Tagged Questions

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

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9
votes
5answers
384 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
425 views

What is the meaning of りゃ in this phrase?

I came across this phrase while reading an interview. そういう時はなんて答えりゃいいんだ。 I think it means "At a time like that, such a reply/response is good." But I don't understand the usage of りゃ . I couldn't ...
1
vote
1answer
246 views

“Possession” of time: 時間 or 時?

I'm a bit confused in the usage as "possession" of time. I know 時間 is time and 時 would be more like when, but... Some thing's time would be Jikan or toki? If it was someone, would it still be the ...
2
votes
1answer
154 views

Simple questions on 明け方

So 明け方 means "dawn," but if looked at more closely, is the literal meaning of 明け方, "in the direction of dawn"? I think this is wrong, but I can't remember which meaning of 方 is taken here. Is it ...
2
votes
1answer
334 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.
2
votes
2answers
319 views

Difference between 〜っぽい, 〜がち, and 〜やすい?

From what I understand, 〜っぽい, 〜がち, and 〜やすい all seem to suggest that someone has a general tendency towards doing something. It seems that 〜っぽい and 〜がち can attach to a noun or to the 連用形 of a verb, ...
2
votes
2answers
621 views

Why are Japanese song lyrics often so seemingly ungrammatical?

For example, Natsukawa Rimi's 島唄 has this has most of the verbs in plain 連用形 with no apparent reason: でいごの花が咲き 風を呼び 嵐が来た でいごが咲き乱れ 風を呼び 嵐が来た くり返す悲しみは 島渡る波のよう ウージの森であなたと出会い ...
0
votes
1answer
170 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
191 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
99 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
177 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
348 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
135 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between 忘れてた and 忘れちゃった

Who knows the difference between 忘れてた and 忘れちゃった? In what kind of situations you use each of those?
2
votes
2answers
311 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
votes
1answer
154 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.
2
votes
1answer
158 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
105 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
344 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
383 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
182 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
473 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
534 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
180 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
340 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
779 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
763 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
655 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
189 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
136 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
161 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
507 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! ...
3
votes
1answer
88 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
1answer
143 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
982 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference between 大事 (daiji) and 大切 (taisetsu)?

These are two words that seem like they are basically interchangeable at most levels, as they generally are. The difference between them appears to be small, but what is the difference, if one exists? ...
7
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
530 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?
4
votes
2answers
671 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
680 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
182 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: ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

火を噴く vs 火を吐く​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 火を噴いて{ふいて} and 火を吐いて{はいて}? Both seems to mean fire-spitting, like a fire-breathing dragon, but is there any difference in their nuances?
2
votes
1answer
231 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
157 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 ...