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".

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
707 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
votes
2answers
205 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
votes
2answers
189 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
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
430 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
147 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
votes
1answer
529 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
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
3
votes
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... ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

ことわざ for staying out of things you don't understand

Is there a ことわざ which means "don't talk about things you don't understand"?
3
votes
2answers
160 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
votes
1answer
646 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。」 ? Are there any other suggestions/additions?
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
136 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) ...
3
votes
1answer
245 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
175 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
votes
1answer
377 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
votes
1answer
987 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
126 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
94 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
votes
1answer
221 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
votes
1answer
333 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
votes
3answers
246 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Can you say “よい夢へ” instead of “よい夢を”?

I saw this message created by a native speaker:「よい夢{ゆめ} を 」. That seemed strange to me. I would have expected: 「よい夢 へ 」. My thinking right now is that: 「よい夢を」 is a straight contraction of ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
154 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
votes
2answers
176 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 ...
2
votes
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。 ...
2
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
284 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
2answers
135 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?
2
votes
2answers
217 views

meaning of “目{め}に見えるほど、〜”

I wanted to say: "As best can be predicted, economic conditions will continue to worsen" I tried: 見{み}える ほど、景気{けいき}が悪くなっているようです。 分析{ぶんせき} できるほど、景気が悪くなっているようです。 推測{すいそく} できるほど、景気が悪くなっているようです。 ...
2
votes
1answer
89 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". ...
2
votes
1answer
232 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?
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Do 「AとしてのB」 and 「BとしてのA」have symmetry?

「AとしてのB」 might translate as "B as A"? 「BとしてのA」 might translate as "A as B"? Is there a meaningful difference between the two. I was just thinking about how to explain how to write documents in ...
2
votes
1answer
231 views

On the two equivalents on maps of “you are here” (現在地{げんざいち} and 現在位置{げんざいいち})

I've noticed on my travels around Japan that on maps there are two ways of indicating the viewers position in the manner of the English "You are here": 現在地{げんざいち} is common on maps in Japan, and ...
2
votes
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?
2
votes
1answer
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
91 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
2
votes
1answer
211 views

The の in のに and なのに

I've heard that the の in のに and なのに is the general-noun の (I don't remember the word for it.). So why, in that light, does the meaning of the two make sense?
2
votes
2answers
529 views

Share your list of stock phrases / phrase templates

Do you keep a list of set phrases that you use often, or phrases that you'd use someday? I do. Here's mine, a list of phrases I've collected from work emails since three years ago. Such a list, while ...
2
votes
0answers
84 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
122 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

difference between “田中さんのこと” and just “田中さん”? [duplicate]

I'd like to compare the meanings of: 田中{たなか}さんを尊敬{そんけい}している。 田中さんのことを尊敬している。 Are the following statements true? -#2 has a much broader meaning, right? Like, I respect Tanaka as a man, a ...
2
votes
1answer
364 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
189 views

why isn't “そなわち” in dictionaries? what does it mean?

I am pretty sure that I have heard the phrase "そなわち" used to begin sentences. Googling "そなわち" returns about 35,000 pages. Just like I remember, most use "そなわち" as a phrase at the beginning of a ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Rain on your parade [closed]

How can I say something like "I hate to rain on your parade, but..." In Japanese? If there is no equivalent then kindly teach me how to say "Sorry to disappoint you, but..." Thanks!!!
1
vote
1answer
177 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 ...