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

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7
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1answer
165 views

The difference between 皮膚【ひふ】 and 皮【かわ】

What's the difference? I got told that 皮膚【ひふ】 only works for mammals (and humans), and 皮【かわ】 for other animals too.
5
votes
2answers
725 views

Can 野郎{やろう} really have that many meanings?

(Warning: potentially offensive words. Proceed at your own risk. Also, apologies for the length.) I realize this risks opening up the "does Japanese actually have swear words" debate, touched on ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

What makes using ある for people okay in this context?

Yep, I'm reading a lot of Tintin in Japanese recently, and he keeps throwing me curve balls with the language. Here's another one. The situation is that the car he was in has been run off the road ...
11
votes
1answer
281 views

What is the implication when a gruff old man ends a sentence with わ?

In this question, it seems to me it was clearly established that わ, at the end of a sentence, is decidedly feminine. There was talk of a kansai-ben わ with slightly different implications, but still ...
4
votes
3answers
329 views

Translation of “に” into “natural” English

All of my Japanese teachers have told me that な-adjectives converted to に-ending words and い-adjectives converted to く-ending words, when followed by a verb, are 'adverbs'. However, sentences sound ...
4
votes
2answers
401 views

壱, 弐, 参 vs 一, 二, 三

Can you tell me the difference between 壱 and 一, 弐 and 二, 参 and 三? Do these pairs have the same meaning? If yes, why do we use different Kanji? If no, what is the difference in their meanings? Can ...
6
votes
2answers
321 views

What is the difference between がる and ぎみ?

In one of my study flashcards, I have this sentence: 疲{つか}れぎみだけど生{い}きてます。 Which should translate to something like, "[He] appears worn out but [he's] still kicking." The main point is that in ...
6
votes
1answer
606 views

Taking Class, Course, Lecture - Which verb is fit?

I would like to know how we say taking class or course or lecture in japanese. I have heard about 「クラスを受ける」 and 「クラスを取る」. Are there significant difference? And Is there any other verb we can use ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

で終わります: trying to close by? で帰ります, trying to leave by? It depends on the sentence?

I can say 売り場は九時で終わります、 and 三時で帰ります、 which I've learned mean something like, "They'll be trying to close from," and, "I'll be trying to leave from." I've also learned that 2月25日で帰ります is not correct. ...
5
votes
1answer
230 views

What are the different nuances of saying 変{へん}?

I recently came across the term 変{へん}てこ, which, if I understand it, means "strange", but is softer than saying 変{へん}な. Is it similar to 変{へん}なちょこ? I think this also means strange, but also in a ...
8
votes
2answers
312 views

酔う vs 酔っ払う: does it depend on how drunk you are?

酔{よ}う and 酔{よ}っ払{ぱら}う both seem to mean "to get drunk" but how are they different from each other? Does it depend on how drunk you are, and assuming 酔っ払う is worse than 酔う, exactly how drunk would you ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

Is 「喧嘩」 a verbal fight or a physical fight?

Taking 2 sentences from WWWJDIC as examples: 見てごらん。2人の男の子がけんかしている。 議論は最後に喧嘩になった。 I was wondering is it true that the 「喧嘩」 in the sentences above may be interpreted both ways (i.e. it may ...
4
votes
2answers
195 views

How do I ask about two different possible options?

Is this the correct way to ask which of two options is true? あの CD は トルコご の ですか えいご の ですか? ("Is that CD in Turkish or English?")
5
votes
1answer
213 views

“トムと話した” vs. “トムと話し合った”

This book (Chap. 29) says that for some verbs which can be unilateral or bilateral (like 相談する, 話す, 合う), The particle と implies that the verb is shared 50/50 between the two participants (bilateral), ...
12
votes
2answers
576 views

The differences between ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい

I was wondering what the differences are between these three: ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい They all seem to be some sort of variant of "Hard to do ~". But it seems they are used with different verbs and/or imply ...
10
votes
2answers
776 views

What is the difference between “〜がる” and “〜がっている”

I want to know the difference between 〜がる and 〜がっている, and in what situations I can use them. My friend said 〜がる is used for a regular activity that someone does every day or every week, and the ...
8
votes
2answers
218 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

The difference between 「人文科学」 and 「社会科学」

I want to know the different between these two words. The meaning is the same which is social science. So, what is the difference? Edit: Sorry for confusing question. I mean the different usage.
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Different between 可決 and 許可?

I want to know the different between 可決 and 許可. I search into dictionary and the meaning is quite the same whose meaning are approval or permission. So, what different? and how to use it ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
5
votes
2answers
326 views

How to translate “from scratch”

I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Is this the denial of a statement, or a statement of denial?

This sentence originally came from a newspaper article. Unfortunately, I copied it onto a flashcard for later study and then lost the original context. 彼は、可能性について「念頭に全くない」と否定した。 【かれは、かのうせいに ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Are けもの and けだもの different types of beasts, or simply two variants of the same word?

Both けもの and けだもの are written in kanji as 獣, but is the beast with 'だ' inside more brutal than the one without 'だ'? Or are they simply two variants of the same noun, thus they refer to exactly the ...
15
votes
1answer
762 views

JLPT N1 question: Why isn't a large amount of money a good enough reason to kill someone?

In my JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level N1 workbook, there is this example question: 適当{てきとう}な語{かたり}を選{えら}びなさい この殺人{さつじん}事件{じけん}の裏{うら}には(  )上{じょう}のトラブルがあるようだ。 A 金額{きんがく}  B ...
7
votes
1answer
146 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: ...
15
votes
4answers
645 views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

Another example where I don't know if 欲しい or 欲しがる is right

私の祖母は私が欲しい以上のものをくれた 私の祖母は私が欲しがる以上のものをくれた I want the meaning to be "my grandmother gave me more then I wanted." Is the second sentence right and the first sentence wrong? I learned 欲しがる for ...
13
votes
1answer
240 views

Is 花見 only for “cherry blossom” viewing?

Textbooks usually teach that 花見 / お花見 means "cherry blossom viewing". Tatoeba has a couple of examples supporting that: ヒラヒラと桜の花が舞っている。もうお花見の季節も終わりだな It looks like cherry blossom-viewing ...
10
votes
1answer
246 views

The first: 第一 vs 一番 vs 第一番

What are differences among 第一, 一番 and 第一番, all of which seem to mean "the first" in English? Are any of them more suitable for some specific scenarios than the others (e.g. 安全第一 but 世界で一番)?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Fun with synonyms - “perhaps/maybe/probably”

What are the differences when using the following words/phrases to mean "perhaps", "maybe" or "probably"? 多分 恐らく 蓋し {けだし} もしかして ひょっとして なかろう (negative -> probably not) だろう / でしょう / であろう かも知れない ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

おしまい {oshimai} vs おわり {owari}

Are there any differences between using おしまい {oshimai} and おわり {owari} to mean "the end" (both with neutral and negative connotations)? Are they always interchangeable? E.g: テスト失敗したらおわりだぜ。 ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

Can と be used with verbs other than 思う to imply a thought process behind the action?

Following hot on the heels on my other question about と and 思う, I know と can be used with 言う, but can it also be applied to verbs that imply some kind of thinking process other than 思う? Do these make ...
18
votes
4answers
834 views

Differences between 度 and 回 when counting occurrences

What are the differences between using 度 and 回 when used to count number of occurrences? For example: そんなことは一度もしたことがない そんなことは一回もしたことがない Are there any restrictions on what kind of actions referred ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What is an appropriate response to お疲{つか}れ様{さま}です in non-work situations?

Often times at the gym, when I'm on my way out, covered in sweat, one of the staff will say お疲{つか}れ様{さま}です ("you've worked hard"...?). Usually at work situations, I've often found that saying some ...
7
votes
2answers
398 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, ...
12
votes
1answer
249 views

Is こら a lot more rude than ほら?

From early on, I've used こら and ほら somewhat interchangeably. They both mean "hey!" I picked them up from friends early on without without really having a sense of the difference. Now, after some ...
14
votes
3answers
542 views

Blue blistering barnacles, what is Captain Haddock saying?

For those who might not be familiar with the series Tintin (soon to be in a major motion picture, by the way), there is a character named Captain Haddock who is famous for shouting out colourful ...
11
votes
3answers
378 views

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人?

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人 ?
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Does ところ mean the exact same thing as こと in this sentence?

Consider the following sentence: お金じゃないところが好きだから一緒にいるの 【おかね じゃない ところが すき だから いっしょに いるの】 I think it means "I'm with you because of the parts of you that don't have to do with money". I'm ...
8
votes
2answers
226 views

what's the difference between 余地 and よゆう?

I have been informed that よゆう is to do with temporal or physical room, while 余地 has to do with emotional room, but I might have misunderstood the explanation.
12
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
164 views

What's the difference between じき and すぐ?

すぐ, and especially 今すぐ, is my habitual way to express "soon", or "right after this". I know that じき means more or less the same thing, and when I hear it or see it written, I get the general meaning ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

When women use わ at the end of a sentence, is it different from よ?

My understanding of using わ at the end of a sentence is that it's essentially just for emphasis, just like using よ, and that only women can use it. However, as far as I know, women can, and often do, ...
5
votes
2answers
810 views

Wait… えらい means also means “terrible”?

For over a decade of speaking (poorly) and listening to Japanese, it seems to me that I have almost exclusively heard the word えらい in the sense of meaning "admirable". For example, I'd mention ...
3
votes
0answers
351 views

私 (watashi) vs 僕 (boku) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is it ok for non-japanese to refer to themselves as 僕(ぼく) and if not why? How should I select what first-person pronoun to use? How commonly are "あたし" (atashi) ...
8
votes
2answers
694 views

What is the difference between そうか and そっか?

Is そっか just more slangy? Is そうか the same as saying ああそう? Or, is this more a spoken thing? If so, what is used when writing?
9
votes
1answer
192 views

Is 音沙汰 not used anymore because communication technology has changed?

My understanding of the word 音沙汰【おとさた】(news, letter) is that in terms of usage, it functions the same way that 連絡【れんらく】(contact, communication) does. It refers to modes of communication between ...
5
votes
2answers
192 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
12
votes
1answer
447 views

Understanding all the words but not the meaning: What does this ad say?

This is a frequent problem that I think many Japanese learners experience. You look at some Japanese sentences, and you understand the words, and most, if not all, the grammar, and yet still, it just ...
6
votes
2answers
550 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 ...