Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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519 views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
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205 views

得る vs ~られる potential form

Recently I learned of a new way to express potential form. Here's a few example sentences: 今回は予測し得ないことが起きたけど、皆、落ち着いていた。 自分の意見を自由に言えないなんて、普通の国ではあり得ない。 The second example I put for contrast, ...
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108 views

What is the difference between すみません and すみませんでした?

What is the difference between すみません and すみませんでした (or すまない and すまなかった)? If it is what the 「でした」 suggests and すみませんでした is the past form and used to apologize for things done in the past, then what I ...
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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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1answer
171 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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1answer
298 views

For the word じき meaning “soon”, what is the difference between the kanjis 直 and 時期?

As discussed in this question, one meaning for じき is "soon, momentarily". Looking it up in my (English/Japanese) dictionary, I found both the kanjis 時期 and 直 for it. I looked them up further ...
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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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257 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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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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161 views

What's the difference between 売店 and 商店

Is 売店 more used for smaller stuff, like a stand? I'm finding it hard to pinpoint the exact difference.
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221 views

“トムと話した” vs. “トムと話し合った”

This book (Chap. 29) says that for some verbs which can be unilateral or bilateral (like 相談する, 話す, 合う), The particle と implies that the verb is shared 50/50 between the two participants (bilateral), ...
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151 views

含む vs. 含んでいる vs. 含まれている

I would like to know if there is a difference in nuance between these four sentences. I am trying to say oranges are high in vitamin C. These are based off a sentence I found in Jisho. 1.) ...
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1answer
91 views

What is the difference between 一旦~ and ~が最後?

I was looking up ~が最後 and saw a comment that it was similar to 一旦~. However there was no further explanation, so now I'm wondering what the difference is? One of the examples of ~が最後 I was looking ...
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191 views

Difference between なり (meaning 'either.. or…') and か (meaning 'or')

I came across the construction ~なり~なり (meaning either... or...) on JGram and I saw this example: ジュースなりコーラなり、お好きなものをどうぞ juice.. cola.. have whatever you like That made me wonder what the ...
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94 views

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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143 views

How does one know how to read 堪える? Is it 「こたえる」、「こらえる」 or 「たえる」?

The verb 堪える has three different readings: こたえる, こらえる, and たえる, and as far as I can tell they all mean "to bear, to endure, to put up with", with slight variations. Is there a way to tell which ...
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207 views

Appropriate context for お前【まえ】

When I was learning about 持ってくる【もってくる】 in college we did some roleplaying to practice using it. When my turn came up it was a husband and wife, with a line along the lines of the following: ...
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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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249 views

What's the difference between [勝負]{しょうぶ} and [試合]{しあい}

I've seen both refered to as "match". Is there some secondary usage or perhaps a connotation or nuance that separates the two?
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1answer
329 views

自分の vs 自らの when used for humans

What's the difference between 自分の and 自らの? Both can be used to mean "oneself", but is there a difference in their nuances / usages? (e.g. what would be the difference between あの子は、自らの命と引換に… and ...
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395 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 ...
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306 views

What's the standard way of explaining reason in response to the question “why?”? Do you use からです at the end?

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 sentence that indicates the reason ...
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1answer
928 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 ...
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370 views

Can もの be used to imply the value of something that is a こと?

I thought of this question and quickly realized that I already knew a possible example. Japanese band ZONE's most popular song is called 「secret base~君【きみ】がくれたもの~」. The lyrics can be read here or at ...
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188 views

Fun with synonyms - “freeze”

I'm a little confused on the difference between 凍る 【こおる】 and 凍える 【こごえる】. From what I've researched, it seems like 凍る focuses more on the physical process of something freezing, and the result being ...
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399 views

Phoenix: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】, 鳳凰【ほうおう】, 鳳/鵬【おおとり】, フェニックス… How many lives does this bird have!?

All of the following words and kanji (and a few more obscure ones) seem to be used in Japanese, to describe a bird that is translated by "Phoenix" in English: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】 鳳凰【ほうおう】 鳳【おおとり】/鵬【おおとり】 ...
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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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190 views

Expressing a sequence of actions using 〜たとき?

I am aware that one can explain that to things happen at the same time using plain non past form + とき: 電車に乗るとき転びました。"I fell when I got on the train (I was going through the door when it happened)" ...
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1answer
170 views

勤め vs 役目​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 勤め and 役目? Both seems to mean duty (something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation), but what is the difference in their nuance and ...
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1answer
246 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: ...
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351 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 ...
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122 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? ...
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1answer
331 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 ...
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357 views

What does the “~ておく” mean in “任せておく”?

Good afternoon all, From what I understand, "~ておく" basically has 4 meanings: to do something for a purpose / reason used as a softener (source) to do.. for now or for the time being (source, ...
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1answer
263 views

“きのう、何をしていた。” vs. “きのう、何をした。”

What is the difference in nuance between きのう、何をしていた。 vs きのう、何をした。? To be fair, I can't really tell the difference between these two english sentences: What were you doing yesterday ? What did you do ...
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200 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
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206 views

How do you politely and gratefully reply to an invitation to be published?

Is there a set phrase for politely replying to an invitation to have your academic paper published as a journal article? I presented a paper at a Japanese academic conference, and I've received an ...
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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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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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295 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)? ...
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163 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?
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153 views

Nuance of 離{はな}れ

In my JLPT textbook, it has a section on the use of the term 離{はな}れ, "detachment". Some examples: テレビ離{ばな}れ (detachment from television) もの離{ばな}れ (detachment from things) 政治離{ばな}れ ...
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348 views

「雨が降っているぜ」の「ぜ」の意味について

さっき、お弁当を買ってきた三十代の男性同僚が、入室したら「外雨が降っているぜ!早く弁当買っといた方がいいかも!」と勢い良く言った。 その「ぜ」の意味はなんだべ? 「行くぜ」ならなんとなく分かるんだが、今の文脈だとさっぱり迷ってしまうんだ…
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2k views

Fun with synonyms - “perhaps/maybe/probably”

What are the differences when using the following words/phrases to mean "perhaps", "maybe" or "probably"? 多分 恐らく 蓋し {けだし} もしかして ひょっとして なかろう (negative -> probably not) だろう / でしょう / であろう かも知れない ...
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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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456 views

を vs が with use against 好き?

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb. and Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? are noted as possible duplicates; however, I ...
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3answers
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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183 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 ...
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1answer
285 views

What's the difference between 欲{ほっ}する and 欲しがる?

Is there one? One of my dictionaries lists them as 欲{ほっ}する → to desire/to want 欲しがる → to desire/to want/to wish for/to covet Only the latter sounds like it includes more "bad"/selfish ...
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507 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 ...