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

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5answers
356 views

When is a door a ドア and when is it a [扉]{とびら}?

I've been in Japan for the summer and noticed that the announcement for the closing doors (in the Kansai area, at least) is always 扉が閉まります. However, the equivalent announcement on buses appears to be ...
9
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2answers
180 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 ...
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2answers
267 views

Why do some Japanese men use お袋 to address their mothers?

I often hear Japanese males use the word お袋 in place of お母さん when annoyed or irritated. Is this word slang? How did this word come to mean 「お母さん」 and what are the circumstances it is used in? I am ...
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2answers
468 views

What is the difference between 悪い and だめ?

What is the difference between 悪い and だめ? They're not really the same, but in English they both can be translated to "bad". あの人が悪い。In my limited experience, this is bad in the sense of evil. ...
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1answer
439 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 ...
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1answer
717 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 ...
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1answer
364 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 ...
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2answers
358 views

Confusion about “Seemingly not ~”

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": 1)  ~なさそう 2)  ~そうにない 3)  ~そうもない 4)  ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in ...
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181 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 ...
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2answers
464 views

お金と「ちょうど」の使い方 (usage of “chōdo”)

What is the reason/meaning for cashiers to use ちょうど when accepting money? 500円ちょうどいただきます。 This I understand, since 500 Yen are a "round" amount. "Exactly 500 Yen." 812円ちょうどいただきます。 If I'm ...
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1answer
283 views

How figurative can 姿 be?

I've always thought of 姿 as a physical form or shape, but I came across this passage from my book: 彼らの話から浮かびあがってきたのは、・・・・・{この人}の姿だった。 (I took just took out some descriptions of the woman they're ...
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1answer
362 views

When to use 頂戴します instead of いただきます?

In rather formal situations, when would you use 頂戴します ? I use いただきます all the time to express the fact of receiving something, but I just heard a colleague using 頂戴します over the phone. If I understand ...
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0answers
251 views

Thoughts about event frequencies and “often enough”

I'm having trouble expressing the concept of "not often enough". The most basic way to say "often" is よく, but I think there's a problem in putting qualifiers on this word. For instance, expressing ...
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2answers
311 views

Do people use まい?

I see the ending まい all over the place in the JLPT books and in example phrases but I can't actually think of an example of somebody saying it or writing in an email (from SMS style messages to work ...
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2answers
417 views

Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」

I think it's known that some intransitive verbs can take を particle and be used as transitive verbs such as for example 「私のことを分かってくれない」. While using 分かる transitively would require specific scenarios ...
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2answers
306 views

Is 君 (きみ) obsolete as a way to call your romantic partner?

In many love songs, the singer calls their partner 君 (きみ). But is this used by couples in real life, as of 2013? Should this word be considered obsolete, or is it still seeing some use outside of the ...
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464 views

what's the difference between ところで and ちなみに ?

what's the difference between ところで and ちなみに ? Are they always/often/seldom interchangeable?
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2answers
302 views

What's the substitute word for missing/unimportant part of sentence?

Sometimes there are situations when you'd like to describe someone saying something, but what exactly he says is less important than the rest of sentence and it can be easily ignored. Or in case when ...
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3answers
341 views

What conjugation/form is the ませ (for example: いらっしゃいませ)?

I know it's used for greetings in a restaurant or store. But what type of verb conjugation (ex: polite, plain, honorific, imperative, or something else) is it? Is it used with other verbs? Is it ...
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3answers
380 views

When should 男の人/女の人 be used instead of 男/女?

My teacher always corrects me when I use 男 or 女 by themselves, without adding の人 to the end of it. But in various Japanese media (music, drama, anime, etc.), I know for sure that I have heard them ...
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1answer
2k views

What are the meanings of ~とも [tomo] and ~かしら [kashira]?

Sometimes I think: ~とも came from ~と思う ~かしら came from ~かしらん(知らない) It's possible I'm wrong, so I would like to know the real meaning of those suffixes. Also, I'd like to know when I can use them ...
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3answers
467 views

How rude is it to say 寝ぼけてるんじゃねぇよ!

I've heard this used (also as 寝ぼけんじゃねぇよ!) in informal situations with nothing but smiles all around. But when I tried to use it in an informal situation with a colleague, I got the distinct feeling ...
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1answer
840 views

What does ただいま actually mean?

I was wondering what the literal translation really means. I've seen it translated as I'm home but I've also seen it in a few situations where the person wasn't arriving home.
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2answers
356 views

How do you say “just curious” or “out of curiosity”?

In English, I often say "I'm just curious, but...". The best phrase I've come up with for this in Japanese is 「[好奇心]{こうきしん}だけですが・・・」 but I've never heard a native speaker use this. I recently ...
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143 views

sometimes だけ gets mildly confusing..

If someone says それだけ、食べないでください, does it mean: Please don't eat only that [eat other things too!] or [You can eat anything you like but] only that, please don't eat it. What about それだけ、たべてください? ...
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1answer
315 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
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818 views

Are there various ways to use ~し?

The many ways to say “and” in Japanese thread showed me that ~し, ~し can be used give reasons for something. この部屋は綺麗だし広いし間取りもいいから人気がある。This room is clean, wide and also good partition, so most of ...
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395 views

When the agent takes を in the causative form

I've seen a few sets of terminology when referring to the causative form, so for the basic case, I will use the following: instigator が agent に 〇〇 を v-させる。 In its most basic, text-book form, we have ...
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1answer
112 views

Does 「鳴く」 give any nuances about the sound being made?

When we say "birds singing", there is a positive connotation. When we say "birds crowing", there is a negative connotation. "The birds are making some sound" seems to be objective, and thus neutral. ...
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1answer
898 views

得意とするところ explanation?

As far as I'm aware this expression means "(a persons) strong points', but I'm not sure how とする is being used in this context. My best guess would be something like "the thing (a person) tries to do ...
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1answer
317 views

Use of を and に with 頼る (to depend on)

Why is the direct object taking を in (1) and に in (2)? What are basic rules that drive these two sentence constructions? (1) 叔母は父を頼っている 'My aunt is counting on my father's help.' (2) ...
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1answer
471 views

When to use 他【ほか】の or 他【ほか】に

I always thought only 他の existed, but my teacher uses 他に a lot. Are there differences between when each can be used? Here are two examples of each from my online dictionary: だれかほかの人に聞いてごらん (Ask ...
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1answer
423 views

How did the verb 掛ける come to have many meanings?

I think that this verb is the only one I've seen in Japanese that has so many definitions. とる and つく have multiple definitions as well (quite a bit IIRC). But not as much as 掛ける. In any case, I am ...
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190 views

島人{とうじん} vs 島民{とうみん}

I was looking for a word to say islander, i.e. someone that lives/was born in an island. I've come across 島人 and 島民 and asked two native speakers about their user meaning. While they both agreed that ...
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3answers
1k views

When to use 早速ですが

I usually hear 早速ですが used as a phrase in the office. After looking on examples in the net, it somehow mean "Well then" in English. Is the phrase just the same as "じゃ" or "では"? For example: ...
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2answers
479 views

Difference between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから

What is the difference in usage between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから? Is there a sense of sequence implied in one and not the other? In the following examples where would i be buying the book and where ...
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334 views

Why is there a 分 in 自分?

I didn't find anywhere why is the minute's kanji there in 自分? Is it because a meaning of 分 is "part". Please clarify.
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694 views

what is the past tense of お腹が空いた?

if お腹が空いた means "I'm hungry", then what would be the past tense of お腹が空いた since (i think) it's already in the past tense?
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2answers
289 views

What is the meaning of 〜たりして?

I've just come across "〜していたりして" at the end of a sentence in a post on Facebook, so it's probably very casual. Does anyone know the correct meaning and typical usage?
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1answer
132 views

Difference between various “calculation” words (演算, 算出, and 計算)

Is there a difference in usage between these words? 演算 (えんざん) 算出 (さんしゅつ) 計算 (けいさん)
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2answers
249 views

Is ほんの一瞬【いっしゅん】だけ redundant?

When using the phrase ほんの一瞬, I somehow feel compelled to insert だけ afterwards. This seems to be somewhat common (over one million hits for "ほんの一瞬だけ" on Google), but does it seem silly in terms of ...
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3answers
247 views

Is「ふむふむ」still used nowadays?

I learned from a Japanese friend that ふむふむ could be translated like "oh, I got it", "I see", "I know", or "ok". It could be also in this form: ふむふむ なるほど But, my sister lived in Japan for 5 years, and ...
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3answers
569 views

低い鼻 vs 短い鼻 and 高い鼻 vs 長い鼻 ?

After reading this thread: When would you use 低い vs 短い, I'd just thought of something. I once heard that a long nose (witch / Pinocchio) is called 高い鼻 and not 長い鼻 whereas the opposite (short nose) is ...
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2answers
410 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
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1answer
202 views

Is “かいしゅん” a valid reading for 買春?

I have seen the words 売春 and 買春 pronounced "ばいしゅん". From my understanding 売春 is taken from the perspective of the "seller" whereas 買春 is taken from the perspective of the "buyer". However, when I ...
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2answers
763 views

What is the difference between 見える/聞こえる and 見られる/聞ける?

In Japanese, there is a potential form to express that it's possible for something to be done. My own examples of potential form: 辛【から】い食【た】べ物【もの】が食【た】べられる。 (I can eat spicy foods.) ...
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1answer
363 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?
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1answer
170 views

What's the difference between 下りる and 降りる

My current understanding is that 下りる means to go down, for example, 階段を下りる (Go down the stairs); while 降りる means to get off some form of transport, for example, 飛行機から降りる (Get off from the aeroplane). ...
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1answer
140 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 ...
7
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1answer
337 views

How to use やんの?

Here is an example from the comic GANTZ. (This should be fair use of the image at least in the US as it's for scholarly commentary.) It's easy to tell that emphasis is being added, and the speaker is ...