Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

10
votes
2answers
378 views

What is the difference in usage between a plural using (a) the kanji repetition character 々, (b) a plural using -たち, and (c) the singular?

I know that there are some noun that are made plural by the kanji repetition character, such as 人々 and 国々. My question is, how does this differ from using the non-plural form of the noun? And how does ...
6
votes
1answer
179 views

の要領で as “in the same way as”/“in the manner of” vs. のように

Full text is over here. This is part of the description of how 茄子餃子{なすぎょうざ} is prepared at a particular restaurant: 天ぷらの要領で水で溶いた小麦粉をつけて中火の油で揚げる。 If の要領で was replaced by のように, would there be any ...
5
votes
1answer
274 views

What is the difference between むかしっから and むかしから?

In my book I found both むかしっから and むかしから within the span of a couple pages, in very similar contexts. What is the significance of that small-tsu (with regards to the meaning, not the pronunciation)? ...
6
votes
2answers
399 views

What's the difference between 上る、登る and 昇る?

According to jisho.org, they all have the same meanings, to climb, to rise, to ascend. Is that true? And do they have differences in usage?
7
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is -からです, and when is it used?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
7
votes
2answers
382 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
577 views

Help with the difference between causative and the causative-passive for the verb 笑う

I've always had a hard time immediately understanding the differences between passive, causative, and causative-passive. If I really sit down and try to work out the meaning I can generally get it, ...
8
votes
1answer
469 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
279 views

Difference between 一段 imperatives ~よ・~ろ

一段 verbs may be conjugated to form imperative forms of ~よ or ~ろ. For example: 見る forms either 見よ or 見ろ 食べる forms either 食べよ or 食べろ How did the two forms come about? What is the difference in ...
4
votes
1answer
229 views

What nuance brings “ですな”?

I often see ですな used in social text posts. Examples: こんにちわ、あついし、ひまですな。 いいてんきですなw A Google search for "ですな" does not show me any explanation. Here is how I understand ですな in such context: ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

How to describe the inside of one's mind?

On one page in my book, I came across 3 different phrases for, what seems to me, subtly different ways of saying the same thing. The first was: 頭の隅に Then: 脳裏に The information I was able to find ...
1
vote
1answer
652 views

[plain form]-んじゃない

When I was first learning Japanese, I learned that the explanatory form, -んです is always constructed by conjugating the verb in short form and adding -んです, and that the です part is never conjugated. But ...
3
votes
1answer
542 views

How to write “Ikigai”

I'd like to use Ikigai ("something one lives for;  purpose in life;  raison d'être") for a Calligraphy (ShoDo) work. According to Tangorin there are three possible ways to write this: 生き甲斐 生きがい ...
9
votes
2answers
388 views

What is the purpose of the suffix “さ” on adjectives?

What is the purpose of the suffix "さ" on adjectives like 美しさ and 多さ? The former is the title of an essay by Banana Yoshimoto, so I don't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as ...
6
votes
1answer
102 views

~の時 vs ~歳の時: What's the difference?

When referring to a time where one was a certain age, are there any differences in meaning, nuance or usage between saying, for example, 18の時 and 18歳の時. I always thought you needed to have the 歳, but ...
4
votes
1answer
380 views

How do I interpret this question that ends with よ?

In the 7th book of the awesome High School of the Dead, there's this page: The situation is that the main characters, a group of mostly teenagers who are surviving a zombie apocalypse, are walking ...
6
votes
1answer
252 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
348 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
245 views

Explaining cause in response to the question “why?”

Alright, lets give this another go. I'm having trouble understanding the best way to respond to someone asking "why". My study guide advised, To answer the question with "why", make a statement ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

ひらく / とじる vs. あける / しめる

The verbs ひらく and あける both mean to open, and とじる and しめる both mean to close. I understand that ひらく and とじる are antonym pairs, as are あける and しめる, but have never been clear on the difference between ...
11
votes
3answers
303 views

What is the difference between 防止 and 予防?

My dictionary defines both 防止 and 予防 as "prevention", with 予防 having the additional definitions of "precaution" and "protection against". I sort of understand the latter definitions for 予防 as acting ...
8
votes
3answers
534 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
323 views

What is the difference between 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, and 壽司?

It is likely that this is due to my poor understanding, but why are there so many names for「すし」? I think for the most part I have only seen the first three (寿司、鮨、鮓). For whatever reason in some ...
13
votes
3answers
305 views

Sentence structure/element order

In the textbook Japanese for Busy People I, the order of the elements in a sentence is always the same (subject - when - with whom - by what means - to where - verb) at least as far as I have made it. ...
8
votes
1answer
326 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Difference between the usage of 知恵 , 知能 and 知力

I have read the sentence "12歳の小児の知力しかない". In this sentence , I would like to know the usage of 知力 . In dictionary , it means "intelligence " Can I use 知恵 or 知能 instead of 知力. Is there ...
7
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
120 views

What is the difference between 義務and 本分?

Now, I try to brush up my vocabulary in Japanese. In dictionary, both 義務 and 本分 mean "duty". Is there any differences in usage? And can I use 本分 instead of 義務 in following sentence? ...
8
votes
2answers
248 views

What is the difference between 意味 and 意義?

I have learned (意味) and (意義)as "meaning". I am confused these two words. Are they same or is there any difference in usage?
10
votes
2answers
233 views

What is the difference between 首相 and 総理?

I learned 総{そう}理{り} as the word for Prime Minister, but I've recently learned that 首{しゅ}相{しょう} is also used. Is there a difference in usage or meaning? Is one more polite than the other?
4
votes
1answer
774 views

“causative of negative” vs “negative of causative”?

Wikipedia (Japanese Verb Conjugation): Negatives [verb negative-conjugations] are not normally made into causatives. Instead, a negative ending is added to the causative of the verb. Thus, for ...
1
vote
1answer
472 views

までに, まえに and うちに to express “before doing X, Y happens”

I've come across this sentence: 主人が帰ってくる までに 晩御飯の買い物と支度をしなければいけません.  I would have used まえに instead of までに. Is it correct? How does the meaning change? Furthermore, is it correct to say ...
7
votes
1answer
231 views

ところ vs どころ: Interchangeable or different meanings altogether?

I have two questions. A) Why do they use どころ instead of ところ in this sentence? Is it possible to use ところ without changing the meaning? ...
5
votes
1answer
299 views

How to decide to use どうせ or しょせん?

The dictionary translates both どうせ (WJDIC) and しょせん (WJDIC) as "anyway / in any case / after all". But what exactly is the difference in nuance between them? For example, what is the difference ...
7
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between ~かける and ~っぱなし?

Spawned from What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?; I started thinking about ~かける. Don't these essentially mean the same thing? I'm failing to see any difference except ...
5
votes
1answer
155 views

What's the difference between 赤ん坊 and 赤ちゃん

Are both words interchangeable? Rikai-chan defines them both as "baby, infant". So what would be the difference?
11
votes
2answers
524 views

What exactly is 我, and how is it used?

I was taught that [私]{わた(く)し}, [僕]{ぼく}, and 俺{おれ} are the most common first-person pronouns. Recently, I stumbled upon the word [我]{われ}, which supposedly means the same thing. An online dictionary ...
6
votes
3answers
578 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.
2
votes
2answers
313 views

Does V~たりする include the verb in a “perfect” sense or “varying” sense?

Does V~たりする include the mentioned verb in a "perfect" (specific) sense or "varying" sense? For example, in the sentence 「映画を見たりした。」, is (1) or (2) a more accurate depiction of the meaning of the ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

Is まい as in あるまい really only used in literary texts or TV?

My understanding --admittedly limited-- is that in Japanese, people say as much as they can with as little words as possible. So I wondered why ないだろう would be used in everyday speaking instead of まい? ...
8
votes
2answers
294 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
846 views

Stative verbs: ~ている vs ~てある vs ~(ら)れる

I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly, but I want to know the nuances of these "stative" type verb forms that act kind of like adjectives. For example, you could describe an open window with any ...
8
votes
2answers
434 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
196 views

“俺が一番” vs “俺が最高”

I was reading through " How do I say "I am the best" ? の,は or が and 私 or 俺? ", and I was wondering what's the difference between "俺が一番" and "俺が最高"? From what I know, both roughly equates to ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

What's the difference between 威厳 and 尊厳?

What's the difference between 威{い}厳{げん} and 尊{そん}厳{げん} to mean "dignity"? From what I can tell, the two seem to be similar, but slightly different. In what ways do the nuances and usages of the two ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Difference between 妬【ねた】ましい and 羨【うらや】ましい

Considering "How to define 羨ましい?", it does not seem that 羨【うらや】ましい conveys a strong intensity of jealousy. How does 妬【ねた】ましい compare to 羨【うらや】ましい then? Does 妬【ねた】ましい convey a stronger sense of ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

Additional nuance of より with time

It seems to me that より has virtually no meaning when used as shown below. Consider these: Please come before five O'clock: 五時前に来てください 五時より前に来てください Please come after five O'clock: 五時後に来てください ...