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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

8
votes
1answer
323 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
266 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
331 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
774 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 ご[苦労]{...
8
votes
1answer
120 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

にしても and としても, is there a difference?

にしても and としても...Don't they both have a meaning of "even if"? Is there any subtle difference between these two forms?
8
votes
2answers
360 views

「〜したことがある」 vs 「〜したことがあった」

One of the first patterns a learner of the Japanese language will come across is: 〜したことがある (I) have 〜 before. わたしは中国を3回訪れたことがあります I have visited China three times before. However, ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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 (...
8
votes
1answer
167 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? ...
8
votes
1answer
98 views

How to tell whether a building is マンション or アパート

Given a building, how to classify it as マンション or アパート? Non-subjective set of criteria preferred. In particular, if there is any legal definition of these terms that would be the best. I used to ...
8
votes
2answers
579 views

What are all the nuances and uses of 至る? (に至って) (に至っては) (に至っても) (に至る)

I'm studying for the N1. And there are several not so often used structures that you really need to know the minute differences between. One of these is the uses of 至る. As far as I know, these are ...
8
votes
2answers
300 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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." Could someone clear this up?
7
votes
3answers
657 views

Difference between the words for “living/residing” [住む/棲む/泊まる/暮らす]

I have come across various words meaning "living/residing". What are the differences between them and their usage? I've listed what I think are the differences. Are they correct? 住む: Live in some ...
7
votes
3answers
920 views

What’s the difference between [v] たとしても and just the plain ても

What’s the difference between [v] たとしても and just the plain ても? Example: (1) 説明書を読んでも分かりにくい (2) 説明書を読んだとしても分かりにくい
7
votes
2answers
298 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
218 views

Meaning of 変なテンション

What does 変なテンション describe? To my limited understanding, the expression is used by a person who observes a テンション高い person but fails to understand why that person is テンション高い. Am I mistaken? Or is ...
7
votes
3answers
457 views

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
7
votes
2answers
891 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 +...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
370 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! ...
7
votes
1answer
342 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
571 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?
7
votes
1answer
490 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
514 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
607 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
277 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between そうです、 ようです and らしいです.

Here are the example sentences. デイビットは料理が上手そうです。 デイビットは料理が上手なようです。 デイビットは料理が上手らしいです。 Firstly, what does デイビット mean as based on reading alone its sounds like 'debit' to me which is a strange name ...
7
votes
3answers
668 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
220 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 words?...
7
votes
3answers
432 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
787 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 jisho....
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
619 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
826 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
389 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
844 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?
7
votes
2answers
81 views

Different nuance between よく and いつも

My original sentence was: [Name]さんは仕事でよく忙しいんですか? I was told by a native that it sounds strange. She replaced よく with いつも: [Name]さんは仕事でいつも忙しいんですか? I always thought both were used for "often" ...
7
votes
2answers
264 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
395 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
383 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
449 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
352 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
314 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
107 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?
7
votes
1answer
714 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?