The differences between two or more words or phrases and how to select the best one for a given situation.

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3
votes
2answers
111 views

Understanding the subtleties behind [noun]する vs [noun]だ

I still notice this when I see [verbal noun]する instead of [verbal noun]だ. While I understand the meaning of both, I'm missing the qualities that often make する or がある seem to be a more natural choice ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

Difference between 発展、発達、and 開発

What is the difference between 発展、発達、and 開発? According to my textbook, they all mean development. I know that they cannot be used interchangeably, but I don't know when to use each of them. I know ...
11
votes
2answers
490 views

Non-distinguished animal pairs in Japanese

This is something I first noticed when I was at an aquarium in Japan (as evidenced in my examples) and continued to see ever since. There are certain pairs of animals, that while extremely similar, ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

matcha versus maccha [on hold]

Which is grammatically correct? matcha or maccha? In my opinion, according to its hiragana representation, it should be written as maccha rather than matcha. Is there any rule about romaji writing ...
4
votes
3answers
307 views

can one be “さびしい” without being “かなしい”?

Can someone be "さびしい" without being "かなしい"? I assume that one can be "かなしい" without being "さびしい". If this is not true, please explain. I don't think I've heard "かなしい" so much in conversation. Are ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

Why 'okane o haraimasu'?

In sentences such as: Jana will pay for the drinks. or Will the kids have to pay?. Why is it okane o haraimasu instead of ... o haraimasu? [Correct] Examples: Jana san wa nomimono no okane o ...
2
votes
3answers
329 views

What is the phrase used as a label on the food container to convey “No sugar added”?

I am looking for a pure fruit juice without sugar added for daily consumption in Japan. The box only says 100% bla bla bla but I am not sure whether or not there is sugar added. So my question is: ...
2
votes
2answers
97 views

Can たい and たがる be used for a 1st/2nd/3rd person's desire?

もし生まれ変わっても見たい映画は あなたにありますか? When I saw the the above sentence, I started to wonder. Is it an over simplification to say that たい can only be used for your own desires? However the sentence above ...
2
votes
3answers
90 views

Difference between 帰って来る and 帰る

Consider the following two sentences: うちへ帰って来ます。 うちへ帰ります。 What's the difference between these two sentences? How does the bolded part affect the meaning?
6
votes
1answer
200 views

What's the difference between 売店 and 商店

Is 売店 more used for smaller stuff, like a stand? I'm finding it hard to pinpoint the exact difference.
2
votes
3answers
123 views

Giving and receiving with two 3rd persons

There are (at least) two words which mean "to give": あげる and くれる. The former is used when you give to someone else, and the latter is used when someone else gives to you. But which do you use if you ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

Difference between 光る, 輝く, and 光り輝く?

What is the difference between 光る{ひかる}, 輝く{かがやく}, and 光り{ひかり}輝く{かがやく}? According to my dictionary, they all mean "to shine" or "to be bright", but I'm sure they aren't always interchangeable. Looking ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Do 〜によれば and 〜によると differ regarding the speaker's opinion of the following statement being true?

From a newspaper: 16日の発表によると、ドイツ経済の今年の成長率は2.1%、来年が1.8%の見込み。 I think that means: According to the report of April 16th, it is expected that the growth of the German economy will be 2.1% ...
2
votes
3answers
201 views

What is the correct way of saying “see you”?

I've started learning japanese not long ago, from what I've learned the correct way to say "see you" is じゃ【ja】、また【mata】. But I've just seen a show and a character said じゃね【ja ne】. So I searched a ...
2
votes
3answers
125 views

Difference between 〜てみたい and 〜たい

I just learnt about 〜てみる and the book introduced 〜てみたい in an exercise. I can see the difference between, say, 食べたい and 食べてみたい, but with 行きたい and 行ってみたい its not so clear. Would I be right to assume ...
14
votes
3answers
11k views

What's the difference between “さけ” (sake) and “しゃけ” (shake)?

Today I saw onigiri claiming to contain "しゃけ" (shake). When I asked my friend what that was, she said it was the same as "さけ" (sake), "salmon". So are these two just different readings of a kanji, ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Differences between “何度も or 何度でも” and 何回も?

Things like 何度も and 何回も are somehow common. In what cases would there be differences between the two? Are they the same differences between the plain 回 and 度? Thanks.
3
votes
1answer
112 views

What's the difference between 無【な】くす and 失【うしな】う

These two words, 無【な】くす and 失【うしな】う, seem to be very similar in meaning, but i'm not sure of the difference. Can someone please explain? Here are some examples: 彼【かれ】は時々【ときどき】希望【きぼう】を失う【うしな】。 ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What's the best way to say “redesign” pertaining to a web page/site?

I want to say that I'm "redesigning" a web page, and I can think of several words that may fit, but I'm not sure which is most appropriate or most widely-accepted in the technology world. 更新 → This ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

When is using “陳{の}べる” and “知{し}らせる” in place of “教{おし}える” ok?

Is it ok to substitute "知らせる" for "教える"? I do it all the time and it seems to work-out. But, maybe "知らせる" does not even mean "教える" at all? I've never asked. If the meaning is close, then when might it ...
10
votes
1answer
391 views

Usage of イングランド, イギリス, and 英国

It has always been my understanding that the word for England is イギリス. But the wikipedia page for English-American says イングランド系アメリカ人. Even rikaichan has イングランド as England. Is there a difference in ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

What's the difference between 根気【こんき】, 我慢【がまん】, 辛抱【しんぼう】 and 忍耐【にんたい】

Recently i found these four words and have no idea what's the difference between them. They all mean "patience" and "endurance". Here are some sentences: 僕【ぼく】は、あいつには我慢【がまん】できない。 I can't abide ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械?

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Is there a difference between 終わりたい and 終わってほしい

Actually, I'm not even sure, if the ~たい-form of a intransitive verb is possible, or grammatically correct, but I sometimes read 終わりたい or 終わりたくない like for example まだ終わりたくない But from everything I ...
5
votes
2answers
152 views

Words for area/district/region: the actual difference between 地区、地帯、地域、地方 (and also 区域)?

地区 and 地方 have similar definitions, and 地帯 and 地域 are also defined similarly (at least according to JMdict/EDICT: 地区【ちく】 = district; section; sector 地方【ちほう】= district; region; area; locality ...
10
votes
2answers
357 views

Difference between にさせる vs にする(as in 幸せにさせる vs 幸せにする)

What's the difference when we say 幸せにさせる compared to 幸せにする? I'm now confused between using させる and にする. Can anyone please provide an in-depth explanation?
21
votes
4answers
1k views

不 and 非 and 無 and 未 usage difference/rule

Is there any rules that govern when to use 不 and 非 and 無 and 未 in regards to the meaning of "not" or "un-" for instance 非表示, 不満 
2
votes
0answers
136 views

What do I actually call familiar or friendly language?

When writing on Lang-8, I often end up writing both formal and casual versions (for practice), with labels. I also wish occasionally to discuss formality, and thus need words to talk about the ...
55
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

There were a lot of great answers here. I gave the checkmark to ento's answer because I felt it most completely explained all aspects of this use of こと. But many of the other answers are excellent, so ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

What's the difference between 呪術【じゅじゅつ】, 魔法【まほう】, 奇術【きじゅつ】, and 魔術【まじゅつ】?

Is there any difference between these nouns? Is this like the difference between 'magic' and 'sorcery' in English? Is 魔法【まほう】 used most often?
4
votes
2answers
139 views

記する{きする}、 記す{きす}、記す{しるす} - how do I use and/or differentiate between them?

For instance, here: 碑文に記されているところによれば according to the inscription on the tombstone It's listed under 記する{きする}. Why?
2
votes
1answer
101 views

“again” word: 二度{にど}, 再び{ふたたび} - usage, difference

Do they mean the same thing when used as a sequence word ("again, a second time") or is there any difference (apart from 二度 also being used to mean "two times")?
1
vote
2answers
128 views

Is there a difference between きらい and がすきではありません?

Simply put Pimsluer says to use がすきではありません to express a dislike, but Human Japanese uses きらい, is there a difference?
0
votes
1answer
131 views

What's the meaning of ですね in here?

I know that ですね is a form of saying right? but in this sentence これビデオですね what does that means? I understand that means "it's a video" but I don't understand the ね. A friend was recording a video and ...
4
votes
2answers
94 views

Difference between 揃う【そろう】 and 集まる【あつまる】

Could someone please explain a difference between 揃う【そろう】 and 集まる【あつまる】. I dont think they are synonyms but can't see any difference between them? Two example sentences: 駅前【えきまえ】に 人【ひと】が ...
10
votes
2answers
259 views

X is near or next to Y. Is my understanding of this correct?

So I know that a few words could be used interchangably. But I wasn't sure if I got the nuance(s) correct. So I have this sentence: 車はどこにありますか。 車庫のそばです。 And as far as I can see, I can change そば in ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

Why do the Japanese use loanwords for words that have functional equivalents?

It strikes me, reading Japanese that katakana is often used for words that have functional equivalents in the Japanese language. Why is this? For instance, using ビル as opposed to 建物。 Or ブルー instead ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Is マスカット an accurate translation for “green grape”, and what foreign word is it derived from?

I'm new to Japanese so I'm working my way through Human Japanese, when I was adding the vocabulary to Quizlet I realized I didn't know how to type マスカット because I'm not used to seeing ツ used like ...
13
votes
1answer
319 views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Where should I use 租借 {そしゃく} or 賃貸 {ちんたい} or [リース ]{りーす}?

I'm a beginner in Japanese. So far I learned the following three words have the same meaning - Lease (noun). [租借]{そしゃく} [賃貸]{ちんたい} [リース]{りーす} Where should I use them appropriately and what ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

森 vs 林 for forest

According to A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, 森 (38) is woods and 林 (75) is forest. But some material I've found online related to Japan seems to indicate 森 is the more correct Japanese ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

What word describes the concept of worldwide time zones?

The world is covered in the necessary evil known in English as "time zones". Given that, historically, it originated in England (some 300 or so years ago), the concept of a time zone was probably ...
7
votes
4answers
251 views

What's the difference between 水 and 湯

I start by saying that I'm a beginner in Japanese and maybe my question will seem obvious to you. I've been told by Japanese people that there's a difference between 水 and 湯. I understand that 湯 ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

ひとこと・いちげん・いちごん - what is the difference?

This is one of my most frequently encountered words and yet outside of specific constructs (e.g. 一言一句{いちごんいっく}) I am never sure if I'm reading it right. How does it stand by itself? Dictionary entries ...
3
votes
4answers
190 views

Difference between 母語話者 and ネイティブスピーカー

Wiktionary says that the Japanese for "Native speaker" can be either "母語話者" or "ネイティブスピーカー". What difference, if any, is there between the two? Searching the corpus on jisho.org only got one hit for ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Difference between 出席【しゅっせき】する and 参加【さんか】する

Are these words interchangeable? Just for example I have found some sentences but do not see any difference between these word in meaning or politeness: 彼女【かのじょ】はそのコンテストに参加【さんか】した。 She took ...
4
votes
2answers
158 views

A self-introduction for academic purposes

I somehow managed to get a MEXT scholarship. Now I've got to make a self-presentation, but I've been struggling with it since I'm more used to reading than writing (which is one reason I could get ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

Is there a difference between 爆発しないといい and 爆発しないとよくなる?

I'm having a hard time understanding how と works with negative verbs. With positive verbs, it is easy to see the timeframe of いい because it occurs after the verb happens, but if the verb ends in ない, ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

Proper usage of 語 and 言語 and 言葉 when speaking about someone's language

Japanese language is 日本語. But if I want to say The language of Japanese people - should I write 日本人の言{げん}語{ご}? And if I want to say the same about animals, for example cat - like cat's language - is ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there a less formal way to say あなた?

My friend told me I sound too polite when I say あなた, but my book only uses that for second person pronoun. Are there multiple ways to say it and if so, which one is best to use with friends?