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

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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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3answers
1k views

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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2answers
181 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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2answers
235 views

what's the difference between 領域 、範囲 and 分野?

Could anyone explain to me the difference between these 3 words, especially between 範囲 and 領域 ? For example, I have these 練習問題: a.分野  b.領域 c.範囲 ① 試験の……… は、17課までです。  ② 外の大学との交流が進んで研究の……… が広がった。 ③ ...
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How do you say I am emailing something and attaching it to the email?

I am usually confused if I am going to use 入れます or 付けます when specifying that I attached something to the email. For example: 最新の帳票サンプルを添付して入れます。 or 最新の帳票サンプルを添付して付けます。 I would usually say that ...
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189 views

How is 候 used in this line of Nōgaku dialogue?

I am studying some nōgaku. In particular, the play 卒都婆小町, which I find has some interesting, beautiful lines. At the start of the play, a priest says: ...
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206 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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195 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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328 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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161 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 ...
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171 views

“Reversal” nuance of なら

「帰るなら、窓を閉めなさい!」 I recently asked my teacher about なら being used in this command sentence, and she said while it was acceptable, it had a different meaning compared to 「帰ったら、窓を閉めなさい!」 While the たら ...
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5answers
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What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

What is the meaning of のか in the following sentences? Does it have the same meaning as のですか? 漢字はどう正しく書くのか、どう正しく読むのか、彼らは時々迷います。 参加するのか、参加しないのか、ここではっきり返事しなさい。 Also, I have found sentences of ...
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2answers
396 views

How is 「ように」 different to just 「よう」?

When writing or reading a sentence in Japanese, does the word 「よう」 have a nuance any different to using 「ように」? For example, sentences using 「ように」: 好きなように踊ってよろしい。 落第しないように一生懸命勉強しなさい。 ...
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278 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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2answers
307 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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1answer
162 views

Difference between 証【あかし】 and 証拠【しょうこ】 (proof)

証明{しょうめい}means proof, but in the sense "certification" But 証{あかし} and 証拠{しょうこ}look very similar, meaning "proof, evidence". Would the difference be that 証拠 requires something physical (object), ...
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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 ...
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260 views

Why sometimes people change the way they say 明日 from あした to みょうにち or あす when confirming a reservation day over the phone?

I noticed that each time I get my haircut reservation to the day after the day conversation takes place, I hear the person on the other end changing the way he or she says 明日 from あした to あす or みょうにち, ...
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949 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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3answers
134 views

What's the difference between 気がする and ような気がする?

Compare: 何かを忘れた気がする。 何かを忘れたような気がする。 I feel like I forgot something. As far as I know, they both mean the same thing. What nuance does adding ような give?
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398 views

Desire words: When to use 欲望{よくぼう}, 欲求{よっきゅう}, 欲{よく} and 欲念{よくねん}?

Today I ran into these three desire words, which are defined: 欲 = greed, craving, desire, avarice, wants 欲求 = desire 欲望 = desire, appetite, lust And while searching dictionaries, I also found a ...
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1answer
275 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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1answer
236 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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2answers
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Using 伯母 / 叔母 to refer to one's aunt

Is it true that when we see 伯母 it usually (90%) means "parent's elder sister" and sometimes (10%) can be used to refer to the parent's younger sister? On the contrary, when we see 叔母 does it always ...
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175 views

言ったりしたら versus 言ったら

I came across the phrase 言ったりしたら【いったりしたら】 in one of the Tintin books I'm reading. It means something like "if I say [it]". What I can't figure out is how it's different from simply saying 言ったら. Here ...
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318 views

is 随分 of a higher degree than なかなか (with positive verb) ?

my dictionary shows both 随分 and なかなか (with positive verb) as "very/considerably" I was wondering is it true that 随分 is of a higher degree than なかなか? Like あんたなかなか勇敢だな。= 75% and あんた随分勇敢だな。 = 85%?
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2answers
337 views

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ?

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ? For example: 1) これは機会だぜ! 2) これはチャンスだぜ!
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1answer
126 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 ...
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1answer
99 views

Difference between 誤解 and 勘違い

Japanese - English dictionaries translate both as "misunderstanding" or "wrong guess." Upon consulting dictionary.goo.ne.jp, I found: 誤解 - When the facts and the true intentions of a partner's words ...
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626 views

The implied meaning of 日本人

I understand that 日本人 means "Japanese person/people"; however, I am confused as to the implied meanings of this term. What are things that we can assume when someone uses this term? Can it mean: A ...
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2answers
473 views

How are programming projects discussed in Japanese?

In English, programming projects (and large systematic projects in general) typically take their descriptive cues from well-known manufacturing/construction industry jargon, i.e. "blueprint", ...
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1answer
267 views

Translating volitive expressions in ads into English

I saw this on an advertisement outside the construction site of a company that makes wooden houses: 木{き}の家{いえ}と、暮{く}らそう。 I'm trying to think of a way to translate it other than: Live with a wooden ...
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1answer
745 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 ...
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2answers
72 views

「〜といいます」 vs 「〜というものです」 when introducing oneself

When introducing one's name, I have seen both of the following constructs used. 〜といいます。 〜というものです。 Is there a difference between them? I get the hunch that the latter is perhaps more formal ...
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2answers
121 views

たり vs. て for multiple adjectives

I came across the following example: 大きかったり重かったりする本 a big, heavy book I am not sure this sentence is correct to begin with, (part of me feels like it should be した) but assuming that it is, ...
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1answer
136 views

difference between 実際 and 実態

What's the difference between 実際 and 実態? apparently these are two different words, but looking at the entry for 実態 and 実際 i can't understand the difference. 実態: 実際の状態, 本当のありさま isn't it the same ...
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1answer
156 views

影 vs 形 vs 形状. What's the difference between them?

I've been reading a text and all three of these come up 影 vs 形 vs 形状. I know they mean shape/figure, but is there a more nuanced difference between them? I can see the logic of where they are in the ...
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311 views

どんぐりの実 versus どんぐり

What's the difference between どんぐりの実 and どんぐり? I read a passage where they said どんぐりの実 in reference to just an acorn (I thought), in which case I don't know why they wouldn't use just どんぐり. The ...
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1answer
2k 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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1answer
404 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? ...
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1answer
242 views

おいてきてしまった vs おいてしまってきた

Is there any difference in the sentence when we mix the order of the conjugations in this sentence: 1) あいにく私はカメラを家においてきてしまった 2) あいにく私はカメラを家においてしまってきた Or are both "correct" and mean the same thing ...
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760 views

Using な in positive instead of negative imperative (e.g. 行きな)

Putting な after a plain verb turns it into negative imperative. But I noticed that in spoken Japanese, putting な after conjunctive form (連用形) turns it into positive imperative. For example: ...
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374 views

ぼちぼち - related words

I am at present rigorously studying 擬音語/擬態語 (an entire world of its own!). The definition my book has for ぼちぼち (also ぼつぼつ) is: 1. Gradually; slowly but steadily 2. Used to describe something that is ...
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1answer
140 views

What is the difference between 飲む and 呑む?

I saw a tweet that said 要は日本酒が呑みたい And my dictionary translated 呑む as 'to drink', with 飲む as the default spelling and 呑む as an alternate form. What is the difference between 飲む and 呑む?
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1answer
252 views

Use of question particles in plain speech

I'm becoming increasingly confused about the correct way to form questions in informal speech. I originally learned that I should replace か with の. Then I learned that that was a bit girly. Then I ...
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1answer
191 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 ...
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1answer
323 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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1answer
198 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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2answers
486 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…