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

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5
votes
3answers
230 views

How to say “all in all”

I have been many times blocked in a conversation because I have no way to translate "all in all" in those general contexts: All in all it takes 15 minutes to get there All in all this movie was ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

What's the difference between these two words for “efficiency”? 能率/効率

These two words both seem to mean "efficiency", but is there any difference in their meaning and usage? From reading around a bit, I have gathered this. Is this correct? Could someone please explain ...
10
votes
2answers
562 views

What's the difference between 図る、測る、計る、量る、諮る、謀る?

These six words are all pronounced はかる, and many are listed under the same definitions in dictionaries. What are the difference between these words?
10
votes
2answers
183 views

住んでいたい and 住みたい

Can anyone tell me, what is the difference between 住んでいたい and 住みたい? Both seem to be valid words.... But I'm unsure which I should be using.
13
votes
3answers
7k 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between “マグロ” (maguro), “ツナ” (tsuna), and “シーチキン” (shiichikin)?

It seems that there are (at least) three words for "tuna" in Japanese: "マグロ" / "鮪" / "まぐろ" (maguro) - Seems to be the native name for the creature and used at least in sushi "ツナ" (tsuna) - Seems to ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

What's the difference between 建てる and 築く?

I recently came across the word 築く, meaning "to build", but I already knew a word for it, 建てる. Looking a bit further into it, 築く seems to include the figurative meaning of "build" as well, such as in ...
7
votes
2answers
168 views

Word difference question - reply (返事 vs 返信)

A simple questions here on word usage. For reply I have always used 返事. Today however a friend mailed me and said 返信. This word is new to me. How does it differ?
1
vote
1answer
84 views

さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other?

The title pretty well summarizes the question. さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other? How are they different? To me, they come across as being used very similarly, at least when at the ...
4
votes
3answers
120 views

Difference between the words for “living/residing” [住む/棲む/泊まる/暮らす]

I have come across various words meaning "living/residing". What are the differences between them and their usage? I've listed what I think are the difference. Are they correct? 住む: Live in some ...
8
votes
1answer
253 views

When is イングランド used and when is イギリス used?

It has always been my understanding that the word for England is イギリス. But the wikipedia page for English-American says イングランド系アメリカ人. Even rikaichan has イングランド as England. Is there a difference in ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

むやみに equivalents : 勝手に vs よく考えないで

Working on practice problems for JLPT N1, had the following sentence: むやみに 知らない人に話しかけないほうがいい。 Correct answer per the book is よく考えないで. Incorrect answer per the book 勝手に Can someone tell me why the ...
4
votes
1answer
517 views

The different meanings of “life”? 生気/生活/ライフ/生命/一生/人生/命

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was Is this the difference between 生気/生活? 生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract 生活 would be ...
14
votes
3answers
696 views

Saying “to miss” (“I missed you over the weekend”)

What's the best way to say "to miss" in the sense of feeling a longing for something, or that something pleasant is missing? I understand there's [懐]{なつ}かしむ, but it seems to me that, like 懐かしい, is ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Is there a difference between 平和 and 平安

Is it like 平安 is used mainly when talking about the 平安時代 or in terms of historical peace?
12
votes
1answer
364 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
758 views

Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
3
votes
2answers
130 views

What's the difference between 彼【かれ】 and あちら?

The way I understand it 彼【かれ】 means 'that person over there' and あちら also means 'that person over there'
3
votes
3answers
182 views

What is the difference between 護る and 守る?

Is there any difference in meaning between 護{まも}る and 守{まも}る? When there are multiple kanji for a particular reading (like 暑{あつ}い/熱{あつ}い or 初{はじ}め/始{はじ}め), they are frequently used in different ...
14
votes
2answers
265 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. ...
1
vote
3answers
165 views

Use of です or あります in the sentence それは椅子

Title says it all. When saying それは椅子 would I use あります or です? I've been using です, but from what I've read, it's used to describe an object, and あります to declare it's existence. So I'm thinking あります ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

When to use 出て来る over 出る

Here is a sentence from the children's story ももたろう, describing when the child appears from within the giant peach. 桃の中から赤ちゃんが出てきました。 My dictionary lists 出て来る as meaning "to come out" with a note ...
7
votes
0answers
4k views

What is the difference between お元気に、お元気で、気をつけて? [duplicate]

I want to say hello to a friend I haven't seen for a long time, and end my message with "take care". All of お元気{げんき}に, お元気{げんき}で and 気{き}をつけて mean "take care", so which one suits my case? How should I ...
4
votes
0answers
90 views

ゆく used in auxiliary sense - instead of いく?

I'm reading a novel 「キッチン」by 吉本ばなな at the moment and I noticed that she uses ゆく in some places as an auxiliary verb to signify the action progression from here or from now (if my understanding is ...
6
votes
2answers
245 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!
9
votes
3answers
313 views

Preferred beginner's term for “flight”?

Since my flight home from Japan is soon approaching I thought I had better learn the word for "flight". It seems to be one of those words that has several Japanese equivalents. I'd like to know the ...
4
votes
2answers
93 views

When do I have to use 午{ご}前{せん}中{ちゅう} and 朝{あさ}?

I am confused with the usage of 午前中 and あさ. When should they be used properly? 明日のあさに銀行で口座を開きます。 明日の午前中に銀行で口座を開きます。
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で

What is the difference between 気{き}をつけて, お大事{だいじ}に and お元気{げんき}で. How and in which context(s) are they used?
5
votes
1answer
125 views

Should I use スタート for “start a new game” or something else?

I want to say, "Are you sure you want to start a new game?" (I'm developing a game for Japanese users, and this question is asked when it finishes.) I'm not sure whether スタート is the correct word to ...
6
votes
1answer
154 views

よると or よれば? Which one is “according to”?

I read some of your post (very very helpful!) and I was wondering if you could write a post about the difference between よると and よれば. Which one is used to mean "according to"?
4
votes
1answer
126 views

What are the differences between 衣類, 衣服 and 服

While I see 衣類 and 衣服 as more general concepts in comparison to 服, I am very unsure of the difference between them. What situations explicitly call for one over the other? In what situations are ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

When do I use できます as opposed to わかります in a sentence?

I know the difference in meaning between the two: できます being "to be able to" or "can do", and わかります being "to understand how to" or "to know". I also know a simple sentence structure for both: "Person ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Talking about system scalability in Japanese

I work at a big IT company in Japan. I'm currently working on a scalability project, that is a project to increase the capacity of a web application. 1) How do express "scalability" in Japanese to a ...
7
votes
1answer
308 views

How do I say “without (noun)” using なしに or なしで?

I know how to say "without" when it comes to verbs using 〜ないで. But I was wondering how to use "without" when it comes to nouns. For example: I left without my wallet. or I left without my ...
4
votes
2answers
441 views

What is the difference between んじゃない and んだ?

I came across the following sentence: 「…あの犯行予告、俺がやったんじゃないんだけどな。」 I also have English subtitles which translate this phrase as: "I wasn't the one who issued that threat, but no matter." What's the ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

分類{ぶんるい} / 種類{しゅるい} / 類い{たぐい} ~ “kind” / “sort” / “type”

I realized I didn't know the Japanese word for the concept which has three very interchangeable words: "kind", "sort", and "type". By looking in my usual resources such as WWWJDIC, English ...
5
votes
2answers
438 views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

遣{つか}う vs. 費{つい}やす

Recently I wanted to learn the equivalents to the common money-related verbs of English such as buy, pay, sell, and spend. I found two words for "spend" and would like to know what the difference is ...
7
votes
3answers
502 views

Difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います, 頂けませんか, and 頂きたいんですけども

I've recently started using the expression 頂ければと思います, but I'm not 100% sure about its precise nuance. Is there any difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います 頂けませんか 頂きたいんですけども? To my non-native ear, ...
8
votes
2answers
210 views

What nuance does ガールフレンド have?

Does ガールフレンド have a meaning of a female friend (like girl friend), or a female romantic partner? Someone told me it had the former meaning, and I should use "彼女" for a romantic partner. However, the ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

Employed by one institution but work for another

I've worked my current job for a few years, and I can't believe I've never thought of this question. I have a unique employment situation. I am employed by a university, but the work I do is for the ...
6
votes
1answer
278 views

Difference between 一段 imperatives ~よ・~ろ

一段 verbs may be conjugated to form imperative forms of ~よ or ~ろ. For example: 見る forms either 見よ or 見ろ 食べる forms either 食べよ or 食べろ How did the two forms come about? What is the difference in ...
15
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the difference between ようこそ and いらしゃいませ?

Both "ようこそ" (yokoso) and "いらしゃいませ" (irashaimase) seem to mean "welcome" but what are the precise circumstances under which each should be used? "いらしゃいませ" (irashaimase) is uttered in unison by all ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

How does one express “late” or “lateness”?

So I know that おそい, ちこく, and おくれる all can mean late. But I don't know what context to use which in. Can I just swap おそくなります, ちこくする, and おくれる at will?
2
votes
1answer
107 views

On the two equivalents on maps of “you are here” (現在地{げんざいち} and 現在位置{げんざいいち})

I've noticed on my travels around Japan that on maps there are two ways of indicating the viewers position in the manner of the English "You are here": 現在地{げんざいち} is common on maps in Japan, and ...
7
votes
2answers
392 views

Choosing the right prefix of the ko-so-a-do series

When talking to native speakers, I find that I'm often corrected for picking the wrong prefix when using words from the ko-so-a-do series (as in これ、そちら、あそこ、どんな、etc). My confusion mainly involves ...
2
votes
2answers
146 views

Isn't ずらっと並んでいる redundant?

I have this sentence in a practise JLPT question: サッカー選手{せんしゅ}がずらっと並{なら}んでいる。 According to the dictionary I referenced, ずらっと means to "be in a line", and 並{なら}ぶ means "to line up", so wouldn't ...
15
votes
1answer
862 views

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

In my JLPT 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 大金{たいきん}  C 金銭{きんせん}  D 基金{ききん} The answer ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

What's the difference between そうかな and そうなんだ?

I've always thought that they both mean something like "I see" or "Is that so?" and I was told that they have different meaning. Is that so?
3
votes
0answers
99 views

水疱 vs 火脹れ vs 水脹れ vs 肉刺

While hitchhiking from Tokyo to Sapporo in the past couple of days I devloped a few blisters on the soles of my feet. I like to learn my vocabulary based on my experience so looked up "blister" but ...