Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

14
votes
1answer
2k views

How to differentiate friend level in Japanese?

I am sometimes having difficulty differentiating friends level when explaining it to a Japanese. For example, when I am telling a story about a friend, I want to specify the level of friendship we ...
6
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
889 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
434 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
681 views

How to ask for a refund?

I want to ask for a refund? For example, if I want to refund a train ticket. How do I ask the train master? I think it is not a 返品。 Do you need certain politeness?
2
votes
1answer
92 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: ...
5
votes
2answers
150 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
193 views

Fun with synonyms - “flattery"

What are the difference in the following words meaning flattery / to flatter: お世{せ}辞{じ} 追{つい}従{しょう} おべっか 胡{ご}麻{ま}をする 阿{おもね}る 諂{へつら}う 煽{おだ}て(る) 美{び}辞{じ}麗{れい}句{く} Which ones are honest, sincere ...
5
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
338 views

What's the difference between 理系{りけい} , 理科{りか}, and 科学{かがく}?

In my dictionary, 理系{りけい}, 理科{りか}, and 科学{かがく} are defined simply as "science". What, if anything, differentiates them? Especially in terms of the feeling or nuance when used in everyday ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Need clarification on a particular use of から

I saw this sentence recently and I'm particularly confused on the use of から in the sentence. まず君から殺す。 What does から mean here? What's the difference between that and まず君を殺す? How does から replace the ...
8
votes
2answers
263 views

Any books or websites dedicated to Japanese tech/IT language?

I work in IT in Tokyo, so most of what I do doesn't require interaction with our Japanese customers, but every so often we get that one phone call where someone wants something explained, and I can ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I differentiate between feet and legs?

Feet are 足, and legs are also 足. Is there a word or method with which I can easily talk about one and not the other? And if not, why is there no word for feet in the Japanese language? Caveat: I ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

Asking superior to mark a document with 印鑑{いんかん}

What is the proper way to ask a superior to sign their hanko for approval? When I need a superior to sign their hanko for a routine log (not for reviewing a document or stuff, just routine logging off ...
10
votes
3answers
402 views

When should 男の人/女の人 be used instead of 男/女?

My teacher always corrects me when I use 男 or 女 by themselves, without adding の人 to the end of it. But in various Japanese media (music, drama, anime, etc.), I know for sure that I have heard them ...
7
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between せっかく and わざわざ?

せっかく and わざわざ seem to be pretty close in meaning/usage, but is there ever a time you would use one and not the other? Or is there a small nuance there? Just to give some example sentences: ...
5
votes
1answer
344 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
235 views

What's the difference between 電光石火【でんこうせっか】 and 疾風迅雷【しっぷうじんらい】

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
11
votes
1answer
339 views

usage of「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」variants for a business apology

I have to apologize for a procedural error at work, and am unsure about selecting the right form of apology from the variants of 「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」: 1.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけして申【もう】し訳【わけ】ございません。」 ...
10
votes
3answers
270 views

Are there differences in nuance and usage of [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ}, [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ}, [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} and [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと}?

They all carry the meaning of "secret" in English, but are there differences in nuance and usage of each of them: [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ} [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ} [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと} ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

How is the あげたい working here?

On a TV show, an idol was given this task to think of: 心が晴れやかになる一言 'A word (or phrase) to lift someone's mood'  (My loose translation) The idol responded: アナタの心の雨を[止]{や}ませてあげたいな 'Let me ...
8
votes
1answer
388 views

Nuances of “give” - あげる/与える/授ける

Can someone give some good context and scenarios for using these? Not only when to use them, but when NOT to use them as well. I know あげる is kind of the most common, but I'm just not sure of the ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

Can 彼 be used as an indefinite pronoun like やつ or 男?

気取らない彼が好きです。 I like him, who doesn't put on airs. My first reading of this sentence was to assume that 彼 was referring to the boyfriend meaning of 彼, and thus my interpretation was "I like an ...
12
votes
2answers
515 views

What is the differences in nuances between とうとう and やっと?

What is the differences in nuances between とうとう and やっと? is it true that やっと has a more "happy" feeling attached to it?
10
votes
1answer
817 views

How to use 〜かのよう{に・な・だ}

I understand fine how to use 〜(の)よう{に・な・だ}, but I'm not sure when or how you can add in the か. Here's an example from my book: 4月になって雪が降るなんて、まるで冬が戻って来たかのようです。 How is this different than if it ...
9
votes
3answers
926 views

What exactly is the difference between <verb>-てしまう and <verb>- [切]{き}る?

I've read that both the ~てしまう and ~きる (18th meaning of 切る at http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E5%88%87%E3%82%8B) forms are used to signify something has been ...
8
votes
3answers
718 views

What's the difference between ~てください and ~ていてください?

This question has come up on the side of at least a couple of other questions, but I don't think it's been definitively answered, so let's see if we can come up with something solid. After going ...
10
votes
2answers
251 views

When are ふう and よう interchangeable?

Lately ふう has been on my mind. Often it seems interchangeable with よう: これを{こんなふう/このよう}にしてください。 Please make it like this. あれを{どういうふう/どのよう}に解釈しますか。 In what way do you interpret that? ...
7
votes
2answers
381 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
189 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
267 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
4
votes
1answer
257 views

"一生懸命な”のニュアンスを説明してもらえませんか。Nuances of 一生懸命な

一生懸命な彼に申し訳ない気がしました。そこで、私は一度彼と会って面と向かって断ろうと思ったのです。 'I felt I had to do something so I decided to meet him face to face and tell him I wasn't interested.' 一生懸命を副詞として使ったら 'eagerly, with utmost ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

u and Senryu placement

I am in the process of publishing a book on verse, more particularly, "American Haiku and Senryu -- 1008 Pauses Along the Path" and I need to ascertain whether or not the title is appropriate, i.e. is ...
5
votes
2answers
320 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…
6
votes
3answers
332 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
333 views

How are 化け物, 妖怪, 幽霊, etc. related to each other?

In the past few years, reading light novels and the like, I have come across many different terms for ghosts, spirits, monsters, etc. in Japanese, and I'm wondering how they relate to each other. What ...
6
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
368 views

what is the difference in the usage of [成]{な}るべく and できるだけ?

Hi guys what is the difference in the usage of 成るべく and できるだけ? Don't they both mean as [x] as possible? E.g.: 1) できるだけ多くの本を読みなさい vs なるべく多くの本を読みなさい 2) できるだけ早くお願いします vs なるべく早くお願いします
5
votes
2answers
139 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
328 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

The difference between 添削 and 訂正

I used to always use 訂正{ていせい} rather than 添削{てんさく} to mean "correction", but recently I haven't really seen 訂正 being used. When used in the context of correcting English translations etc, it seems to ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

What are the differences between 技術 and 技能?

What are the differences between 技術 and 技能?
4
votes
2answers
263 views

How to exhaustively list predicates in a non-temporal way?

Supposing that you want to express a list of events or actions exhaustively and without significance in ordering (for example: Yesterday, I ate some ice cream, went to the store, and read a book, but ...
5
votes
1answer
423 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
208 views

で終わります: trying to close by? で帰ります, trying to leave by? It depends on the sentence?

I can say 売り場は九時で終わります、 and 三時で帰ります、 which I've learned mean something like, "They'll be trying to close from," and, "I'll be trying to leave from." I've also learned that 2月25日で帰ります is not correct. ...
9
votes
1answer
417 views

天気 vs. 天候, what's the real difference?

What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気. I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

寝る vs. 眠る, what's the real difference?

What's the real, definite difference between 寝【ね】る and 眠【ねむ】る? I know they both mean "sleep", but also that each carries some additional (sometimes, figurative) meanings. Where do the meanings ...
5
votes
1answer
251 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
218 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), ...