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

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1answer
175 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
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2answers
326 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
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1answer
188 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 ...
10
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3answers
748 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. ...
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2answers
717 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 ...
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3answers
596 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
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1answer
180 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 ...
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1answer
131 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 ...
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1answer
157 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
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2answers
465 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! ...
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1answer
87 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 ...
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1answer
140 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 ...
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3answers
869 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 ...
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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? ...
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1answer
162 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 ...
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1answer
487 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?
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2answers
656 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 ...
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1answer
626 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 ...
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2answers
167 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: ...
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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?
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1answer
228 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) ...
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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 ...
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3answers
276 views

What are the usages of のだから?

I'm reading a book and I came across a usage of のだから I couldn't really understand. The whole sentence is: その上に[無慮]{むりょ}百に及ぶ階層が積み重なっているというのだから、[茫漠]{ぼうばく}とした広大さは想像を絶する。 My translation to it was ...
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1answer
309 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 ...
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3answers
514 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 ...
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1answer
342 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 ...
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1answer
133 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 ...
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3answers
416 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 ...
4
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2answers
256 views

餌食 vs 獲物​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 餌食{えじき} and 獲物{えもの}? Both mean "prey", so how do we decide when to use which? What is the difference in their nuances?
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1answer
194 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 ...
5
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1answer
168 views

勤め vs 役目​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 勤め and 役目? Both seems to mean duty (something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation), but what is the difference in their nuance and ...
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2answers
340 views

What is the subject when time passes in a narrative (eg 1ヶ月を経る)

(This might be a quick easy question but sometimes the answers to these are unexpected.) What is the subject in the following sentences? I've given my best efforts for the examples 1-4 below. (I am ...
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1answer
399 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. ○: ...
4
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2answers
289 views

Usage of けど / でも

I've heard けど / でも has to be placed after the part that contradicts the other part. I never heard of it actually as I learned it by context and not by grammar rules. Is it true, or does it depend ...
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1answer
123 views

言わない VS 言わなくない A negative verb conjugated as an adjective?

While reading a text in Japanese, I came up with the phrase "何も言わなくなったから" I don't understand what the ~くない stands for. As far as know is used as the negative for of an adjective... but 言う is a verb! ...
5
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1answer
191 views

What does うんたらかんたら mean?

I recently heard this phrase being told in a show, but I just couldn't make sense of what it means...And what really caught my attention was that the listener was really surprised to hear this phrase ...
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4answers
314 views

How to translate: “Keep/leave something”. So, how to express intention to leave something unchanged

Consider questions like: Please leave the door open, thanks! Could you please keep the lift's doors open? Thankyou Please, leave it as it is. They all imply something common: not changing the ...
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3answers
107 views

Omitting ようだ at the end of a sentence

父はデジタルカメラの講習を受けに行ったが、あまりの難しさにびっくりしたようだ。 So this sentence is saying, "my dad went to take a short course on digital cameras, but it was difficult to the point of surprising him." Could you say ...
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1answer
254 views

How to use いかがですか?

So I've read that いかがですか means "How about it?" and "How is it?". So if I wanted to say, "How's the coffee?" would it be コーヒーはどうですか? or  コーヒーはいかがですか? Also is there an "informal" way of saying いかがです?
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2answers
314 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
406 views

How do you say “Please tell your wife to get well soon”?

How do you convey that you wish someone's wife (or husband, mother, brother, etc.) to get well soon? I understand that you say お大事に if the person you speaking to directly is the one who is not well. ...
3
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1answer
184 views

Why can 髪の毛 only refer to hair on your head?

I've never really understood why there is a difference between 髪の毛 and 毛 when talking about hair on one's body. What is it about 髪 that makes it only relevant in the context of having "hair on the ...
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6answers
512 views

Greeting a person over the internet

So I was wondering, how do japanese people greet each other when they are, for example, writing on a blog or recording a video? My doubt comes from the fact that their greetings will be directed ...
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1answer
125 views

「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋

Is there any relation between 「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋? And how about those kanji, are they using same kanji for both? If there are the same kanji, I would like to know their etymology, ...
6
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2answers
405 views

What's the difference between 上る、登る and 昇る?

According to jisho.org, they all have the same meanings, to climb, to rise, to ascend. Is that true? And do they have differences in usage?
3
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2answers
247 views

Is ruby text essential?

I am trying to understand whether the ruby text in ancient scripture is essential to the meaning of a verse, or if the scripture can be understood without it. For instance, can this verse: be ...
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2answers
201 views

What does 不可とする mean?

On the subject of real-time OS's, I read this sentence: 割り込みを一時的に不可(マスク)とする。 Where 不可 apparently means "to mask". I can understand that "割り込み masks something", but I can't understand "不可とする" ...
6
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1answer
188 views

How do we roll a ball along a street from A to B?

This question is a follow up to この道をまっすぐ行ってください。Why “を” and not “で”? posted earlier. If: 道で転ぶ = fallover on the road ボールが道を転がる = a ball rolled along the street 〜を転がす = roll something ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Are the 4-byte UTF-8 Kanji rare enough that I can ignore them?

I'm writing a programming algorithm which converts code points of Kanji characters to their respective UTF-8 octets. My problem is, if I don't include 4-octet characters, and only deal with 3-octet ...