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
4answers
6k views

What's the difference between がんばれ and 頑張って 【がんばって】?

This one stumped my Japanese friend that I was having dinner with earlier tonight. We were talking about the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I had a tough work week ahead. She said ガンバレ, I paused, ...
7
votes
3answers
341 views

difference between ~の折に and ~の時に

While studying for JLPT N2 I came across this expression の折に. It appears to be almost identical to の時に. My reference suggests that it's basically the same, but simply less polite. What I find ...
6
votes
3answers
792 views

~か~ないかのうちに vs. 次第

According to my references, both of these are used in situations where one thing happens immediately after another. Here are some example sentences: (火事を見た人の話)ドーンという音がして、1分たつかたたないかのうちに火が出てきました。 ...
10
votes
2answers
363 views

Usage of ~やら~やら vs ~や~や

What is the conceptual difference, or difference in nuance between these two constructions when used to mean 'and'? I realize there are some syntactic differences, such as や not appearing after the ...
6
votes
2answers
253 views

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ?

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ? For example: 1) これは機会だぜ! 2) これはチャンスだぜ!
7
votes
1answer
466 views

Why is this 理由 【りゆう】 given the furigana わけ?

It might be hard to read because of the image resolution, but on the cover of this book, on the bottom left side, it says: へんな日本語にも理由がある。 Which means something like: "Even strange Japanese ...
7
votes
1answer
240 views

What is the origin of, and how do I parse 絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき}?

絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき} is a slang term that refers to the visible bare skin from the bottom of a woman's skirt to the top of her thigh high stockings. Or, short pants and thigh high boots... pick your ...
26
votes
3answers
597 views

Do 以上 and 以下 include the number preceding them?

I was having a discussion with a colleague and we couldn't recall how they both worked. Does 一人以上 mean a) 1 or more persons or b) more than one person?
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
685 views

The verbs of learning: 勉強する, 習う and 学ぶ

How are the following verbs which are related to learning different to each other? 勉強する 習う 学ぶ
11
votes
3answers
731 views

What is the *proper* differentiation between 来る and 行く?

In many beginning Japanese classes, 来る【くる】 and 行く【いく】 are presented as "to come" and "to go," respectively. Dictionaries generally also define them this way. However, every once in a while in more ...
14
votes
3answers
395 views

What is the difference between 蔵, 倉, and 庫?

The word 【くら】 can be written with any of the kanji 蔵, 倉, or 庫. However, WWWJDIC lists them all under one entry, defined as: (n) warehouse; cellar; magazine; granary; godown; depository; treasury; ...
42
votes
9answers
2k views

How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる?

Both 知る and わかる get used for "know", "understand", "learn", "find out", and various other concepts. How do you know which to use when? Are there any rules to help you decide? Additionally, both of ...
9
votes
4answers
289 views

Trouble understanding this apology: 我々が…謝罪

An English website wrote an apology in Japanese after it took down an image of cracked hinomaru (日の丸) — the hinomaru linked to a donation page for the disasters following the March 11 earthquakes. It ...
5
votes
1answer
208 views

What is the difference between 予想、期待、予期、思惑 for the meaning of “expectation”?

What is the difference between these 4 words for the definition of "expectation": 予想{よそう} 期待{きたい} 予期{よき} 思惑{おもわく} Specifically, which would you use for "managing customer expectations (for project ...
8
votes
3answers
370 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...
6
votes
1answer
159 views

What is the usage of 先 vs. 元?

I think that the both of them mean before, but I have seen that they are sometimes use in parent-child metaphors, but I always get confused with these. Some examples of ○○先、○○元 words would be ...
22
votes
2answers
802 views

What is the difference in nuance between 間違う and 間違える?

I've heard from a Japanese native speaker friend of mine that both 間違う and 間違える are correct usage, but he wasn't able to explain the difference in nuance between them. Is there a difference, and if ...
12
votes
2answers
505 views

Difference and nuance between することはない and する必要はない/する可能性はない

I understand the grammar point "Verb (Dictionary Form) + ことはない" can mean either "There is no need" or "There is no possibility" depending on context. However, what are the differences? Are there any ...
9
votes
1answer
353 views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?
9
votes
2answers
213 views

What's the difference between 迷う and 紕う?

I was looking in a dictionary and both were listed as being defined as "to lose one's way, to hesitate, or to waver," but I don't understand why there are two different kanji for the word.
12
votes
4answers
515 views

To not have: 持っていません or ありません?

Whenever I go to the Life supermarket near my house, they ask me at the check out: ライフカードを持っていますか? (Do you have a Life [members] card?) I always respond with something like: いいえ、持っていません。 ...
8
votes
3answers
786 views

What's the difference between ~てください and ~ていてください?

This question has come up on the side of at least a couple of other questions, but I don't think it's been definitively answered, so let's see if we can come up with something solid. After going ...
16
votes
4answers
496 views

Appropriate ただいま-like greeting for a neighbor?

I frequently pass by an elderly neighbor who lives in the same apartment when coming home from a dog walk. He's kind of an in-house carpenter for the building and is frequently seen around the garage. ...
14
votes
2answers
141 views

What are the nuances between these three terms for intelligence: 知恵 [ちえ], 知能 [ちのう], 知性 [ちせい] ?

In particular which one is closer to the idea of "ability to reason over things" as a quality of someone in particular? What I believe is that 知識 on the other hand is closer to "knowledge" and ...
15
votes
3answers
406 views

What is the difference in meaning between “husband and wife” 夫婦【ふうふ】 and 夫妻【ふさい】?

I see that those two compounds mean husband and wife, as a married couple. But is there a difference in usage or context?
9
votes
2answers
886 views

Is there a difference between すみません (sumimasen) and すいません (suimasen?)

I'm at the proverbial izakaya and my friend tells me one is more polite. I think theyre the same. Who's right? When can I use one or the other?
12
votes
3answers
892 views

When and to whom should I use the expression ご苦労様 (gokurousama)?

In what context and relationship wise to who can I safely say ご苦労様 (gokurousama)? I often defer to using otsukaresama since I'm not sure if I'm talking down to someone by saying gokurousama. Please ...
6
votes
3answers
208 views

Computer calculation: is there a better word than “オンザフライ” to say “on-the-fly”?

As a valuable feature of my software product, I want to say that results are calculated on-the-fly, meaning the user does not have to wait and receive results by email: results are displayed after two ...
7
votes
1answer
138 views

Difference between various “calculation” words (演算, 算出, and 計算)

Is there a difference in usage between these words? 演算 (えんざん) 算出 (さんしゅつ) 計算 (けいさん)
15
votes
3answers
398 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?
7
votes
1answer
132 views

What is the difference in usage between [問]{と}い[合]{あ}わせ and [依]{い}[頼]{らい}

Both 問い合わせ and 依頼 can mean to ask, but my co-workers are using both words in the application we are working on as if they are two different words. I have a suspicion one is transitive and one is ...
13
votes
3answers
8k 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
333 views

超 vs めっちゃ + explanation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Significance of the kanji 「茶」 in the set phrase 「滅茶滅茶 / 目茶目茶」 {めちゃめちゃ} So, in Kansai they use めっちゃ, and in Kanto 超. But what about the other parts of Japan? And from ...
20
votes
2answers
823 views

What's the difference between “家” (ya), “屋” (ya), and “や” (ya) as used in the names of shops/stores/restaurants?

As a gyudon addict I have noticed that the names of the three major national restaurant chains all end in "ya" but they used two different characters: "吉野家" (Yoshinoya) "松屋" (Matsuya) "すき家" (Sukiya) ...
9
votes
2answers
566 views

Is there a difference between からすると and からして?

These two phrases seem to have very similar usage and I'm unable to determine the difference between them. The examples I have are: 彼は服装からしてだらしない。きっと他の面も同じだろう。 kare ha fukusou karashite ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

Are there any Japanese words as versatile as “fuck” in English?

I was wondering about this one recently. "Fuck" in English is famous for being applicable in a wide, wide range of circumstances (none of them formal). What word in Japanese covers a wide spectrum of ...
7
votes
2answers
383 views

What's the difference between “巻寿司” (makizushi), “海苔巻き” (norimaki), and “巻物” (makimono)?

It seems there are three words for the same Japanese food item, a kind of "sushi in a long roll": "巻寿司" (makizushi) "海苔巻き" (norimaki) "巻物" (makimono) Are they all identical / synonyms? Do they ...
10
votes
2answers
489 views

ご~いただけます vs. ご~になれます

I know that you can use ご~いただく toward "clients" (which is something I've never really understood; maybe better as a question of its own) such as ご来店いただき、まことにありがとうございます ("Thank you (customer) for ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

How indistinguishable is blue from green really?

青 ao seems to be used very much interchangeably for both blue and green. Why is that so, and how does 緑 midori play into this?
5
votes
2answers
647 views

Can the qualifiers “very” and “too” be expressed unambiguously in Japanese?

I've noticed that some of my Japanese friends with fluent but imperfect English often say "too adjective" when a native English speaker would say just "very adjective". (I am asking about "too" in ...
10
votes
3answers
217 views

What is the sense of 気配がする (けはいがする) versus 気がする?

I'm (trying) to read a Japanese spy novel at the moment. It could just be the author's style, but I see lots of sentences end in 〜気配がする。 The more I read, the more I wonder - is there any difference ...
11
votes
3answers
318 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
11
votes
1answer
388 views

When can I exchange くださる for いただく in expressions of gratitude?

Way back when, I remember being taught that when you want to say a really polite "thank you", sentences such as these are basically the same: 文章を訂正していただきましてありがとうございます。 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Since Japanese already had several words for rice why was “ライス” (raisu) borrowed from English?

Last night I had dinner in a ramen restaurant in northern Japan and was surprised to read the katakana "ライス" (raisu) on the menu. This is obviously the English word "rice" borrowed. But what kind of ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Usage of たくさん vs. 多い

When do we use たくさん and when do we use 多い? I found both modifiers are used within similar sentences, for example: 人が多かったです 人がたくさんいました I had this impression that 多い is used with countable nouns ...
12
votes
6answers
13k views

What's the difference between “gohan” and “meshi”?

In answer to my question on the difference between "gyudon" and "gyumeshi" I learned that "meshi" just means cooked rice. But I thought "gohan" meant cooked rice, so please, what is the difference? I ...
9
votes
1answer
243 views

What is the difference between “meshi” and “don” for the food sometimes translated as “rice bowl” in English?

I'm a big fan of the Japanese fast food gyudon (cooked thinly sliced beef strips on top of a bowl of boiled white rice) and its variants such as butadon (the same but with pork). But why do some ...
6
votes
5answers
708 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?
10
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between tori vs. dori?

In Aikido, different dojos seem to latch on to using either dori or tori when describing grabbing attacks. For instance one dojo might say: Katate Dori Another would say: Katate Tori Each dojo ...