How to use certain words, phrases, particles, endings, constructions, and their variants.

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6
votes
2answers
919 views

Using 伯母 / 叔母 to refer to one's aunt

Is it true that when we see 伯母 it usually (90%) means "parent's elder sister" and sometimes (10%) can be used to refer to the parent's younger sister? On the contrary, when we see 叔母 does it always ...
12
votes
3answers
652 views

What is the difference between 残念ながら and 残念なことに

I hear both 残念ながら and 残念なことに when expressing that something was unfortunate before the actual sentence, much like the English "Unfortunately, ...". However, I'm not sure on where these two phrases ...
31
votes
3answers
51k views

でも (demo) versus けど (kedo) to mean “but”

I learned that you can use でも (demo) at the beginning of a sentence to mean "but," and that you can use けど (kedo) at the end of a sentence to mean "though." However, I don't see a difference between ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

もっとも: distinguishing between 尤も and 最も

I found a page in Japanese with title "世界でもっとも汚染された10の都市". Having encountered the phrase 「もっとも」 for the first time, I looked it up on WWWJDIC and found two entries: 尤も 【もっとも】 (adj-na,adv,conj,n) ...
9
votes
1answer
965 views

Difference between 「 ただ」, 「たった」, 「ただ ~だけ」, and 「ただし」

I translate these words as either "only, just, simply". I'd like to know how I could differentiate these 4 ways (i.e., when I use that one, and when I use the other). Examples: たったひとつの恋 ...
10
votes
4answers
883 views

is it offensive to say あなた?

My teacher says that we should avoid あなた, like わたし, which could be taken off. Following this, I try to refer to the second person by the name: 加藤さんの趣味は何ですか. But there are situations where we forget ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

Usage and means of 向き

The following sentences are difference usage of 向き which have different meanings. Why do they differ? この本は初心者向きである。 This book is suitable for beginners. 逆さまに向きを変えてください。 Please turn over.
9
votes
1answer
349 views

Difference between 向け and 向き

My boss just corrected one of my documents from 企業向きな開発 to 企業向けの開発. Apart from the の/な problem that I always get wrong, is there a problem with 向き ? I got it from my textbook that says 子供向きです Could ...
9
votes
1answer
534 views

Usage and meaning of [passive verb]-てみれば

I am familiar with the set phrase 「言われてみれば」 as a way to say "Now that you say that", but as I examine the phrase further, the phrase structure strikes me as strange. The 〜てみる conjugation is commonly ...
7
votes
1answer
286 views

Is there any difference between 意外に and 意外と?

I hear 意外に and 意外と used frequently to mean "moreso than I thought." They seem to be interchangeable. Example: 意外と簡単でした = Easier than I thought Are they both grammatically correct? Is there a ...
6
votes
1answer
352 views

Is it true that only girls use うち to refer to themselves?

Is it true that only girls will use うち to refer to themselves? So when a guy say うち he is referring to his in-group / company / family, and not referring to himself, right?
7
votes
1answer
282 views

When and how to use 来る 【きたる】

Of course 来る is most often read as くる. However, it can also be read as きたる. Is きたる mostly an archaic reading? Does it carry a different, or any additional meanings?? When are "appropriate" ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Fun with synonyms - “freeze”

I'm a little confused on the difference between 凍る 【こおる】 and 凍える 【こごえる】. From what I've researched, it seems like 凍る focuses more on the physical process of something freezing, and the result being ...
4
votes
1answer
269 views

「Verb + たら」always have ambiguous meanings?

I agree that ~たら is one practical tool that could express lots of meanings. but sometimes it became one problem for students of japanese. If I say: 日本に行ったら、友達を訪ねます。 it's : If I go to Japan, I ...
6
votes
2answers
611 views

Verbs + ところ / Verbs + とこ / Verbs + ばかり

I learnt: 食べるところ:about to eat. 食べているところ:in the middle of eating. 食べたところ:just ate. 食べたばかり:just ate. I would like to know if I can change ところ for とこ in spoken language. and if there is any ...
10
votes
1answer
585 views

歩{ある}く vs 歩{あゆ}む

I always know that 歩く is the verb to use when talking about walking. But I'm aware the kanji 歩 has another verb 歩む. In WWWJDIC, the example sentence given is: ビルはあの会社の社長になるまで成功への道を歩み続けた。 Bill ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

Fun with synonyms - “evaluation/investigation/etc.”

Explain the differences in the following vocabulary. They all essentially mean some form of investigation, inspection, etc. Please don't just write the definitions; I'm lost on how they differ, when ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

When describing time span, are 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} interchangeable?

Both 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} can be used to describe time span relative to specific situations, similar to "while" in English. But are they interchangeable all the time? Are there any scenarios where one ...
2
votes
1answer
464 views

Plain verbs vs [conjunctive form 連用形]+をする (e.g. 間違える vs 間違えをする)

(Question 1) Are there any differences in nuance and usage of conjunctive form of verb (連用形) + をする compared to the plain form of those verbs whose conjunctive forms can be used as nouns? For ...
10
votes
2answers
218 views

How to use イコール to compare things? How is it different from 同じ?

I've heard sometimes that イコール is used sometimes to imply that things are similar. What would be a correct expression to use イコール? Furthermore, how is it different from using 同じ to say that things are ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

the difference between じゃん (jan) and だろう/でしょう (darou/desho)

I would like to know what's the difference of じゃん and だろう/でしょう. the meaning I know it's similar, but when I should use each of them? Is it same to say: これはすごいじゃん! = これはすごいでしょう! = これはすごいだろう! ...
14
votes
2answers
559 views

Why do 適当 and いい加減 refer to both considerate and inconsiderate things?

I understand that 適当【てきとう】 can mean both "appropriate" and "whatever/vague". How do you know 適当な人を教えてください means "please inform me of the appropriate person" as opposed to "please tell me about ...
5
votes
3answers
190 views
6
votes
2answers
215 views

I've seen 達人and 名人used to indicate master or expert. What's the difference?

I'm not familiar with either word, but just looking at the characters, 達人 would seem to indicate 'accomplished' (ie an accomplished pianist). While 名人 seems more like 'renowned'. Is that a valid ...
11
votes
1answer
722 views

How do you do a countdown?

For example, when JAXA launches a rocket, or people count the seconds to the New Year, do they use し or よん to count 4? do they use しち or なな to count 7?
6
votes
3answers
184 views

Does the use of は or omitting は affect the listener's reply?

This is a question taken from a JLPT excercise workbook. Person A: 新聞をよく読みますか。 Person B: そうですね。毎日は[Fill in this blank]。 I am given 4 choices, of which only 2 are conjugated correctly. ...
1
vote
3answers
381 views

Ending a sentence in ぞと

One of the people I follow on twitter sometimes ends his sentences in ぞと. Is this just a more polite form of ぞ? Here's an example: ブログUPしましたぞと♪(´ε` )
2
votes
3answers
162 views

What is a 割り込みタスク?

One of my coworkers todays said something like: "Today I have too many 割り込みタスク so I cannot pay too much attention to this project" Literally translating it into "interrupting tasks" sounds ...
9
votes
1answer
511 views

Qualitative intensifiers e.g. とても, とっても, 超, etc. How are they different?

How are とても/とっても, でかい/でっかい, 超 (and others that I have yet to encounter) used differently? I figured that for とても/とっても-type difference is that the double-consonant(geminated) version is stronger i.e. a ...
6
votes
1answer
289 views

ぼちぼち - related words

I am at present rigorously studying 擬音語/擬態語 (an entire world of its own!). The definition my book has for ぼちぼち (also ぼつぼつ) is: 1. Gradually; slowly but steadily 2. Used to describe something that is ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is usually written at the end of a slides presentation to imply “Thanks for listening”?

I've seen this phrase a couple of times but couldn't read the Kanji so I don't remember it. Otherwise, what phrase would be good to include in the last slide to imply "Thanks for listening!"? For ...
10
votes
2answers
380 views

What are some well known exceptions for 居る (いる) and 有る (ある)?

Today I heard 人形がいる, so I googled around because I thought 居る was only for living things, but I found many examples of this usage. Many for 人形がある as well. Are there other exceptions for いる/ある?
6
votes
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
209 views

Is a computer displaying “インストールしています” correct? Weird?

I just noticed that Windows is using "…をインストールしています" while installing something. The use of "〜います" by a computer strikes me as slightly weird, like too literal a translation leading to overdone ...
10
votes
4answers
556 views

Greeting for meeting a friend by chance

How can I greet a person in a manner similar to "Nice to find you in here!" (— meaning meeting a friend by chance somewhere)?
10
votes
2answers
808 views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
13
votes
2answers
361 views

Usage of 「ごめんください」

In all the anime and j-drama I have watched all these years, as far as I can remember, the only scenario where the greeting 「ごめんください」 is used is when the characters are in front of an ajar or open ...
11
votes
1answer
933 views

“slightly/somewhat” の 「~[目]{め}」: Usage and limitations

I'm somewhat confused about the usage and limitations of the ~め suffix that means "somewhat/slightly". I've only ever heard it on a handful of words: 大きめ 小さ目 多め 少な目 早め and maybe a ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between 少{すこ}し (sukoshi) and 小{ちい}さい (chiisai)?

What's the difference between 少{すこ}し (sukoshi) and 小{ちい}さい (chiisai)? In what situations would I use each one?
7
votes
2answers
150 views

When do you use -san about a company?

I assume you don't -san about the company or organization that employs you, on the grounds it'd be akin to using it about your own family members. But when is it usually used? Is it merely when ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

How do you respond to thanks given?

How do you respond to ありがとうございます and other ways of giving thanks? Are there any expressions similar to the English "You're welcome" or "No problem", or is it appropriate to not respond at all?
5
votes
1answer
425 views

What's the difference in usage between に対して and にとって?

I often used に対して when speaking, and have noticed にとって as the favorite expression of the author who's book I'm now reading. What's the difference in usage? Are there any other similar expressions I ...
10
votes
2answers
776 views

Ending a sentence with さ

When is it appropriate to put さ at the end of a sentence? Do women say this also? I think I remember seeing a female character say it in an anime.
13
votes
1answer
6k views

How would I say “Get well soon”?

Last summer my family hosted a Japanese exchange student for two weeks, and we've kept in touch with her a lot. Unfortunately, about 2 months ago I found out she had Leukemia. She said she'll ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

あまり meaning “too much”

When using あまり in the sense of "too much" (as opposed to "not very"), until recently I had always seen it as あまりにもA, with A being the thing that there was too much of. I never really tried to relate ...
10
votes
2answers
206 views

How does one use the “[V ます stem] に [Vタ]” pattern (as in 待ちに待った)?

Every now and then I hear 待ちに待った, as in: 待ちに待ったライブ a long-awaited concert I started wondering if this pattern can apply to other verbs, and it certainly seems to, if Google is any indication. I ...
10
votes
4answers
461 views

correctness of い adjective + です

Generally, in all Japanese language classes, the rule you're taught is that です does not follow い adjectives. Instead, い adjectives can act like stative verbs, and as such terminate a sentence by ...
26
votes
3answers
711 views

Do 以上 and 以下 include the number preceding them?

I was having a discussion with a colleague and we couldn't recall how they both worked. Does 一人以上 mean a) 1 or more persons or b) more than one person?
6
votes
2answers
155 views

what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ?

I was wondering what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ? (E.g. If I want to tell my friend not to worry about a test (albeit an important test), is it more appropriate to use ...
4
votes
3answers
174 views

ambiguity with すっと

WWWJDIC says すっと means "quickly / all of a sudden" yet it can also mean "quietly / gently / softly" So basically I was wondering how do we tell if すっと means "quickly / all of a sudden" or "quietly / ...