぞ!, in other words can we use them interchangeably at all times? 2) which is ruder?
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409 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 ...
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3answers
582 views

低い鼻 vs 短い鼻 and 高い鼻 vs 長い鼻 ?

After reading this thread: When would you use 低い vs 短い, I'd just thought of something. I once heard that a long nose (witch / Pinocchio) is called 高い鼻 and not 長い鼻 whereas the opposite (short nose) is ...
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136 views

What is the difference in usage between [問]{と}い[合]{あ}わせ and [依]{い}[頼]{らい}

Both 問い合わせ and 依頼 can mean to ask, but my co-workers are using both words in the application we are working on as if they are two different words. I have a suspicion one is transitive and one is ...
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2answers
546 views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊 tokushu and 特別 tokubetsu? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特別な tokubetsu na + [noun] 特殊な tokushu na ...
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165 views

(Ordering food) difference between なし and 抜き

What is the difference between endings なし and 抜【ぬ】き when you want to exclude a certain ingredient from food? Aside from 凍【こお】りなし when ordering soft drinks, I thought that for most other things 抜【ぬ】き ...
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564 views

Difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います, 頂けませんか, and 頂きたいんですけども

I've recently started using the expression 頂ければと思います, but I'm not 100% sure about its precise nuance. Is there any difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います 頂けませんか 頂きたいんですけども? To my non-native ear, ...
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455 views

Addressing children in Japanese

Apologies for the very vague question. I'm unsure of how I'm supposed to address and talk to children - I imagine it varies a little depending on the social situation, and in general I should avoid ...
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2answers
209 views

What is the difference between all the weather words: 気象{きしょう}, 天気{てんき} and 天候{てんこう}?

Dictionary (at least Jisho and WWWJDIC) defines them as: 気象{きしょう} = weather, climate 天気{てんき} = weather, the elements 天候{てんこう} = weather They all have quite similar definitions, so I don't quite ...
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293 views

The role of と particle in 「二度としない」

What is the role of と particle in 「二度としない」? Is it quotative, adverbialisation, change of state or supposition? Also, what extra nuances does it contribute to the expression compared to if も is used ...
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508 views

へ or に particle for 曲がる?

i was wondering what may be the difference in nuance between 右へ曲がる and 右に曲がる ? Example: Take a right turn and you'll see the library. 1) 右へ曲がると、図書館がある。 2) 右に曲がると、図書館がある。 As for [noun-location] ...
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1answer
893 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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1answer
189 views

What's the difference between 平行 and 並行?

They both seem to mean "parallel". In my プログレッシブ dictionary, it seems to point to the former being the more mathematical sense of the definition (two co-planar, non-intersecting lines), while the ...
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2answers
460 views

When is it appropriate to use ごくろうさま?

I've seen お疲れさま and ご[苦労]{くろう}さま used to say "Thank you" after some had done work of some type. After reading the お疲れさま thread, I realize that the two are not interchangeable. So when do you use ...
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1answer
1k views

How to ask person to guess for something during conversation?

I was conversing with my Japanese colleague: Me: Do you know how much a melon costs in my home country? Colleague: I do not know. Me: Take a guess. I asked him how to say take a ...
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249 views

Which particle to use with 出会う {であう} : と, に or が?

From Google searches, I can see that all three particles と, に and が are used with 出会う, but are there differences when using each of the particles or are they interchangeable? For ease of explanation, ...
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1answer
156 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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1answer
158 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
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370 views

What are the rules for the plural suffix ~ら

I came across the following in a newspaper article: 藤沢健太教授(宇宙物理学)らの研究グループ The first part (藤沢健太教授) is the name of a professor (Professor Kenta Fujisawa). The parentheses say "Astrophysics", and ...
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1answer
282 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
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1answer
271 views

What is the exact definition of 泥棒?

In English: a burglar is usually associated with someone who breaks into a house (victim is usually unaware during the burglary) a robber is usually associated with that person who uses weapons and ...
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1answer
262 views

When can どうも be used as 'hello'?

I noticed this on few occasions. Unfortunately, I can't remember exact situations. I want to clear if どうも in a role of 'hello' is a shortened version of some longer phrase or just a thing on it's ...
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1answer
307 views

What's the difference between 心, 念, and 意?

I can say that after much research on this, I'm more thoroughly confused than before I started. I'm talking mostly about when they are used as suffixes, but the concept applies when they stand alone, ...
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1answer
199 views

Can 一杯 be used to express the fullness of things without physical volumes?

According to an answer to this question, the word [一杯]{いっぱい} can be used to expess fullness; especially in relation to the capacity of whatever is containing the quantity. This, however, tends to ...
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1answer
304 views

What are the differences between すぐ、もうすぐ、すぐに?

As far as I am aware, すぐに means "immediately", but in which contexts can you use もうすぐ and すぐ? 
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1answer
273 views

What exactly is 我が家, and how is it used?

I know the phrase 我が家 means "our home" or "our family". My question is when would you use it, as opposed to say 私の家 or 私の家族? It seems poetic to me, or something that wouldn't exactly be used in ...
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326 views

(noun) です vs. がある when either is appropriate

~するつもりです ~するつもりがある ~する予定です ~する予定がある These are just two examples. Obviously you can't stick in any noun, but I don't know if these fall into some well defined class either. Anyhow, ...
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442 views

Usage of “sensei”/“先生” when the recipient is a peer?

In a professional setting, would two professors/doctors/lawyers—who would normally be addressed as "sensei"—refer to each other (as peers) using "sensei"? Note: This question used to be asking about ...
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266 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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おしまい {oshimai} vs おわり {owari}

Are there any differences between using おしまい {oshimai} and おわり {owari} to mean "the end" (both with neutral and negative connotations)? Are they always interchangeable? E.g: テスト失敗したらおわりだぜ。 ...
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236 views

Difference between 「~のない~」 and 「~がない~」?

For example, plugging these into Google, I can find stuff like, 自信のない人 and 自信がない人. Or, 愛のない生活 and 愛がない生活. I found a movie called 顔のないスパイ. How is this any different from 顔がないスパイ? I've asked ...
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3answers
785 views

What does ちがいます。 mean?

I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Can someone clear this up? Thanks.
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3answers
617 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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2answers
159 views

Difference in nuance between 証明 and 証拠?

I know that both of these words mean "proof", but I can't figure out what the difference is, or if there's any at all. Can anyone explain to me the difference in nuance between these two words?