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

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8
votes
3answers
274 views

What is the difference between 一緒【いっしょ】に and 二人【ふたり】で?

I think in all situations where either 一緒に could be used, 二人で can also be used, and vice versa. I suppose 三人、四人、五人、etc. can also be used here if that's the number of people you are talking about. But ...
3
votes
1answer
400 views

Why is 自分 used instead of 私?

For example: 自分の名前が呼ばれたとき、私は自分の耳を疑った。I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name called. Would it be appropriate if I said 私? When is it appropriate to use 自分? What is the difference?
10
votes
3answers
402 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
440 views

Is こんばんは too formal for everyday conversation?

When giving a talk on Japanese, How to talk like a ge1sha, I made a terrible mistake: I invited someone who knew something about the language along. The only times he heckled me was when he reckoned ...
4
votes
2answers
114 views

What is the nuance of 解{げ}す?

Today in my JLPT text book, I came across the word 解{げ}す. I know that the kanji 解 means "unravel", and it can be read 解{わか}る, and with that reading it's synonymous with 分{わ}かる, "to understand". When ...
13
votes
3answers
347 views

Is パートナー likely to be interpreted as a same-sex partner?

When I talked about a relative and his パートナー visiting for Christmas, the person I was speaking to asked if his パートナー was male. Is this a common interpretation of パートナー? Is there a better word than ...
7
votes
1answer
217 views

Difference between 「~のない~」 and 「~がない~」?

For example, plugging these into Google, I can find stuff like, 自信のない人 and 自信がない人. Or, 愛のない生活 and 愛がない生活. I found a movie called 顔のないスパイ. How is this any different from 顔がないスパイ? I've asked ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Expressing “don't work too hard”

I've read at other sites that "don't work too hard" isn't something that's generally said in Japanese. Is there any truth to this? Are there any alternatives if that is the case? In which ...
6
votes
1answer
500 views

Usage of 目を覚ます and 目が覚める

What's the difference between 目を覚ます and 目が覚める? It seems both of them have the sense of literally waking up and also to wake up from some delusion. How are they different in usage? Perhaps because ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

When is 顧客{こきゃく} used for “customer”?

In daily life, I usually hear the words お客様{きゃくさま}, お客{きゃく}さん, and maybe other variants that use 客{きゃく}/客{かく} to refer to customers at a shop. However, in the dictionary, the first word that comes up ...
2
votes
1answer
258 views

What is the difference between these words for “audience”?

What is the difference in usage between these three words for "audience"? 観客{かんきゃく} (audience, spectators) 聴衆{ちょうしゅう} (audience, attendees) 観衆{かんしゅう} (audience, onlookers) The ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between せっかく and わざわざ?

せっかく and わざわざ seem to be pretty close in meaning/usage, but is there ever a time you would use one and not the other? Or is there a small nuance there? Just to give some example sentences: ...
7
votes
2answers
406 views

The various ways of saying “all”

While trying to write a plugin to (unofficially fan-)translate this website to Japanese, I've been noticing that "all" has multiple different translations. What exactly is the difference between ...
7
votes
3answers
415 views

Why are these words considered less politically correct?

Warning: I have no sense of how offensive any of these words might be. They are repeated only insofar as they help me learn what not to say. Apologies for any accidental offense, and please do not ...
12
votes
3answers
531 views

What's bugging the Japanese language?

In my JLPT workbook, it has a section which gives a list of idioms that use [虫]{むし}. 仕事{しごと}の虫 (worker bee) 点取{てんとり}虫 (derogatory term for a student who tries too hard) 虫がいい (selfish) ...
9
votes
1answer
235 views

What's the difference between 電光石火【でんこうせっか】 and 疾風迅雷【しっぷうじんらい】

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
5
votes
1answer
142 views

What is the Japanese song-metric filler?

In English we have some common sounds that are used to fill spaces in songs like "ah" "la" "nah" "oh" "yea". What do we use for Japanese songs? So far I think I have only heard る used.
4
votes
2answers
178 views

What's the best translation of アタリ in the context of drawing?

I'm reading through a book on how to draw in a classic Japanese manga style. Specifically, the book is about the basics of デッサン, "sketching". They use the term アタリ a lot. For example, this typical ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

Help with には and にとって

I need help understanding why にとって cannot be used in this circumstance: その仕事は私{には/*にとって}出来ない。 ( * denotes unacceptable) This is what I read: にとって cannot be used when it marks an experiencer ...
6
votes
2answers
414 views

How do you know when to use みな or みんな?

Are there any tips for deciding to write みな or みんな? If I'm not sure can I just go with 皆? Also, in speech is there a distinction made? If not, which pronunciation is more common in standard Japanese? ...
4
votes
1answer
556 views

Why do some people use 分からない, when they mean 知らない? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる? I often get puzzled when I ask a question and the other person says 分からない or 分からん, when they seem to understand but they ...
3
votes
1answer
987 views

Difference between の代わりに and に代わって

I need help understanding the difference between の代わりに and に代わって. This is how A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar explains the difference: の代わりに cannot be used when "replacement" is ...
4
votes
1answer
187 views

Can 彼 be used as an indefinite pronoun like やつ or 男?

気取らない彼が好きです。 I like him, who doesn't put on airs. My first reading of this sentence was to assume that 彼 was referring to the boyfriend meaning of 彼, and thus my interpretation was "I like an ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between なぜなら、だから、and なので?

I'm trying to get clarification on how to use these three pieces of grammar and whether or not they all hold some kind of "Because" meaning.
16
votes
6answers
548 views

How can I differentiate agreement with the person and agreement with the idea?

A zillion years ago, before I came to Japan, I took a short introductory course on Japanese. In it, they showed a video of a business meeting where an American businessman is speaking to a Japanese ...
7
votes
1answer
224 views

When to use 種別 and when to use 区分 when programming

I am having trouble when naming a variable, deciding if I should use ABC種別 or ABC区分. I have been reading a lot of software specifications and the Japanese description usually uses 種別 and 区分 to specify ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a form for “I have never heard of”?

Some examples of what I'm trying to convey: I have never heard that song before. I have never heard of Miyazawa Kenji I have never heard of that before? I've never heard of that store? ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

The difference between 添削 and 訂正

I used to always use 訂正{ていせい} rather than 添削{てんさく} to mean "correction", but recently I haven't really seen 訂正 being used. When used in the context of correcting English translations etc, it seems to ...
6
votes
1answer
294 views

Usage of the suffixes 流, 風, 式, 的 and 様

If I was to put the suffixes 流{りゅう}, 風{ふう}, 的{てき}, 式{しき} and 様{よう} on the end of a noun etc, what would be the difference between them? I could be wrong, but the following all seem to me to mean ...
3
votes
1answer
127 views

Does the word レストラン make saying 中国レストラン strange?

I see that the WWWJDIC emphasizes western style restaurants for the word レストラン. So would there be a better word to use in 中国レストラン?
3
votes
3answers
532 views

Does this use of だろうか indicate assertion of an opinion?

I always get a bit confused with だろう, which I've asked about before. In my other question, I got the impression that たろう meant a certain amount of assertion, and だろうか left some room for uncertainty. ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

When to use: “say”, “speak”, “tell” or “express”

When browsing through journal entries by various people, I've recently been noticing the words 述{の}べる and 語{かた}る used fairly frequently but I'm not sure when they should be used over 話{はな}す and 言{い}う ...
8
votes
3answers
436 views

What exacty does ゆえ mean, and how does it fit this JLPT question?

I have this question in my JLPT textbook: 男女{だんじょ}平等{びょうどう}といっても、女性{じょせい}___の差別{さべつ}はまだ残{のこ}っている。 A ゆえ B たる C なり D こそ The book says the answer is A, which is weird to me because I thought ...
7
votes
2answers
211 views

What's the difference between 関{かん}する and 関{かか}わる?

This question is in my JLPT practise book: 親{おや}のしつけが子供{こども}の性格{せいかく}形成{けいせい}に____ことは言{い}うまでもない。 A 通{つう}じる B 通{とお}す C 関{かん}する D 関{かか}わる The book says the answer is D, but to me the ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

what is the difference between 観察 and 観測

According to JDIC, both mean "observation". Judging from the Kanji used, I'm guessing the difference is 観測 has a nuance of observing something and measuring some aspect of it or taking data, whereas ...
7
votes
2answers
316 views

Why does someone intend to die in this JLPT question?

This is a question in my JLPT practise book: 手遅{ておく}れかもしれないが、死{し}んだ__になってやれば、間{ま}に合{あ}うかもしれない。 A もの B わけ C つもり D はず None of the answers made sense to me, so I didn't even choose one. The ...
10
votes
1answer
730 views

Aren't がる and たがる the same thing?

In my JLPT practise book, it has two different entries, one to explain がる and one to explaining たがる. It offeres these example sentences to differentiate them: うちの子{こ}は新{あたら}しいものを見{み}ると、すぐほしがる。 ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

Why is に応{おう}じて the wrong answer in this question?

This question is in my JLPT practise book: オリンピックの日本{にほん}代表{だいひょう}選手{せんしゅ}は、みんなの期待{きたい}____金{きん}メダルをとった。 A にこたえて  B に応{おう}じて  C に沿って  D によると I chose B, because it seems to me that it's ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

Difference between Noun+な and Noun+だという

I came across this sentence: 四月だというのに、結構寒いね。 "It is April, but it is rather cold isn't it?" Recalling what I learned about the のに conjunction, I can also make the sentence: 四月なのに、結構寒いね。 ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

What is the difference in these two keigo terms?

My JLPT practise book has these two sentences to help explain the difference between お目{め}にかける and お目{め}にかかる in a context of keigo. それでは新製品{しんせいひん}お目{め}にかけましょう。 ...
3
votes
3answers
856 views

“Instead” using 代わりに

Excerpt from A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar: Consider the difference in the sentences below: [a] 昼間遊ぶ代わりに夜遊ぶつもりだ。 I intend to play at night instead of having fun in the daytime. ...
1
vote
1answer
284 views

What's the difference between “な感じ” and “という感じ” when written after quotation marks?

な感じ was crossed out and replaced with という感じ in a sentence that I wrote that was similar to this one: その文には「それは私にはもったいない」 な感じ という感じ があると思う。 I think that sentence has a feeling of "that's more ...
9
votes
2answers
707 views

Would I have 牛乳 or ミルク with my cereal?

I've just found out that there's a couple of words for milk, and that they have slightly different meanings. Which one would I have with my Weetbix in a "viking style" breakfast in Niseko? Based on ...
3
votes
2answers
430 views

“To call” or “To receive a call”

Consider these example sentences taken from SPACEALC: [a] (人に)電話をかける。 "put in a call to ~" [b] ~が(主語に)電話をかける。 "receive a telephone call from" My observations: Both sentences use かける. ...
9
votes
1answer
471 views

Comparing 気にする vs. 気になる

Consider this example sentence from SPACEALC: あなたがどうしているか気になっていた。  "I was concerned about how you were." What is the difference when 気にする is used instead? I.e., あなたがどうしているか気にしていた。 ~なる ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

Is “bless” the best translation of 祝福{しゅくふく}?

As far as I understand it, 祝福{しゅくふく} means "bless". I came across it in this sentence, and it struck me as weird: だれもが彼の成功をうらやむと同時に、心から祝福した。 My rough translation is, "At the same time that ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Is ものを similar to けど?

Another sentence from my JLPT practise book, this time in a section explaining the use of ものを. 借金{しゃっきん}で困{こま}っていた友人{ゆうじん}を、助{たす}けようと思{おも}えば助{たす}けられたものを、見捨{みす}ててしまった。 I think this sentence is ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

Not understanding 解{と}く in this sentence

This sentence comes from my JLPT practise book in a section explaining the use of 解{と}く: 練習{れんしゅう}問題{もんだい}は答{こた}えを見{み}ないで、自分{じぶん}で解{と}いてください。 I get that 解{と}く means to "unravel" or "solve", but ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

あっけなく vs ものたりなく

I have been going over the JLPT test from 1999 and came across this problem that stumped me. For those planning to take the previous tests as practice you may want to avoid this question. ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Does そう imply vagueness in this JLPT question?

I have this question in my JLPT practise book: 明日{あした}は雨{あめ}が降{ふ}りそうな_____がする。 A 予報{よほう}  B 予知{よち}  C 予感{よかん} D 予測{よそく} I chose A, mostly because of seeing 予報{よほう} used a lot when talking ...