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

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9
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
241 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.
34
votes
4answers
4k views

Is じゃないです equally correct as じゃありません?

Text books normally teach that the negative of です is じゃありません. However it seems very common to hear native Japanese use じゃないです. Is this slang or somehow less correct than じゃありません? Would it be marked ...
5
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
220 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?")
13
votes
2answers
728 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
95 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.
7
votes
1answer
268 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
102 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
104 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there an equivalent to George Carlin's “Seven Dirty Words” in Japanese?

Warning: This question contains words in both Japanese and English that some might not want to read. Also: My apologies that this question is lengthy. However, I wanted to take care to express it ...
6
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
177 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: ...
7
votes
2answers
5k 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。 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
404 views

What is the difference between 完了 and 終了

Both 完了 and 終了 both seem to have the connotation of finished/complete, but what is the difference if any in usage?
3
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
444 views
13
votes
1answer
252 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
185 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
204 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
200 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
14
votes
1answer
543 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

ことにする vs. ことに決める

My Japanese text book says that a present-tense verb followed by ことにする is used to indicate making a decision about the action. But I've also noticed the verb 決める, and that it's usage is very similar. ...
6
votes
2answers
150 views

言ったりしたら versus 言ったら

I came across the phrase 言ったりしたら【いったりしたら】 in one of the Tintin books I'm reading. It means something like "if I say [it]". What I can't figure out is how it's different from simply saying 言ったら. Here ...
7
votes
1answer
218 views

Does it make sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら?

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら. When I googled for that conjugation there were very few results, but since there were results, I wonder if people actually ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between なぜ、どうして and なんで when meaning 'why'?

I've been meaning to ask this for a while. What is the difference between these 3 words. I was taught they all mean "why", but obviously, being different words they convey different nuance and would ...
13
votes
2answers
222 views

How does adding 手 to the beginning of an adjective change its meaning?

There are several adjectives that are formed by attaching 「手」 to more common adjectives: 手厳しい 手堅い 手早い 手広い 手短い But most of the time this does not seem to change the meaning of the adjective very ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

前 or 後 when placing an event in temporal reference to “now”

Consider this phrase:  今は(event)二十分前です。 Deconstruction of the above phrase yields: Now is twenty minutes before (event). (Q1) Can I reconstruct the statement using 後 in this manner?:  ...
7
votes
2answers
551 views

What is the difference between 様子、状況、状態、and 事情

I'm unsure of the difference between these four words. They all seem to indicate some type of "condition" or "circumstances". (1) Are they interchangeable? (2) What are some example sentences which ...
4
votes
1answer
472 views

なった versus なってきた

My friend recently said to me: 眠くなってきた 【ねむくなってきた】 Which, I think means "I became sleepy". But it seems to me that it is the same as saying: 眠くなった How does the addition of きた change this ...
11
votes
3answers
926 views

When describing time span, are 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} interchangeable?

Both 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} can be used to describe time span relative to specific situations, similar to "while" in English. But are they interchangeable all the time? Are there any scenarios where one ...
2
votes
1answer
418 views

Plain verbs vs [conjunctive form 連用形]+をする (e.g. 間違える vs 間違えをする)

(Question 1) Are there any differences in nuance and usage of conjunctive form of verb (連用形) + をする compared to the plain form of those verbs whose conjunctive forms can be used as nouns? For ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Must do : ~なければならない vs ~なくてはいけない

What are the differences when using ~なければならない and ~なくてはいけない, or their colloquial contracted forms ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ when saying "must do"? For example, what is the difference in the nuance and usage of ...
8
votes
2answers
153 views

Which is better for a sales budget: 予算, 推計, or something I haven't even thought of yet?

I'm writing a short (3-5 page) business plan in Japanese. I'd like to include an "estimate" of the sales for the next 3 years. The question: what would you choose for the graph titled: 2012 ...
14
votes
2answers
462 views

Why do 適当 and いい加減 refer to both considerate and inconsiderate things?

I understand that 適当【てきとう】 can mean both "appropriate" and "whatever/vague". How do you know 適当な人を教えてください means "please inform me of the appropriate person" as opposed to "please tell me about ...
5
votes
2answers
202 views

I've seen 達人and 名人used to indicate master or expert. What's the difference?

I'm not familiar with either word, but just looking at the characters, 達人 would seem to indicate 'accomplished' (ie an accomplished pianist). While 名人 seems more like 'renowned'. Is that a valid ...
23
votes
4answers
6k views

How to choose between “よん” (yon) vs “し” (shi) for “四” (4) and “しち” (shichi) vs “なな” (nana) for “七” (7)?

Two numbers in Japanese have two pronunciation alternatives. 四 / 4 can be pronounced either "よん" (yon) or "し" (shi) 七 / 7 can be pronounced either "しち" (shichi) or "なな" (nana) I know that "し" ...
6
votes
3answers
177 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
317 views

How would one convey the concept of “vouching” in Japanese?

Update: There seems to be some controversy here as to whether or not there really is a difference between vouching and guaranteeing, which impacts how it is translated. Please see the discussion I ...
11
votes
2answers
418 views

Does the letter “C” attract any superstition?

I've heard that the number four attracts superstition because of its similarity with the word for death. For example, yon is used instead of shi in some circumstances, and sometimes the number 4, ...
15
votes
3answers
688 views

Love in the air: 愛x恋 {あい vs こい}

From WWWJDIC: 愛 【あい】 (n,n-suf) (See 愛する) love; affection; 恋 【こい】 (n) love; tender passion; My understanding on affection, love and tender passion is like the following: affection < ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
6
votes
2answers
189 views

Anti-causal/Non-causal relationship

How do I form a sentence of these patterns "X does not arise from Y", "X not due to Y", "X not because of Y", "There are other reasons for X". Since obviously I cannot simply slap ない onto から or ので to ...
10
votes
1answer
611 views

加える/増やす and 加わる/増える or even 増加する/殖/足, various kanji for “adding things”

I'm a bit confused regarding the choice between the 加 and 増 kanji for any meaning related to "adding one thing to another". I assume that, as usual, the suru-verb combination 増加する is somewhat more ...
7
votes
2answers
241 views

Which particle to use with 出会う {であう} : と, に or が?

From Google searches, I can see that all three particles と, に and が are used with 出会う, but are there differences when using each of the particles or are they interchangeable? For ease of explanation, ...
6
votes
1answer
331 views

と言っても vs とは言え .

Hi all is it true that と言っても and とは言え is the same thing except that と言っても is for spoken clauses whereas と言いえ is for written clauses?