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
votes
1answer
229 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
227 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
126 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?:  ...
9
votes
2answers
659 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
583 views

歩{ある}く vs 歩{あゆ}む

I always know that 歩く is the verb to use when talking about walking. But I'm aware the kanji 歩 has another verb 歩む. In WWWJDIC, the example sentence given is: ビルはあの会社の社長になるまで成功への道を歩み続けた。 Bill ...
4
votes
1answer
543 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
1k 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
464 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
404 views

Why did オレンジ replace 橙【だいだい】?

This question about colours got me thinking: Why, and how, did オレンジ come to replace 橙【だいだい】 to refer to the colour orange? It seems weird to me that a word taken from a foreign language became ...
14
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What are slang terms for Japanese money?

This question about alternate terms for coins focused on the use of ワンコイン, but it got me thinking about slang terms for money in general. In all the years I've been in Japan, I don't think I've ...
8
votes
2answers
159 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
276 views

When are ふう and よう interchangeable?

Lately ふう has been on my mind. Often it seems interchangeable with よう: これを{こんなふう/このよう}にしてください。 Please make it like this. あれを{どういうふう/どのよう}に解釈しますか。 In what way do you interpret that? ...
5
votes
3answers
190 views
6
votes
2answers
215 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Contrasting っぽい、らしい、みたい

For example, the following 3: 女っぽい (おんなっぽい) 女らしい (おんならしい) 女みたい (おんなみたい) In what situations would you use っぽい over らしい? Does っぽい have negative connotations? Are 女らしい and 女みたい interchangeable as in ...
11
votes
2answers
452 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
184 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. ...
16
votes
8answers
2k views

Does the Japanese language only have negative terms for flirting?

I am looking for terms in the Japanese language which can describe the act of flirting in a positive light. This probably requires inventing terms to close a lexical gap, because as far as I know, all ...
9
votes
2answers
336 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
349 views

What is the difference between 照{て}れる and 照{て}れてる?

According to my dictionary, both 照{て}れる and 照{て}れてる mean to be shy, or be awkward. I don't think one is a different verb form of the other. The て+いる form of 照れる would be 照れている, not 照れてる. So I think ...
13
votes
2answers
288 views

What are the origins of ド when used as emphasis, and is it always negative?

Sometimes I've seen ド as a prefix that adds emphasis to words. So saying someone is ドバカ is saying that they are much more stupid than just バカ. I'm wondering what the origin of ド in this context is. ...
9
votes
1answer
511 views

Qualitative intensifiers e.g. とても, とっても, 超, etc. How are they different?

How are とても/とっても, でかい/でっかい, 超 (and others that I have yet to encounter) used differently? I figured that for とても/とっても-type difference is that the double-consonant(geminated) version is stronger i.e. a ...
15
votes
3answers
873 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 < ...
11
votes
3answers
306 views

Do people actually ever say みょうにち?

I've heard people using あした (the common one) and あす (rather uncommon) to refer to "tomorrow". I was wondering does anyone actually uses the reading みょうにち ?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

に vs で again: 前に vs 後で

Following the current trend of pitting the particles に and で against each other, here is another question that does the same but from another type of usage and perspective. When we want to say "do X ...
6
votes
2answers
193 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
2answers
805 views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
14
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Honorific prefix 「ご」 vs 「お」

Some nouns take the 「ご」 prefix: ご両親 {りょうしん} ご家族 {かぞく} ご無事 {ぶじ} ご安心 {あんしん} ご丁寧 {ていねい} While many others take the 「お」 prefix: お母さん お仕事 {しごと} お月 {つき} お内 {うち} お客 {きゃく} In ...
57
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

けど at the end of the sentence?

According to dictionaries, 「けど」 means ‘but’, ‘although’, ‘however’. However, it seems to have slightly another meaning at the end of the sentence. For example, here are few example sentences with ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there words so bad that they aren't allowed on television?

Warning: We're all adults here, but just in case, this question may contain words, in both Japanese and English, that some may not like to read. A long time ago, when I was working with a translator, ...
10
votes
1answer
696 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
877 views

What is the proper use of だろう, is it “masculine”, and how is it different from と思 【おも】う?

Like a lot of foreign guys, some Japanese I picked up from imitating the women I spoke to. Certain affectations made me sound unwittingly effeminate in the early days when I had less grasp on the ...
7
votes
2answers
251 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
341 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?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between 少{すこ}し (sukoshi) and 小{ちい}さい (chiisai)?

What's the difference between 少{すこ}し (sukoshi) and 小{ちい}さい (chiisai)? In what situations would I use each one?
14
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does そう in 「美味しいそう」 not mean “seem” the way I think it should?

Here's another habitual mistake I make. I'm looking at a sign for a restaurant with pictures of great food. So I remark to my friend: 美味{おい}しいそう、ね? ... intending to mean, "that looks good, don't ...
6
votes
1answer
400 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between 「けれど」 and 「けれども」 and 「けど」?

「けれども」と「けど」と「けれど」はいったいどう違うんですか。「けれども」はテレビ番組でよく使われているが、「けれども」は「けれど」より丁寧ですか。 English translation: What exactly do 「けれども」 and 「けど」 and 「けれど」 mean? They often use 「けれども」 on TV programs, but is 「けれども」 ...
7
votes
6answers
492 views

Shouldn't this phrase using だけのこと mean “just for that”?

In a grammar textbook I have, there is this phrase: 幸{さいわ}い日本{にほん}で日本語{にほんご}を勉強{べんきょう}して、かなり話{はな}せるようになりました。日本{にほん}に行{い}っただけのことはありました。 The translation given is: Fortunately, I studied ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

How would one convey “get over it” in Japanese?

As a foreigner in Japan, one has to get used to the fact that some Japanese will compliment you on things that are too mundane to really deserve mention. Like the fact that you can use chopsticks, eat ...
7
votes
3answers
118 views

difference between 打ち合わせ and 会議 and ミーティング

What's the difference between 打ち合わせ and 会議 and ミーティング? To me it seems that 会議 may be more formal, but I'm not entirely sure.
8
votes
2answers
2k views

The difference between からすると、から見ると、から言うと?

Are there any differences between these three sets: からして、からすると、からすれば vs. から見て、から見ると、から見れば vs. から言って、から言うと、から言えば These 'sets' seem to be used in 2 basic ways: Presents something as ...
5
votes
1answer
423 views

What's the difference in usage between に対して and にとって?

I often used に対して when speaking, and have noticed にとって as the favorite expression of the author who's book I'm now reading. What's the difference in usage? Are there any other similar expressions I ...
14
votes
2answers
254 views

Most appropriate word for 'food'

I have seen many ways of saying 'food'. I am wondering if there is ever a difference in appropriateness. 食品、食べ物、~物(type+物)、飯、ご飯、etc. Most commonly, I think, is 食べ物, but I thought I'd use 食品 for an ...
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