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

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2
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1answer
229 views

What are the various uses of あまり?

I'm a beginner and I would like to know how あまり is used.
0
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1answer
146 views

About the conditional と

I'm wondering if と, that the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar says lead to a uncontrollable event, is, in addition to this, used with the meanning of a fact that will for sure happen if the ...
3
votes
2answers
168 views

What's the difference between these two instances of “yearning”?

I have these two sentences in my JLPT practise book. They are in different sections, so the book isn't making a deliberate comparison, but I couldn't help but wonder about the similarities. ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

What is 坊 in 朝寝坊する?

I always thought that 坊 in 朝寝坊する was a bit weird. At least in Chinese, 坊 means "small factory". Thus I assumed it was a pun about "went to work at the morning sleeping factory" though it seems a bit ...
5
votes
3answers
254 views

What kind of verbs can the suffix たて (立て) attach to?

Why can -たて attach to some verbs and not others? What is a more precise definition of how to use it? I had been aware of the suffix -たて as meaning 'an action just/newly completed/occurred' for a ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Why the き and さ in the 送り仮名 of 大きい and 小さい?

I've always been puzzled over why 大きい isn't 大い and 小さい is not 小い. Is there some etymological reason? (I'm suspecting historical conjugations that changed the き and さ too, just like why 食べる has the べ ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

Acceptable use of 黄

I've noticed there appears to be a class of Japanese colors which are denoted by -色. Most of these literally translate to "noun-color" (brown = "tea color," grey = "ash color," etc.) It makes sense ...
2
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2answers
250 views

Difference between 移る, 引っ越す and 引っ越しする

I originally learnt 引っ越す to mean "to move house", but my textbook recently told me "移る" was also "to move house". Flaw also mentioned that 引っ越しする meant that too in chat, but that just looks like ...
5
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2answers
242 views

Very confused about “には” in indicating relationships

I read a very detailed and useful answer explaining the difference between "に" and "には" but am still confused about a sentence I recently encountered. 私たちには息子が二人います。 I do not understand the function ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Questions with 辞書形 and raising tone and 辞書形+の?

I was tonight with japanese friends and I noticed they rather used a simple 辞書形 form along with a raising tone to ask a question, although we learned in class that "non-polite" questions were formed ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

What is the difference between しかも and それどころか?

しかも is pretty straight forward: 今度、「一番」ってお店のランチに行こうよ。あそこ、すごくおいしんだよ。しかも量もおおいよ。 Let's go get lunch at Ichiban next time. The food is great, also the servings are big. ...
5
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1answer
136 views

How to read 前 on its own?

For example, when you're on a homepage, and on the bottom, you can go to the previous page with the 前 button and the next page with the 次 button.
3
votes
1answer
92 views

How is “しかい” used in this sentence?

I'm a bit confused about how "しかい" is used in this sentence I came across while studying: そこには私一人しかいなかった。 "I was the only one there." My guess is that it is an ending to "一人", but I couldn't find ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

What are the differences and usage patterns for 常套句, 言い草, 決まり文句, 諺, and 名言?

This is a little bit of an encyclopedic question, but I would like to know what separates the four expressions in the title, i.e., what separates them when they are close to referring to the same ...
2
votes
2answers
287 views

Is マグロ always an insult?

A common insult, or at least, I've always understood it to be an insult, is to describe a woman as a マグロ in bed. Being referred to as マグロ, which is "tuna" in English, implies that a woman just lies ...
1
vote
4answers
508 views

What's the joke in this 4コマ comic?

In this 4コマ漫画{まんが}, a four panel comic, a young attractive woman walks through a station ticket gate, but there's something wrong with her ticket. The station attendant calls after her, first by ...
5
votes
3answers
286 views

What's the difference between [上]{あ}がる and [上]{のぼ}る?

The textbook I'm studying from lists [上]{あ}がる as "to go up", but I've previously learnt that [上]{のぼ}る also means "to go up". Jisho.org only lists "to go up" and any derivations of that as a single ...
1
vote
2answers
179 views

隣村まで足にのばす。Best way to interpret this sentence?

隣村まで足にのばす。 隣村:the neighboring village 足:foot/leg のばす:aside from growing a beard... stretch, extend... The best I could think is that it's like a literary way of saying you're heading out (extending ...
6
votes
1answer
252 views

ぜ at the end of sentence?

What's the meaning of ぜ at the end of sentence? Is ぜ a particle? What's the difference between: おい、逃{に}げるぜ。 and おい、逃{に}げる。 I found a couple of explanations on the web but none I could ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Proper usage of 四字熟語 in Japanese

In Chinese, usage of 四字熟語 a lot usually demonstrates sophistication and things like political announcements etc that want to sounds powerful and sophisticated use a big load of them. What does using ...
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2answers
107 views

~くなりました with ない

For example, if I want to say "(this food has) become not tasty", would the correct way to say that be "おいしくなくなりました"? How would this be distinguished from おいしく亡くなりました, "died tastily", however ...
9
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3answers
682 views

Why censor this one kanji?

I was watching an old Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, called Night of the Moonies, making fun of the Unification Church by putting them in the context of the movie Night of the Living Dead. ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Difference between words for road

I know the following words that all mean a road of some kind: 道 町 街 路 道路 街路 街道 通り 通り道 What's the difference between all these words? I'd assume size would be one of them, but what is the order if ...
2
votes
2answers
603 views

How to playfully scold someone?

I haven't heard from a good friend for a while, I would like to reproach him playfully, but have no clue what the appropriate thing to say would be. Would 恥を知れ! be appropriate if said in a funny ...
5
votes
1answer
309 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?
3
votes
3answers
439 views

Usage of kanji for words usually written in kana

From a small discussion on chat, I currently can think of three categories where the word is usually written in: Hiragana but have kanji (成る, 有る, [炬燵]{こたつ}, etc) Katakana but have kanji ([頁]{ページ}, ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Kanji pairs that mean and are pronounced the same by themselves

I have found several pairs of kanji that are pronounced the same and mean the same when they are used individually: 目 and 眼 足 and 脚 木 and 樹 This especially bugs me because, in Chinese (my native ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

Particles: に vs. で

I have progressed pretty far in Japanese, but when I construct Japanese sentences, I still get these two particles mixed up. For example, when talking about being inside something, I don't know when ...
3
votes
1answer
125 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
votes
1answer
147 views

Alternate meaning of 見えない when used as an expression?

I've always learned that 見えない means "unseen" or "invisible". However, lately I've been seeing quite a few Japanese people in online games that, upon failing to complete some (usually very difficult) ...
3
votes
2answers
338 views

How does the addition of のか to the end of a sentence affect the meaning?

I've always had trouble understanding か (question particle) in casual speech. I read that in casual situations, か can be used to give the sentence an exasperated or sarcastic tone. Like in: 負けっかよ! ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

降参する vs 諦める​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める? Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example: ぜったい降参しない。(I will never give up.) ぜったい諦めない。(I will never give up.) What's the difference ...
2
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1answer
84 views

In which situations do you use 拾う and in which do you use 拾い上げる

I was looking through example sentences in wwwjdic ( http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?11 ) and noticed it uses these, however from looking at the examples, I don't know which one ...
3
votes
3answers
639 views

〜くてform from a verb

I ask here my question because I couldn't find anything on internet. My problem is about 〜くて form for a verb. I asked to a japanese friend what does mean "会いたくて" for example. She told me that there is ...
16
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1answer
401 views

what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
7
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1answer
139 views

What's the difference between まだ and いまだ(に)?

My intuition wants to believe that いまだに is more formal, but all the examples I've seen do not indicate that. Are they freely interchangeable? Can't say I've ever heard いまだに in spoken context (or ...
3
votes
1answer
119 views

火を噴く vs 火を吐く​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 火を噴いて{ふ} and 火を吐いて{は} ? Both seems to mean fire-spitting, like a fire-breathing dragon, but is there any difference in their nuances?
3
votes
2answers
623 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
480 views

Difference between the many words for son and daughter

There are three words to refer to somebody else's daughter (According to my dictionary): 娘さん、お嬢さん、令嬢。 There are also three words to refer to somebody else's son: 息子さん、子息、坊ちゃん。 What are the ...
6
votes
2answers
145 views

Can んだった and んじゃなかった be used like the past version of んだ and んじゃない?

I know that んだった and んじゃなかった can be used to say "Should have done" and "Shouldn't have done". I am wondering, however, if they can be used as a past version of んだ Take for example this conversation: ...
10
votes
1answer
304 views

Why is 間{かん} used to denote some amounts of time but not others?

I've been thinking about how to express a duration of time and how in the past I have added 間{かん} in situations where I found that I shouldn't have. Take the following sentences as examples. ○: ...
14
votes
4answers
531 views

What is the difference between 「食う」 and 「食べる」?

I've often seen 「食べる」 used, when should we use 「食う」 ? Are these two interchangeable ? Can you provide examples ?
4
votes
3answers
485 views

Usage of ~まんねん (関西弁)

Steven Seagal stars in two TV advertisements for the energy drink アリナミン, as seen here and here. In the first commercial he is shown using martial arts two dispatch his opponents, while in the second ...
2
votes
1answer
215 views

Limitations of に for emphasis?

I remember having learning that に can be used for a simple emphasis of the word before it, like so: 私はケーキを食べた - I ate cake 私にはケーキを食べた - I ate cake (the others may or may not have, but I did) ...
2
votes
0answers
154 views

Can't parse なるうるわけ [closed]

The full sentence is 数学的性質をもつ現象はすべてこの科学の対象となるうるわけであるから、それは数限りなくあり、また日々増えていて、これらをもらさず解説することは不可能に近い。 But I can't parse "なるうるわけ". Ignoring that part, I interpret the sentence as "All phenomena with ...
5
votes
1answer
283 views

自分の vs 自らの when used for humans

What's the difference between 自分の and 自らの? Both can be used to mean "oneself", but is there a difference in their nuances / usages? (e.g. what would be the difference between あの子は、自らの命と引換に… and ...
12
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1answer
289 views

Should I say 失礼{しつれい}します before hanging up the phone if the other person called me?

Phone etiquette is one of those things I still struggle with at times, often fumbling because I'm not sure what expression I'm supposed to use at a given time. 失礼します at the end of a phone call is one ...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Translating ならば受け止めて行くまでさ word for word

I'm going for a word-for-word translation of (miss) understood (you can hear the song here, but I'm having trouble with the verse: 今さらきれい事だなんて 聞くつもりも言うつもりもない 痛みは増える一方だろう ...
6
votes
3answers
367 views

Usage of noun-modifying である

I'm pretty sure I understand the usage of「である」 here: ピアニストである私の姉は、いつも手に怪我をしないように気をつけています My sister, a pianist, is always careful not to injure her hands. (My translation) But I'm wondering if ...