ニュアンス. Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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What's the difference between [V-ながら][V2] and [V-ている]間[V2]?

What's the difference between [V-ながら][V2] and [V-ている]間[V2] ? For example, is there any difference in nuance between these 2 sentences: トムはテレビを見てる間勉強していた トムはテレビを見ながら勉強していた
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How do you politely apologize to a professor for unintentional rudeness?

I received an email from a new professor in my department asking for a native English speaker's check of his paper. Since no one had ever asked me to check their English before, whereas I had ...
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2answers
744 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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366 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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337 views

On the grammar of みんな見るメロ

At the end of an anime the next episode is advertised with a recurring joke where the character メロ says: みんな見るメロ It's supposed to translate as 'Everybody watch Mero.'. But surely it actually ...
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525 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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509 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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907 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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460 views

Difference between words that describe the idea of neighborhood/being close to something

Can somebody describe the difference between these words(physical distance and maybe politeness of these words, or any aspects that you think are important to understand these). Can all these words ...
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602 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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148 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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242 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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630 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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216 views

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

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

What is the significance of the “の” in the sentence “誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。”

In another forum, someone said the difference between 誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。 and 誰が盗んだか、誰か知りませんか。 is that the former has more emphasis on the verb 盗む. Another person said that that's not the ...
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325 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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2answers
509 views

What is the difference between 得意 and 上手?

Both 上手 and 得意 seem to both mean something along the lines of "good at" or "skilled". However, I don't understand the difference (if there is one) between them. In fact, some of the sentences on ...
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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 ...
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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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455 views

ねばねば食べねば, relation between ねば and なければ

I would like to know a bit more about the "ねば" grammatical construction. Every now and then, I hear people say sentences like 東京に行かねばならぬ 粘々丼を食べねば倒れる なんとかせねばいい It's quite clear that ねば ...
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193 views

自分 and 自身, what's the difference

I am having some trouble telling the difference between the two. Don't they both mean "myself"? And so does 私自身, right? I don't get the difference, when you would you use any of them and how to ...
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495 views

The difference between [noun phrase]+[?・なの?・ですか?・なんですか?]

Prompted by a comment thread, I was curious if my understanding of the semantic differences between [nominal phrase]? [nominal phrase]なの? [nominal phrase]ですか? [nominal phrase]なんですか? is ...
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369 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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595 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
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283 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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279 views

What's the difference between 食品 and 食料

I can't quite figure out the differences between these two. I would guess that 食料 is only used in situations, where the only thing that matters is that the food is there or not there (As in, searching ...
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366 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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412 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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328 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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315 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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168 views

what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ?

I was wondering what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ? (E.g. If I want to tell my friend not to worry about a test (albeit an important test), is it more appropriate to use ...
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165 views

When do I use all the words meaning “song”?

There's 歌, 曲, 歌曲, 唄, etc. I was about to give a few example contexts, but in English there really doesn't seem to be more than one way in which we refer to a 'song'. I do see different words being ...
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102 views

Meaning of 降ってくる when talking about voice

山田さんの声が後ろから降ってきたのだ。 山田's voice came falling from behind. What is the nuance implied by 降る here?
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537 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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763 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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296 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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621 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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203 views

Difference between 向かう, 向く, 向ける

From my understanding 向ける is transitive and means to face/turn something towards something. 安藤は日本国内から世界に目を向けたのです。 -Andou turned his eyes from inside Japan to the world. 向く on the other hand ...
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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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260 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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What is the difference between「ものなら」 and 「(の)なら」?

I would like to understand the nuance between two sentences. I found on a website the sentence : この問題を解けるもんなら解いてみろ。 : If you can solve this problem then try solving it. And I wondered what ...
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435 views

Differences between 「することはない」 and 「しなくてもいい」

Like the title says, I'd like to know the difference in nuance and usage between 「することはない」 and 「しなくてもいい」。 For example: 「謝らなくてもいいよ」 vs. 「謝ることはないよ」 To me, they both sound like "You don't have to ...
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715 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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Expressing “I like to <do something>”

I was trying to express the idea of "Like + do something", as in "I like to drink tea" or "I like to eat pasta". After a quick search I found that you can express it like this, omitting the parts to ...
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What is the difference between んじゃない and んだ?

I came across the following sentence: 「…あの犯行予告、俺がやったんじゃないんだけどな。」 I also have English subtitles which translate this phrase as: "I wasn't the one who issued that threat, but no matter." What's the ...
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174 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?
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202 views

Why does the waiter use past tense here

When I was trying to order a set meal in the restaurant, the waiter said Aランチのほうでよろしかったでしょうか I am not sure why the past tense よろしかった is used here, I personally would say Aランチのほうでよろしいでしょうか ...
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191 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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321 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 ...
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159 views

What's the difference in the nuances that 呪縛【じゅばく】 and 呪い【のろい】 convey?

Is 呪縛 usually used to refer to a good spell or a bad one (like a curse)? I mean the dictionary writes the english meaning as: spell/curse but I was wondering what sort of nuance would be attached to ...