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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378 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 ...
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2answers
190 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.
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2answers
1k 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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1answer
373 views

formality issues regarding the 「調子はどうだい?」 greeting

(1) ”元気なの?” and "調子はどうだい?" are pretty much equivalent in meaning and formality, right? The ”元気なの?” being a little feminine because of the "なの"? And, "調子はどうだい?" is rarely / never used by native ...
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3answers
67k views

When is it appropriate to use お疲れ様 (otsukaresama)?

I know the general meaning of using お疲れ様です/でした to express gratitude for some work, but I'm a bit fuzzy about appropriate times to use it. I know it is a common saying when leaving for the day, and ...
9
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3answers
441 views

Is there a set response to 『いらっしゃい!』?

So I was watching 女が階段を上る時 by Mikio Naruse late at night, and heard something that sounded familiar. Alas, I fell asleep and returned the movie before checking (yes there is still a rental store in my ...
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2answers
164 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。 ...
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3answers
222 views

Can ことはない be used to express something other than 'you don't have to'?

I understand that ことはない is used to state that something does not have to be done, such as: 時間は十分あるから急ぐことはない。 However, I am currently translating a survey from Japanese to English for a friend and ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
377 views

What's the difference between 心, 念, and 意?

I can say that after much research on this, I'm more thoroughly confused than before I started. I'm talking mostly about when they are used as suffixes, but the concept applies when they stand alone, ...
5
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1answer
176 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 ...
2
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2answers
231 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 ...
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1answer
440 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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1answer
135 views

Is 「お礼を言う」 considered formal?

I can only think of formal occasions when I have heard "thank you" spoken this way. Is this the case? Could it perhaps also be spoken sarcastically to have the opposite effect?
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2answers
708 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 ...
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1answer
994 views

Fast Food Conversation - Any Practical Guides?

I looked up for fast food conversation but I could not find anything very practical. While most guide always emphasize on how to order, I never found it prepares one to understand what a fast food ...
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1answer
263 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 ...
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3answers
411 views

Can のほうが be omitted when answering a question?

So when people are doing comparisons, do you use のほうが colloquially or even in text? I've seen AとBとどちらのほうが速いですか? and also AとBとどちらが速いですか? And the answers be: AのほうがBより速いです。 AはBより速いです。 Aのほうが速いです。 ...
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2answers
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Expressing the “after [verb]-ing”, using 後で, -てから, 後に, 後から?

It's my understanding that when telling what you did after an action can be said using: た後で てから た後に For instance, さおとめさんが泳いでから私たちはお祭りで会いました。 さおとめさんが泳いだ後{あと}で私たちはお祭りで会いました。 ...
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1answer
258 views

Is there a difference between ことがある and ものがある?

This has been split from this question.. So what are differences between two? Are there times where they can be interchangeable or can they only be used in certain situations? I saw this about ...
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1answer
138 views

How is ものがある used?

So I came across this sentence: あなたをむかえるものがある。 My take on it is: There is a thing that will meet you. I know that's wrong. So how is ものがある used? ADDED: Is there a difference between ことがある and ものがある?
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127 views

Why does 「頭にきた」signify being mad at something?

Is there any source or explanation for the phrase「頭にきた」and why it means to be angry? For example: 彼の言ったこととその言い方にはイライラして頭にきた。 Why does "what he said and the way he said it came to my head" mean ...
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1answer
323 views
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108 views

What does コミュニケーションがとれる mean?

I tried looking up what 「コミュニケーションがとれる」 means, but from the examples that I've seen, all I can understand is that it just means "to communicate". Is there something more to this phrase that I'm not ...
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1answer
2k 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
309 views

What exactly is 「だらし」?

WWWJDIC states that 「だらしない」 can be written with kanji as 「だらし無い」, which suggests that the phrase is a negative construction that uses 「無い」, unlike words like 「すくない」 and 「あぶない」. Furthermore, 「だらしが無い」 ...
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1answer
459 views

Why does 「目がない」mean “something you like”?

I came across the phrase 甘いものに目がない which roughly translates to "having a sweet tooth". Then I wondered why 目がない refers to "something that you like". Is there an explanation for why "having no eyes" ...
8
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1answer
142 views

The expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く

What is the logic behind the similar sounding expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く? Are they idioms? Apple dictionary lists these examples: 後へ引く もう後へは引けない 'It's too late to turn back now.' 'We're in ...
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4answers
295 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 ...
6
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1answer
293 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 ...
6
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2answers
373 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 ...
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2answers
239 views

Does バラの寝床 come directly from the English expression “bed of roses”?

I came across this phrase in a Haruki Murakami short story, and I was wondering if this is just a literal translation of the English phrase? I tried googling the Japanese phrase, but I could only ...
6
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1answer
191 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 ...
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1answer
143 views

Different permutations of 気 [closed]

Lots of words/expressions/phrases use 気 in one way or another. For example 気をつけて, 気味, 気になる, 気がつく, 気がする, 天気 etc... Is there a reference somewhere for the seemingly more "interesting" phrases (like the ...
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2answers
419 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
481 views

“Grammatically-correct” particle-less phrases/sayings

I know that within an informal/familiar setting, people often leave out particles. Whether or not this is grammatically correct I'm not positive, but for the sake of this question, I'll say that it's ...
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1answer
308 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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1answer
591 views

translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”?

After I've say watched a film with some friends (or read a fable or something) and learned something from it, i want to say "It [the teachings of this fable/film] serves as a good reminder for me". ...
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3answers
409 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 ...
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2answers
744 views

When is it appropriate to use ごくろうさま?

I've seen お疲れさま and ご[苦労]{くろう}さま used to say "Thank you" after some had done work of some type. After reading the お疲れさま thread, I realize that the two are not interchangeable. So when do you use ...
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2answers
665 views

Significance of the kanji 茶 in the set phrase 滅茶滅茶{めちゃめちゃ} / 目茶目茶{めちゃめちゃ}

While having fun looking up random words in my dictionary software, I found out that the phrase "めちゃめちゃ", which is often used in colloquial sentences like "めちゃめちゃかわいい" has two kanji variants: 滅茶滅茶 ...
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1answer
238 views

Explain what はめになる is and give some examples

I heard that it means something like "to get stuck with something." Can you explain what this means and give some examples?
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1answer
2k 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... ...
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2answers
163 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
5
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1answer
768 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 ...
9
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1answer
270 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.
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1answer
398 views

How to parse the proverb [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす?

I found this particular proverb on WWWJDIC when I looked up for なんじ : [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす. It is translated into English as: Hardship makes the man. How do we parse the proverb? I know 艱難 ...
5
votes
2answers
197 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?
10
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3answers
469 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...