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

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2
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2answers
281 views

Expressing control over circumstances—or a lack of it

If someone is discussing a situation, and how it is beyond their control, what would be the most natural way to express this? The two options that come to mind offhand are to use either 操る【あやつる】 ("to ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Difference between 区別 and 差別

What is the difference between 区別{くべつ} and 差別{さべつ}? I looked them up in my Japanese to Chinese dictionary, but the dictionary defines them to be "difference", to put it literally.
3
votes
3answers
725 views

How to say “surprising” in Japanese

I saw this link - When is the correct situation to use 案外 or 意外? It taught me a new word (案外) and explained its difference from 意外 well. But it's other words that have me confused. 意外 and 驚くべき. Both ...
12
votes
2answers
937 views

What do you call young animals in Japanese?

In English we have a lot of very specific words for many animals. Male foxes are known as reynards or tods, female foxes are known as vixens, and baby foxes are known as kits. It's not an isolated ...
10
votes
2answers
568 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?
4
votes
1answer
94 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
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2answers
187 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.
5
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
6
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3answers
251 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
177 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?
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vote
1answer
91 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
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3answers
138 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
113 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
535 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
119 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?
3
votes
2answers
131 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
185 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 ...
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vote
3answers
170 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
100 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
101 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 ...
7
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2answers
329 views

Is “義理” the proper term in this case?

I have trained for 25 years with a local (European) Aikido master, but now I have to move, albeit temporarily, to another town, and I would like to give a gift to my teacher to represent the "debt" I ...
4
votes
2answers
95 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。
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3answers
325 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
129 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
169 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
132 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
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2answers
74 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
128 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
81 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
469 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
329 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
137 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?
8
votes
2answers
216 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
167 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?
2
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
472 views

What is the correct Japanese translation for “pull down to refresh” in an app context?

I am currently studying Japanese, and one of my approaches for studying is by translating applications (since I also make apps for a living). How do I correctly translate "pull down to refresh"? ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

なんどもあります OR たくさんあります?

If someone asks, てんぷらをたべたことがありますか? I read that you can answer with なんどもあります. However, I thought it would be たくさんあります. They both mean, "I've done it many times." Right?
4
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1answer
772 views

“I went for a run” - how to say this in Japanese?

I'm an amateur runner and I'm struggling a bit with Japanese vocabulary on the topic of running. The phrase that gives me special trouble is "go for a run". I'm not sure how to convey the meaning of ...
5
votes
2answers
426 views

Which verb for “get off” / “leave” the Shuto Expressway?

I'm not sure which way to say something like exit/leave/depart/get off/escape is most appropriate when the thing I want to get off is the system of expressways in Tokyo called the Shuto 首都高. I'm not ...
7
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
93 views

穿る vs ほじる vs ほじくる

In wondering how to expressing the act of picking one's nose in Japanese I came across the following term or terms: 穿る / ほじる / ほじくる I got the feeling from WWWJDIC that the two hiragana are ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Opposite of 歯止め?

According to WWWJDIC, 歯止め is used as follows: 歯止めをかける; 歯止めを掛ける (exp,v1) to curb; to halt; to apply brakes; to put an end to The English translations have a pretty good correspondence with the ...
4
votes
2answers
126 views

On the two words, several pronunciations, and many spellings for “sake cup”

When I was in Okinawa drinking sake I asked my host what the Japanese word for the sake cup was and was told: お猪口{ちょこ} Then today I went to the Nezu Museum in Tokyo which currently has a ...
2
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2answers
272 views

Choosing the right form of “to dry”

I've come across two different words for "to dry" in my readings: 干す【ほす】 and 乾く【かわく】. I've seen both used to refer to things drying out (e.g. 「白妙の衣干すちょう」 from the 2nd poem in the 百人一首 or 「涙は乾いた」 in ...
7
votes
1answer
312 views

Difference between the words for “feeling”

I have seen and been taught many words meaning "feeling", but what is the difference between the words, and where are they used? I have done a bit of research myself and have come up with these ...
11
votes
1answer
242 views

When to use 〜す verbs or their する verb counterparts

Consider the verb pairs 表【ひょう】する and 表【ひょう】す、or 訳【やく】する and 訳【やく】す。 I realize the distinction may be academic(for example, either way the ます form is always spelled 訳します), but what is the functional ...
5
votes
2answers
158 views

Are ~つ and ~り the only two counters that can occur with the native Japanese numbers (ひと~, ふた~, etc)?

Please go easy on me if this seems too basic and obvious, I'm a beginner. I always had the impression that there were counters that went with the native Japanese numbers and counters that went with ...