Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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283 views

This mother doesn't know her own child?

I have the following sentence in my JLPT practise book: 当時{とうじ}母{はは}がどんな気持{きも}ちだったのか、子{こ}どもの私{わたし}には知{し}るべくもないことだった。 My faltering translation is something like, "How did my mother feel at the ...
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2answers
254 views

Choosing the right form of “to dry”

I've come across two different words for "to dry" in my readings: 干す【ほす】 and 乾く【かわく】. I've seen both used to refer to things drying out (e.g. 「白妙の衣干すちょう」 from the 2nd poem in the 百人一首 or 「涙は乾いた」 in ...
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1answer
260 views

〜たい form vs. 〜てほしい

When first learning Japanese grammar, one is usually taught that to express a desire to do something one should use the 〜たい form of the verb: 東京へ行きたい On some occasions, however, I've also seen ...
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2answers
124 views

Differences between verb + の verb + か and -ます/-です?

Consider these two examples: 神{かみ}を信{しん}じるの? and 神を信じますか? To me, both mean 'Do you believe in God/gods?', with the first example possibly slightly more casual than the second. Other than that, are ...
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1answer
112 views

What's the difference between 限界, 限り, 制限 and 限度

While 制限 seems rather straightforward, the others don't seem as easy to pinpoint to me. What are the differences, and in which cases should I one over another?
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1answer
137 views

降参する vs 諦める​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める? Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example: ぜったい降参しない。(I will never give up.) ぜったい諦めない。(I will never give up.) What's the difference ...
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1answer
172 views

How to say “about” as in “to read about”

I wonder how to say something like Now I'm reading about ways to get to Kyoto from Tokyo. I know the necessary words but I wonder how to say this "about". Will it be okay if I just write this? ...
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2answers
150 views

Meaning of 過去形の動詞+上で

Lately, I've been wondering what's the meaning of past tense verb connected to 上で, like in the 3 examples below: 両親とよく相談した上で、留学することにした。 家を買う場合は、十分調べた上で、決めた方がいい。 よく考えた上で、返事をするつもりだ。 As ...
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1answer
170 views

Is まい as in あるまい really only used in literary texts or TV?

My understanding --admittedly limited-- is that in Japanese, people say as much as they can with as little words as possible. So I wondered why ないだろう would be used in everyday speaking instead of まい? ...
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2answers
150 views

Difference between 延ばす and 伸ばす

As far as I can tell, they both mean something like stretch or extend. When would you use each one?
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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: ...
2
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1answer
123 views

Difference between 区別 and 差別

What is the difference between 区別{くべつ} and 差別{さべつ}? I looked them up in my Japanese to Chinese dictionary, but the dictionary defines them to be "difference", to put it literally.
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1answer
106 views

逃げる vs 逃す What's the nuance?

It's pretty straightforward, I'm wondering what the nuance between 逃げる and 逃す is? I'm assuming it's something like the difference between "run away" and "escape", but which one is which?
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2answers
132 views

The nuance of 得る compared with ~ば

If we compare the following two sentences: でき得るならば、独立して事業を始めたい。 できれば、独立して事業を始めたい。 意味が同じですか?どう違いますか?すみませんが、説明して頂けませんか?
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2answers
306 views

Does V~たりする include the verb in a “perfect” sense or “varying” sense?

Does V~たりする include the mentioned verb in a "perfect" (specific) sense or "varying" sense? For example, in the sentence 「映画を見たりした。」, is (1) or (2) a more accurate depiction of the meaning of the ...
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1answer
327 views

What exactly does “るぅ” mean?

Good afternoon all, Sometimes I see that people like to "curl" the last mora of a verb, for example: 瑞生: ああそれから、亜湖にも特別ボーナスだ。 亜湖: えっ。 瑞生: ジャーン! 亜湖: 何それ? 瑞生: かわいいだろう? 瑞生: ...
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1answer
198 views

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。Are there any other options to replace the で here?

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。 My attempt at translation: "Every once in a while my inner feelings show themselves, only to disappear again." The above was taken from the following dialogue: ...
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1answer
129 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 ...
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1answer
197 views

Reversing the clause pattern “~ほう~より”

Consider the two sentences below: (1) 私のほうが田中さんよりよく飲む。(I drink more than Mr. Tanaka.) (2) 私はビールより酒のほうをよく飲む。(I drink more sake than beer.) I think the pattern for the second one is a reverse ...
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1answer
269 views

How to say a double negative in Japanese

My Japanese friend asked me whether I believe in an afterlife. I wanted to say, "I don't believe, but also I don't not believe." My point is that while I do not believe, I like to keep an open mind. ...
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42 views

~に~があります vs ~は~です in this sentence [duplicate]

The following sentence was found in a book: 日本社会の「きまり」にかかわる例の一つに、 会社への就職活動がある。 I'm wondering, assuming the translation is "An example of one of these "rules" related to Japanese society is ...
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3answers
164 views

Difference between 防ぐ and 予防する

What is the difference between 防ぐ and 予防する ? To me both of them seem to mean "to prevent". A Japanese person once explained to me how they are different but unfortunately I don't remember. Similar ...
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1answer
135 views

What is the difference between ホワイトシャツ・ワイシャツ and 背広? [closed]

How do we decide whether to call a shirt a ワイシャツ or 背広 ? What's the difference in nuance between the two terms? Side question: EDICT claims that a ホワイトシャツ is a white business shirt but even if it's a ...
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1answer
366 views

What is the difference between the two kanji pairings for 'jellyfish'?

I am aware that animal names are generally written in katakana (although sometimes hiragana), but kanji is sometimes used. I stumbled upon the Japanese word クラゲ, meaning jellyfish. The dictionary said ...
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1answer
86 views

Is 「<number>回後」 equivalent to 「第<number>回」?

For example, I'm trying to make sense of the following phrase: 二回後システム When literally translated to English, becomes: Twice After System I have also encountered a similar phrase: ...
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2answers
269 views

What's the difference between 済む, 終わる, 出来る and 上がる

I've seen all four used in the context of something being finished. What's the difference between them?
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1answer
300 views

What's the difference between 平和 and 和平?

If you ask someone how to say "peace" the likely answer you'll get is 平和, which is the common option, but occasionally you'll see the word 和平, which has a very similar meaning, and is indeed just a ...
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1answer
164 views

“一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。” この表現のニュアンスを説明して頂けませんか?

一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。 Falling in love at first sight won't bring you a lasting relationship. I found this sentence and translation without any other context, and have a few questions about ...
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1answer
87 views

How to express “Today I would like to talk about X” when opening a speech

Can one use 「本日、Xを話したいです」 when opening a speech, or is it too rough? For example, translations for the sentence "Today I would like to talk about my past" that I can think of are 「本日、私の過去を話したいです」 or ...
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2answers
66 views

分類{ぶんるい} / 種類{しゅるい} / 類い{たぐい} ~ “kind” / “sort” / “type”

I realized I didn't know the Japanese word for the concept which has three very interchangeable words: "kind", "sort", and "type". By looking in my usual resources such as WWWJDIC, English ...
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1answer
162 views

雨 pronunciations

I have a question about this character: 雨 I know each kanji has so many pronunciations, this is pronounced "ame" but it has other pronunciations, could you please tell me when to pronounce it ...
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1answer
645 views

[plain form]-んじゃない

When I was first learning Japanese, I learned that the explanatory form, -んです is always constructed by conjugating the verb in short form and adding -んです, and that the です part is never conjugated. But ...
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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 ...
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1answer
70 views

Difference between ではダメ、いけない、ならない to end a sentence

This question came up from a previous SO post Katakana ダメ to end a sentence - emphasis? 全ての敵を倒す必要はないが、逃げてばかりではダメ。 It is not necessary to beat all enemies, but you can't run away all the time ...
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1answer
104 views

What's the difference between 断定 and 結論

While I've only seen 結論 used in expressions like "Which conclusion do you arrive at?", I've seen both 断定 and 結論 used when saying "Don't draw a hasty conclusion". What are the differences between the ...
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1answer
145 views

What makes 飯場 sensitive?

The entry for WWWJDIC lists 飯場 as a possibly sensitive word (sens). However, the definition is just construction camp; bunkhouse; workers' living quarters and it appears in 燃え尽きた地図, a novel from ...
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1answer
202 views

How do you be sarcastic in Japanese? [duplicate]

Especially in text, is there a clue in Japanese as to whether someone is being sarcastic, or is it as ambiguous as it is in English? And how do you form a sentence so as to make it obviously ...
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1answer
100 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
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302 views

Possible ways to express remembrance and recall

How is it possible in Japanese language to express concepts of recall and remembrance? I mean, recall is generally referred to the way we take out something from our memory which is related to ...
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0answers
76 views

Why is き printed and written differently? [duplicate]

I'm just starting on my journey to learn Japanese and Hiragana, and something is puzzling me. Why is き written and printed differently. Why does the last stroke join up when printed, but is separate ...