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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294 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
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2answers
576 views

Is there a special way of asking hypothetical questions?

I'm not really sure there is an equivalent for hypothetical questions in Japanese, but here's hoping there is. In English, hypothetical questions are generally prefaced by "What would you do if..." ...
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2answers
3k views

What is an equivalent phrase to the colloquial “I know, right!?”

What are the Japanese equivalent phrases for the phrase "I know, right?!" The scenario is my friend said 「PS4には最高だね」, and I'd like to respond with something akin to "I know, right?!" 「でしょ!?」 comes to ...
6
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1answer
185 views

What does 勝つべくして勝った mean?

I came across this phrase while looking at the meaning for べく: 勝つべくして勝った It seems to be a set phrase, but I'm not 100% on the meaning. To win in order to win? To try really hard to win? To be ...
6
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1answer
181 views

Regarding は数あれど (or possibly just あれど )

The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。 あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a ...
6
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2answers
318 views

What does the phrase らしいと言えばらしい mean?

I am reading a book where one character describes another's reading habits, and the person she is talking to says 「らしいと言えばらしいな」. From context, he seems to be saying that her reading habits are ...
6
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2answers
193 views

Anti-causal/Non-causal relationship

How do I form a sentence of these patterns "X does not arise from Y", "X not due to Y", "X not because of Y", "There are other reasons for X". Since obviously I cannot simply slap ない onto から or ので to ...
6
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1answer
183 views

Does もあれば have set phrases?

I came across a sentence using もあれば where there wasn't a conditional. あれば got translated as sometimes: 名詞から動詞が派生していることもあれば、その逆のこともある。 Sometimes a verb is derived from a noun and sometimes it is ...
6
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1answer
232 views

Can I say 行ってきます if I don't plan to come back?

When can I safely say 「行ってきます」when leaving home or another place? How loosely can this phrase be used? Can you use it even if you don't plan to come back until a day/week/month later? If it is going ...
5
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4answers
701 views

“Opposite” of `和製英語`

Is there an "opposite" of 和製英語 (meaning Japanese words/phrases invented by English speakers)? Maybe like {英・米・欧?}製日本語? Because I always see/hear Japanese words in English and they drive me nuts! ...
5
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2answers
407 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 ...
5
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1answer
153 views

What is the background of the phrase 背中で教える, and where does the meaning “to teach with one's back” come from?

I came across this phrase today while doing a lookup on 背中. 背中で教える I checked several sources, and all listed the meaning, amongst others, "to teach with one's back". It seems related to ...
5
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1answer
307 views

Is それが人生{じんせい} , 仕様{しよう}が無{な}い, or something else the most natural equivalent to “that's life”, “c'est la vie”, etc?

For years I have been saying それが人生{じんせい} in Japanese to mean "such is life" / "c'est la vie". In fact English has a few other ways to express the same thing, and so do the other European languages I ...
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1answer
1k views

How to say “Little did I/he/she/they know”?

I found a few examples at ALC, but still not sure about the best way to say it.
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2answers
799 views

How can you express “as long as you want”?

I want to tell my friend that he can stay at my house as long as he wants. I was thinking: 泊まるのは何ヶ日でもいいです。 or 泊まりたい程泊まってもいいです。 What is the correct way?
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1k views

When to use “どうぞよろしくお願{ねが}い致{いた}します。” in a greeting?

Once the context is that we are about to part ways, when I want to say "goodbye" to someone in maximum 敬語{けいご}, I say「どうぞよろしくお願い致します。それでは、失礼いたします。」. Is that usage of 「どうぞよろしくお願い致します」 correct? Is ...
5
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3answers
356 views

How often is だが used in everyday conversation?

I hear often in anime and is translated as "but". And normally, it's at the beginning of the sentence. But I wonder if it used outside of the TV/movie world. For instance, きみ, I hear very often in ...
5
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2answers
184 views

Is there a general way to express how you feel?

For example, while I am running I feel great. This makes me feel happy. When doing lots of work for low wages I feel tired. What are the common ways to express my physiological/psychological state?
5
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1answer
470 views

How to express “more than something”?

I was wondering if there is a form I can use to express "more than X". For example, "reading more than 200 pages a day is a challenge". Or maybe something like, "reading as much as 200 pages a day ...
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3answers
493 views

Significance of ところ in set phrases ところで and ところが

In two conjunctions 「ところで」 and 「ところが」 that mean "by the way / incidentally" and "however / nevertheless" respectively, what is the significance of the word 「ところ」? How does ところ + で give the nuance of ...
5
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1answer
153 views

ご無沙汰いたしました — OK for electronic communications?

In a recent comment exchange on ELU.SE, a Japanese man (my senior in years, and a "guest" in the forum whose questions I had answered regularly for some time, but not much lately as I have been ...
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1answer
242 views

Function of に in 怒るに怒れない [duplicate]

In the book I'm reading, I came across the following sentence: あたしは[怒]{おこ}るに[怒]{おこ}れなくなった。 (furigana added by me) My translation is something like "I couldn't stay angry [at him]". ("My anger ...
5
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1answer
390 views

Can someone further explain the difference between 一緒に and 共に?

This is a follow up to the question “What are the fundamental differences between the ~と一緒に and the ~とともに fragments?” Someone suggested that I post my question as a separate thread. Well, something ...
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3answers
151 views

Which one is correct 会社名前 or 会社の名前?

I'm a beginner in Japanese language. In English, "Company Name" and "Name of Company" are basically the same. In Japanese, are those two the same or different? Which one should I use? 会社名前 会社の名前 ...
4
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2answers
285 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
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2answers
162 views

Emphasis instead of negation in 「そんなバカなことはありません」

In this quote by Akihiro Miwa, 「そんな~ことはありません」 isn't used the way I'd expect it to be: 努力{どりょく}をしない人も[平等]{びょうどう}になどと、そんなバカなことはありません。 It's (extremely?) foolish to treat people who don't make an ...
4
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1answer
177 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 ...
4
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1answer
252 views

Questions on the Japanese equivalent of “window of opportunity”

In English we have a saying "window of opportunity" which means that there is specific time period where a certain event can occur. Based on that expression we talk about a "launch window" when it ...
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2answers
1k views

Thank you for X: ~をありがとうございます

I've often heard this pattern, particularly in things like メッセージ/メール を ありがとうございます。 Since ありがとうございます is an adjective, why is it acceptable to use を in this situation? That seems about as ...
4
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1answer
592 views

What is な-particle doing in `ってなわけで`?

I noticed that ってなわけで is commonly used as a substitute for というわけで in colloquial speeches, but what exactly is the purpose of the な-particle in that phrase? Does it make the context that the phrase ...
4
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1answer
336 views

The phrase 乞うご期待

What does the phrase 乞うご期待 mean in English? Can you show some example sentences?
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2answers
688 views

興味が湧く vs 興味が沸く​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Which kanji should we use for the phrase 興味がわく (to mean that something has caught our interest)? Some quick googling shows that both 興味が湧く (~11m hits) and 興味が沸く (~9m hits) are widely used. Is one of ...
4
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2answers
153 views

Is there a way to say “crisis averted” in Japanese that retains its sarcastic meaning?

You know, as in situations that are clearly not crises. I've looked around but can't find an answer.
4
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2answers
204 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
4
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2answers
181 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 ...
4
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4answers
285 views

Why is 一緒に needed when it's already clear two people will be together?

A father is talking to his kid about their plans tomorrow and says, けんしんくん、お父さんと一緒に買いに行きましょうか? Why not: けんしんくん、お父さんと買いに行きましょうか? (The sentence is supposed to say, "Kenshin, would you like ...
3
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1answer
114 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 ...
3
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1answer
292 views

Politely asking to stay at someone's home? お邪魔させてもらう、泊めてもらう、or 滞在させてもらう?

Which of the following is the most polite? Is any of them incorrect? Is there a more standard way to ask someone if you could stay with them while in town? ~ 8日から9日まで、あなたのお宅にお邪魔させてもらえませんか。 ~ ...
3
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1answer
525 views

Is there a Japanese equivalent of knock-knock jokes?

For those (non-natives, etc.) who maybe aren't familiar, knock-knock jokes are one of the lowest, most basic forms of American "comedy". They follow this format: A: Knock, knock B: Who's ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the Japanese for “I'll check it out, I will try and see”?

I found a form using 見て, and it seemed very useful, but I could never remember it. It means something like "I will try it out" or "I will try and see", and the Japanese form is something like 自転車見て... ...
3
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2answers
147 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 ...
3
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1answer
422 views

End of semester farewell/thanks to teacher

We are approaching the end of this semester at my school. What is a good way to say thank you to my teacher? 「お世話になりましてありかとうございました。」 ? Other suggestions/additions? Thanks.
3
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1answer
89 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 ...
3
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1answer
327 views

How do you break down “かといって”?

In the phrase かといって or かと言って, meaning having said that, on the other hand, I'm not sure what the か and と are. My first guess is that these are the generic particles (か+と+いって), but I couldn't find any ...
3
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1answer
93 views

どういう in Place of Other Question Words

Related: の意味は何 versus はどういう意味 I was wondering why どういう is used in situations like asking for meanings of words, or in something like どういう状況, for "What's going on here?" Does anyone have a good reason ...
3
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1answer
152 views

“~において、…” vs. “~にとって、…” differences?

I'd like to ask about the difference between "~において、..." and "~にとって、...": example #1 アジア地域{ちいき} にとって は、日本{にほん}は超大国{ちょうたいこく}です。 アジア地域 において は、日本は超大国です。 example #2 中国人{ちゅうごくじん} にとって ...
2
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1answer
312 views

Why are こんにちは and こんばんは used for greetings?

If they are translated literally it gives "today is" and "tonight is". Is it some sentence that got shortened ? (Also not sure how to classify this question so forgive me if I used the wrong ...
2
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2answers
209 views

Is there a Japanese saying like その頑張りは、すべてむだというかそういう気持ちになる , related to the working conditions of doctors in a hospital?

On NHK NewsWatch 9 yesterday, they were talking about the shortage of emergency room doctors, and the resulting situations lately where hospitals were forced to turn away emergency patients. In many ...
2
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2answers
154 views

What is the nuance of 鬼 in 「鬼十則」?

吉田秀雄{よしだひでお} created the 鬼十則{おにじっそく} while working for 電通: 仕事は自ら創るべきで、与えられるべきでない。 仕事とは、先手々と働き掛けていくことで、受け身でやるものではない。 大きな仕事と取り組め、小さな仕事はおのれを小さくする。 難しい仕事を狙え、そしてこれを成し遂げるところに進歩がある。 ...
2
votes
2answers
101 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?