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

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936 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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255 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 ...
7
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3answers
262 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 ...
7
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3answers
574 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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1answer
205 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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1answer
456 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
134 views

(Ordering food) difference between なし and 抜き

What is the difference between endings なし and 抜【ぬ】き when you want to exclude a certain ingredient from food? Aside from 凍【こお】りなし when ordering soft drinks, I thought that for most other things 抜【ぬ】き ...
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206 views

what's included in 迷信?

The J>E dictionaries I've consulted translate 迷信 as "superstition", but cross-checking in Daijirin the definition doesn't seem to explicitly reference the supernatural, instead referring to the lack ...
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1answer
202 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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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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413 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 ...
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2answers
484 views

Concretely, on what scenarios should I say either お世話になっています or いつもお世話になっております?

Furthermore, what is its different in meaning between the both? When I was in training as a fresh graduate at a Japanese company, they told me to use いつもお世話になっております all the time and so I did. But ...
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1answer
353 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 ...
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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
208 views

What does 意外と mean?

I heard the expression [意]{い}[外]{がい}といい in a video. I know that 意外に expresses something you didn't expect: 意外においしいよ。 It's delicous! (and I didn't expect that) Why did I hear 意外と instead of ...
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1answer
201 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" ...
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1answer
144 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
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1answer
185 views

Can 一杯 be used to express the fullness of things without physical volumes?

According to an answer to this question, the word [一杯]{いっぱい} can be used to expess fullness; especially in relation to the capacity of whatever is containing the quantity. This, however, tends to ...
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2answers
254 views

What does それに伴い at the start of a sentence mean?

I have a sentence that starts with それに伴い which I'm trying to translate. I'm assuming that it's a more polite version of それに伴って. My best guess for the meaning would be "With regard to (a previous ...
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4answers
301 views

The difference between 超{こ}える, 越{こ}える and 過{す}ぎる

超{こ}える, 越{こ}える and 過{す}ぎる are said to mean "to pass through" in the "edict" dictionary, but I don't fully understand the difference between the three. How does their usage differ please? Can anyone ...
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143 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 ...
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251 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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200 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" ...
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1answer
904 views

と、て、って Quoting Particle Usage

と、て、って What's the difference between these three quoting particles? Is there any grammatical difference, or are they just casual/formal variations of one another? 田中さんは行きましょうと言った 田中さんは行きましょうて言った ...
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1answer
241 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 ...
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1answer
413 views

translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”?

After I've say watched a film with some friends (or read a fable or something) and learned something from it, i want to say "It [the teachings of this fable/film] serves as a good reminder for me". ...
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223 views

そんなの (sonnano), あんなの, (annano) and the like

Several years back, I learned from a free Japanese podcast that referring to something with 'sonnano' or 'annano' is a way of looking down on it / speaking of it as an undesirable thing. There have ...
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1answer
160 views

Usage and nuance of あまりに vs あまりにも

WWWJDIC lists both あまりに and あまりにも to mean "too much; excessively; too" but are they exactly the same in term of usage and nuance? あまりに 《余りに》 (adv) (uk) too much; excessively; too Ex: ...
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548 views

What does 私たち imply?

I know that 私たち means "we", but in what sense? Does it simply mean the last two people talked about? Or does it always mean the speaker and the listener? So say I'm talking to Shota about Sawako, and ...
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818 views

I dont understand ~ような in this context

I know that ~ような means "looks like". In this context: ここで立ち止る ような 時間はない。 does it mean: "It appears it cannot stop here, there is no time"? What I do understand is that ような is followed by a ...
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3answers
267 views

What does で mean when asked as a question?

I've come across several instances in manga where the simple question of "で?" is used. What could it mean? I'm guessing it means something like "Is that so?," but I'm not sure.
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646 views

一応: Usage and meaning

I've never really fully grasped the meaning of [一]{いち}[応]{おう} since it seems to have no good English equivalent. What is the meaning, usage, and nuances of 一応?
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201 views

Appropriate 挨拶 for e-mail?

Saw this when prepping, but it doesn't cover what I was looking for. When composing e-mails in Japanese I tend to want to use 拝啓 and 早々, as I was taught for regular letters in class, but they feel ...
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5answers
601 views

How to say “Hey hurry up! you'll be late!”?

When we want to say "Hey, hurry up! you'll be late!", which would be more appropriate? : 遅刻するぞ! 遅くなるぞ! any other suggestions?
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377 views

「様」vs「殿」, which is more respectful?

Ammy claims that 殿 is more respectful than 様: 様 -sama: a respectful honorific used for those of a higher social standing 殿 -dono: even more respectful than -sama, less likely ...
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3answers
678 views

Does the (USA) English metaphor “Unable to see the forest for the trees” keep its meaning if translated verbatim into Japanese?

The phrase "Unable to see the forest for the trees" implies one is too entangled in a situation to understand what is transpiring from a larger context, and thus, unable to determine the correct ...
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2answers
327 views

Difference between verb types (verbal nouns, transitive & intransitive: eg 開始, 始める and 始まる)

All three of these words mean "to start", but what's the difference between them and where are they used?
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2answers
323 views

How is 「なう」most commonly appended to verbs?

I read the other two questions on なう on this site, and I want to know what the most common way to add なう after a verb is. I've seen なう most frequently with nouns. This is supported by ...
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141 views

Does 「彼は映画スター兼政治家だ。」 sound weird?

I asked about this in the comments section of another question, but no one responded, so I guess I'll ask it here. The question involved expressing that someone was both a movie star and a politician, ...
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2answers
150 views

What's the difference between そうかな and そうなんだ?

I've always thought that they both mean something like "I see" or "Is that so?" and I was told that they have different meaning. Is that so?
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4answers
627 views

Are 終{お}わる and 済{す}ませる synonyms?

I know that they both mean "finish". But I wonder if there are situations or contexts where you can use one but not the other.
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3answers
175 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. ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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2answers
146 views

What's the difference in the nuances that 呪縛【じゅばく】 and 呪い【のろい】 convey?

Is 呪縛 usually used to refer to a good spell or a bad one (like a curse)? I mean the dictionary writes the english meaning as: spell/curse but I was wondering what sort of nuance would be attached to ...
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790 views

What is “Almost” in Japanese

I have never actually seen the words for almost used in Japanese. Below are the various translations for "Almost" that I came accross: 「大方」 「粗」 「九分」 「殆」 「もう少しで」 Could you ...
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404 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. ...
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2answers
403 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?
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2answers
168 views

What is the meaning of なす? Specifically when preceded by a color

I came across this phrase in a book: 緑なす半島 Obviously (and also confirmed by Weblio) it is describing a quality of the peninsula, but I'm curious as to what exactly it means, and how/when it can ...
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2answers
660 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 ...
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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 ...