成句. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, such as idioms. For questions about a particular idiom, please use the tag "idioms".

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2k views

“Strike while the iron is hot” - Japanese equivalent

Is there an equivalent expression in Japanese for "strike while the iron is hot"? I've seen a few questions on here with phrases and their equivalents. Does anybody know of a site where these are ...
2
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3answers
211 views

Common ways of asking for someones phone number

I saw somewhere today that [電話]{でんわ}[番号]{ばんごう}は何番ですか is used to ask for someone's phone number. It seemed strange to me since I usually hear it as [電話]{でんわ}[番号]{ばんごう}何ですか, and also because the literal ...
1
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2answers
94 views

Meaning of 声をそろえる

What is the meaning of 声をそろえる in this conversation: 「だからってドロボーの手伝いまですることないじゃない」 お姉ちゃんがあきれたように言うと、ヒロシも声をそろえた。 「そうだぞ。そんなバカなことしない人間に育てるために、厳しくする方がまる子のためだ。...」 Literally I think it means 'to ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Context of “何様のつもりか”

I came across someone referring to the phrase "何様のつもりか" in the middle of an English-language discussion: if I were [person X], I would be shouting "何様のつもりか" (although I am not, and so I can't) ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

verb-ている in potential form やってられないよ

A girl is moaning about how she is treated for not doing her homework then pauses and says: やってられないよ I assume this is a contraction of やっていられないよ which would literally be "I can't be doing it". ...
5
votes
2answers
92 views

Is it ok to say 問題ない instead of 問題じゃない? Why?

問題ない vs 問題じゃない From what I understand the negative form of a noun is created with じゃない and not ない however my textbook uses 問題ない in an example (translated as "no problem"). Looking elsewhere on the ...
1
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1answer
103 views

How do I interpret お釣りが来るほど?

豪邸を三つ作ってもお釣りが来るほどの価値がある一級品の武器の筈だ。 I'm not sure how to interpret this part of the sentence. Is it some kind of phrase? I feel that it means something like "It should be a first class weapon ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

How to ask if someone is ready

I think I can ask something like もう学校に行く用意はできてるの for "Are you ready to go to school yet". I was wondering what is the most natural way to simply ask "Are you ready yet?". E.g. the wife is in the ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

“Hey Bro!” how to call out friends

There is a variety of words such as ”友” ”相棒” ”仲間”, etc. to describe a person as a friend or partner. Is there a casual way to call out your friend in Japanese, instead of having to call his/her name ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Confusing use of と言えば

「おれは...」と田中が言えば、「おれは...」と吉田が言った。 Literally, "if Tanaka could say ... then Yoshida said ...". What is the meaning of this structure? I've seen Aと言えば to mean "speaking of A", but that doesn't ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Meaning of 身もフタもない

怒られるタイプの人のことを考えていて、自分が怒られたんじゃ、身もフタもないじゃないの I've been thinking about people who are the type to get scolded and, I scold myself... I can't make any sense out of the part in bold. Literally I ...
9
votes
1answer
200 views

Why is やりたい放題 used as opposed to やり放題?

A common word in Japanese, meaning "all-you-can-drink", is "飲み放題". It is "放題" - as much as you would like - appended to the verb-stem of "飲む". It is the same rule for instance, for: 食べ放題, 読み放題, ...
6
votes
1answer
104 views

Meaning and usage of 運のツキ

何さ、いやな人たちだね。こんな家に生まれてきたのが運のツキだよ。 What!? I'm an unpleasant person am I? To be born in a house such as this ... Bit confused by the part in bold. 運 means "luck" and ツキ can also mean "luck". So is ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

「私の緊張のあまり」 vs.「私は緊張のあまり」in this sentence?

sentence #1: 自分{じぶん}の番{ばん}が近{ちか}づいてきたとき、私{わたし}は緊張{きんちょう}のあまり頭{あたま}の中{なか}が真{ま}っ白{しろ}になってしまった。 sentence #2: 自分の番が近づいてきたとき、緊張のあまり、私は頭の中が真っ白になってしまった。 sentence #3: ...
3
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2answers
182 views

Meaning of nounってとこ

People are discussing the characters in a comedy show and one of them asks 高木ってとこじゃないの From the context I'm guessing it means "You like Takagi, don't you?" Again the dreaded って. Don't know if ...
3
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1answer
54 views

Meaning of じわれができる

その瞬間、まる子は、地割れができて、AとBとCの三人と、まる子とDとEに分けられてしまったような気がした。 Just then Maruko had a feeling that the group seemd to be divided into the three people A,B,C, and herself and D and E. The only meaning I ...
7
votes
2answers
344 views

“なし” used for both animate and inanimate things?

I was so surprised to read: 孝行をしたい時分に親はなし。 (paraphrase) When one finally wants to truly fulfill the obligation to his/her parents, they often have already passed away. (note): I would have ...
10
votes
5answers
287 views

Why “お食事の際は、…” instead of “ご飯を食べる際は、…”?

In the following, my textbook says that #1 is the correct choice. (1) お食事の 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 (2) ご飯を食べる 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 I think that both are grammatically correct and have the ...
2
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1answer
66 views

can i say “四者択一の問題”?

Since "二者択一の問題" is a multiple choice problem with 2 options, would it be understandable to say: "三者択一の問題" --> multiple choice with 3 options "四者択一の問題" --> multiple choice with 4 options ..... would ...
5
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2answers
197 views

“お調べいただいた上、” vs. “お調べいただき、…”

What is the difference in meaning between: (1) お調べいただいた上、注文通りの品をお送り下さいますよう、お願いします。 (2) お調べいただき、注文通りの品を送り下さいますよう、お願いします。 I understand #2. (2) Upon your looking into the matter, please ...
4
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2answers
136 views

What to say when answering the phone

I'm often unsure what to say when answering the telephone when I am the customer; people usually say their name and then wait for me to say something before stating their business. I'm guessing there ...
1
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1answer
147 views

What do these sentences mean? [closed]

Recently, I heard (in a song) these 3 sentences and I can't translate some words in them. I've tried various translators but I'm still confused, so I hope you can help me. Sentences are. 紡いだ日々もあるよ ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

Farewell message - 悔しさをバネに

On my last day my co-worker told me this. I'm not sure what バネに means. I tried looking it up but didn't get anywhere. ここでの悔しさをバネに、次のとこでもがんばってくださいね
0
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1answer
956 views

'nihongo ga wakarimasen' vs 'nihongo wo hanashimasen' ga and wo usage?

I'm afraid this question might be basic knowledge, but for the life of me, I cannot figure it out: So most of us know the phrase 'nihongo ga wakarimasen' (meaning: I don't understand japanese) but ...
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1answer
87 views

ヤマトナデシコ七変化 translation

What is the meaning of this phrase? I understand the lady and kabuki references but overall, what is it trying to say?
4
votes
2answers
184 views

In Japanese, how do you say you will skip ahead past one section for time's sake while reading aloud to an audience?

How do you succinctly say that you are going to skip ahead past the next section or paragraph for time's sake and tell the audience which spot you are picking up again when reading a paper aloud at an ...
2
votes
1answer
264 views

In Japanese, how do you tell the reader that a quotation is literally translated from the original when the original sounds strange?

In cases where the original wording of a quotation sounds strange, and thus the Japanese translation of it sounds unnatural, my advisor says I need to add a note each time in my academic paper to tell ...
2
votes
0answers
78 views

Does the term 大和撫子 predate WWII, or was there an equivalent term for the ideal Japanese lady?

Does the term 「大和撫子」for describing the ideal Japanese lady predate WWII, or was there an equivalent term before that? These sites here and here indicate that the term was co-opted for propaganda ...
3
votes
1answer
411 views

How do you write “translation mine” in Japanese for academic writing?

When you translate a quoted citation, how do you write "translation mine" in Japanese to let the reader know that it is your own translation rather than an official one (or, to contrast yours to the ...
5
votes
2answers
454 views

How to make comparisons using “like” in japanese?

So take the following (contrived) example in english. A: What does 'plane' mean? B: Which 'plane'? 'Plane' like 'the thing in the sky'? 'Plain' like 'hills on the ground'? Or 'plane' like 'a ...
7
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2answers
156 views

Is “俎板の上の鯉” related to the Vietnamese phrase “như cá nằm trên thớt”?

Is the Japanese phrase "俎板の上の鯉" - a carp laid on a chopping block related to the Vietnamese phrase "như cá nằm trên thớt" - like a fish on cutting board, either because Japanese got the phrase from ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

How should the proverb “能ある鷹は爪を隠す” be understood?

The literal translation of "能ある鷹は爪を隠す" is “The wise hawk hides its talons.” But what should I understand the proverb as meaning? Is it just about humbleness, or about not letting your adversaries ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

The usage of “性【しょう】に合う合わない”

I came across this sentence: 今後の自分には、そういった社交術が必要なのだと頭ではわかっていても、性に合う合わないというのはあるものだ。 Whats the meaning of "性に合う合わない" here? Does it indicate uncertainty or something like that?
1
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1answer
171 views

How do you indicate sections in a report if there are more than 5? (まず、つぎに、さらに、そして、最後に)

If you need to indicate more sections in a report than five (beginning each section with 「まず」、「つぎに」、「さらに」、「そして」、「最後に」 respectively), what word(s) should you use to indicate the start of the additional ...
0
votes
2answers
357 views

Why 'okane o haraimasu'?

In sentences such as: Jana will pay for the drinks. or Will the kids have to pay?. Why is it okane o haraimasu instead of ... o haraimasu? [Correct] Examples: Jana san wa nomimono no okane o ...
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2answers
311 views

What does 形から入る mean?

What does 形から入る mean? What contexts may it be used in? I can't find the phrase in my dictionary. I ran across this in an anime. Transcription of the relevant parts: [麻]{ま}[音]{おん}の父さん ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

「周囲を取り囲む(ように)」, set phrase?

I encountered this phrase and after a bit of Googling, it seems to describe the action of crowding around a particular thing or object (people crowding around someone, trees crowding around a ...
1
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1answer
146 views

translation of 「あえて言えば、…」

What does the phrase 「あえて言{い}えば」 mean? What are a few example sentences? Is the following usage correct: 「好きな日本料理{にほんりょうり}はあんまりないが、あえて言えば 納豆{なっとう}ですね。」 "I don't really like Japanese food, but if I ...
2
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2answers
148 views

Origin and meaning of the proverb 死人【しにん】に 口【くち】 無し【なし】

The proverb 死人【しにん】に 口【くち】 無し【なし】 (the dead do not have a mouth) is listed e.g. here and I've also heard it from my (native) teacher. Here's what I'm wondering: From what I've heard so far, it ...
0
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1answer
121 views

What is the subject of「あけましておめでとう」?

「あける」、 regardless of the kanji, is transitive. Therefore: While the object is「新年」、 what is the subject of「あけましておめでとう」? Regardless of what the subject is, is 「あけましておめでとうございます」 a metaphor?
3
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1answer
141 views

Is there a preferred way to say “If you think about it..?”

What's the best way to say "If you think about it..?" i.e. "If you think about it, this way is better than that way..." Especially when promoting your suggestion as a logically superior suggestion ...
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1answer
140 views

Simple Phrases in Japanese [closed]

I was experimenting with these phrases to check if they could be used in a normal, everyday conversation in Japanese. Do these phrases make sense? Yoroshiku. (Nice to meet you.) Yoroshiku onegai ...
0
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1answer
251 views

Words ending in consonants [duplicate]

Using Hiragana, how would you write a word/transcribe a sound which ends in a consonant? Such as 'kon'. Relevant to this, I don't understand why 'hajimemashite' doesn't pronounce the 'shi' in the ...
0
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1answer
86 views

What's the difference between these two phrases?

I understand that both mean I have a newspaper but I can't see the difference. [僕]{ぼく}は一つ[新聞]{しんぶん}を[持]{も}っています。 [俺]{おれ}は一つ[新聞]{しんぶん}を[持]{も}っている。
3
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2answers
158 views

Is either 霊験 or あらたか used outside the phrase 霊験あらたか?

Is either 霊験【れいげん】 or あらたか used outside of the phrase 霊験【れいげん】あらたか "miraculous"? (I believe れいけん is also a possible reading of 霊験?) The goo辞書 entry for あらたか has 「霊験―な神」 as its example phrase, and the ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

ムダ足だった == useless leg?

When I look up the phrase 無駄足だった, I see it translated as "It was a Wild goose chase." I found this bizarre, since it seems like it would mean "It was a useless foot/leg." is this some sort of figure ...
0
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1answer
95 views

Meaning of せっかく [duplicate]

せっかくだから、色違いでもう一つ買おうかな What is the meaning of せっかくだから here? I had the understanding that せっかく/わざわざ are used to express the notion of someone undergoing lot of effort/pain to do something for us.
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Using 無理 to empathise

無理 seems to be a part of some standard phrases whenever I would wish to empathise with a person who in unwell or in distress. Could someone help with examples of such phrases, and the context where it ...
1
vote
1answer
264 views

Equivalent of “That said, Carthage must be destroyed” in Japanese

"Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam," the famous phrase with which Cato the Elder used to finish all of his speeches, no matter how unrelated the topic was. It was probably an effective ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Understanding a phrase - 必ずやらなければならないことを まとめてみた

I am trying to understand what looks like an expression, but seems too verbose. And I'm confused by the use of まとめてみた. To put it into context, the title of this page in my guide book is ひとめでわかる 攻略チャート ...