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

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15
votes
6answers
7k views

Can somebody explain the various words and combinations thereof used for thanking?

To my knowledge there are three words which can be used in thanking and they seem to be usable together in some combinations: どうも (d­ōmo) どうもありがとう (dōmo arigatō) ありがとう (arigatō) ありがとうございます (arigatō ...
1
vote
2answers
208 views

Ways to express prohibitions [duplicate]

I've been learning Japanese for a few days and there is one thing that I want to know: How is "forbids" expressed on signs in Japan? And how in formal texts? I suggest that the form "[x]は きんし です。" ...
4
votes
1answer
273 views

Strive to achieve something

I am having a hard time express the concept of striving to achieve something. I found a video of a monk online using the word 励む, but I am not sure exactly how to use it. It seems it pairs with nouns ...
4
votes
3answers
956 views

How to say “you may not [verb] here”?

たとえば、おすしを食べてもいいですか? is for "May I eat sushi?". However I know that ちょっと、食べなくてもいいです。Is not the right phrase because that means: "Well, you don't have to eat (that)." So what is the response for ...
7
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the difference between 腰掛ける and 座る?

What is the difference between 腰掛ける and 座る?
24
votes
7answers
4k views

Difference between negative forms {-ず} and {-ぬ}

{-ず} and {-ぬ} are two alternatives to the negative form {-ない} / {-ません}. But I noticed that depending on the word, it's either {-ず} or {-ぬ}, although it seems like some words can take both suffixes. ...
1
vote
4answers
168 views

Which is more natural: イエス様の救う恵み or 救うイエス様の恵み?

I'm trying to translate "Jesus's saving grace". Translating directly from English, the phrase that comes to mind is: イエス様の救っている恵み But I get the feeling that maybe it's more natural and ...
2
votes
1answer
798 views

What is a word meaning “to ask”?

I've needed to use a word "to ask" recently, and the word I decided on was [尋]{たず}ねる. But I have strong doubts that this is actually the right word to use in a situation such as this: I would like ...
14
votes
5answers
848 views

In modern usage how do Japanese natives regard the differences between 外人, 外国人 and 外人さん?

As a near native speaker of Japanese, I find it annoying to be called 外人 since it seems to imply that I "know nothing about Japan" (outsider). I much prefer 外国人. In modern usage, how do native ...
9
votes
2answers
176 views

What's the difference between 静けさ and 静かさ?

Much to my disbelief (no, I'm kidding, it happens all the time), I found out that my handbook was wrong to tell me we must use 静けさ, because 静かさ doesn't exist. Wiki(tionary) says "For degree, ...
49
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
258 views

How interchangeable are の/である/なる/たる when qualifying nouns?

So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a の. 友達のジョン → My friend John 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare) It seems ...
6
votes
1answer
731 views

Difference between the many words for son and daughter

There are three words to refer to somebody else's daughter (According to my dictionary): 娘さん、お嬢さん、令嬢。 There are also three words to refer to somebody else's son: 息子さん、子息、坊ちゃん。 What are the ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Difference between 北辰 and 北極星

In Japanese, I found two common translations of the English word "north star/polaris". 北辰 北極星 Could someone tell me the difference between the two? I saw that 北辰 is used for the design on the ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

Difference between -ていく and -てくる

Can someone explain the differences between v-ていく and v-てくる for me. I know that they both express some kind of ongoing action (like a place getting crowded). For example, what's the difference between ...
4
votes
2answers
201 views

What is the difference between 危ない and 危うい?

I came across this question, and found the same meaning in the dictionary for both options (a-危ない) or (b-危うい) ですから 下がってください however the answer booklet says it is (a-危ない), what is the difference? ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

Is this sentence correct?

I'm trying to say this in Japanese: "Woe be to those who near the swamp." I wasn't really sure how to go about this, but I came up with this: それらのための災いは誰が沼に行きます Woe for those who go to the ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

明日が/明日は, what's the difference?

I know it's a complicated grammar concept that even Japanese don't fully get, but I'd like to know what's the difference between 明日は火曜日です and 明日が火曜日です They way I understand it, in the second ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

What is the difference between ~あろうが and ~あろうと?

I'm writing a report for a class, and at first I wrote:  […]どのような批判があろうが[…] But then I sat back and thought, maybe it should actually be:  […]どのような批判があろうと[…] But now I'm not sure if ...
7
votes
1answer
110 views

Differences and similarities between 係 and 担当

I have some questions about the difference between 係 and 担当. Do these words have the same meaning? Basically, can they be used interchangeably as "the person/group in charge of something"? I know ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

what is the difference between [法度]{はっと} and [法律]{ほうりつ}?

To add a bit more to my question, I'm wondering if the words are used interchangeably, or if 法度 has more a sense of law that is set up to ban or prohibit something? Is 法度 a commonly used word?
7
votes
1answer
503 views

How impolite is it to call a waitress お姉{ねえ}さん?

Were I in a situation where I want to get the attention of a waitress in a noisy restaurant, I kind of feel like calling-out: "お姉{ねえ}さん、すみませんが、ビールもう一本お願いできますか?". I think that I've seen this done in a ...
6
votes
2answers
196 views

電話する or 電話をする to form the verb

I'd like to know if there is any difference between 電話する and 電話をする, if they mean the same, or if 電話をする doesn't even exist. I ask this because in an exercise in my book it says to use をする with 電話 to ...
4
votes
3answers
202 views

How to say “rough year” or “rough time”?

I want to say "it was a rough year", but I'm not sure how to put it. I thought of "難しい年頃" which I understand means "difficult age", normally used to describe the rebel age of kids. How do people ...
3
votes
2answers
462 views

Is こんばんは too formal for everyday conversation?

When giving a talk on Japanese, How to talk like a ge1sha, I made a terrible mistake: I invited someone who knew something about the language along. The only times he heckled me was when he reckoned ...
7
votes
3answers
143 views

Is “先生 / せんせい / sensei” haughty or overly-formal

If I were to tell my Japanese friend that I plan to become a teacher, would I literally say that I will become a sensei? I have always thought of this as an honorific title, and it feels odd to call ...
3
votes
2answers
392 views

に/で as time particles. What's the difference?

I've read a post on this topic, but really not sure of the difference when applied to something like this: 私は朝飯のみに茶を飲む 私は朝飯のみで茶を飲む From what I read, I'm guessing one of them is incorrect, as に ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

Still trying to get my head around に and で

I've been trying to understand those two particles when applied to these phrases: 私は朝ご飯にお茶を飲みます 私は朝ご飯でお茶を飲みます 私は朝ご飯の時にお茶を飲みます What I more or less undersand is: the only/main ...
3
votes
1answer
209 views

Why don't 私 and 朝飯 go together?

Earlier, I asked a question with the following examples: 私は朝飯のみに茶を飲む 私は朝飯のみで茶を飲む I was told in a comment that 私 and 朝飯 sound funny together. Why is that so?
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Difference between こんにち and きょう

My dictionary says 今日(きょう) is a special reading. My textbook presents it in the third lesson, so I'm guessing it's a normal pronunciation. So... what's the difference between 今日(こんにち) and 今日(きょう)?
3
votes
1answer
100 views

年休 vs. 有休/有給 as paid time off work

I have heard both terms, 年休{ねんきゅう} and 有休{ゆうきゅう} (or occasionally 有給), used to describe paid vacation time, or 年次有給休暇{ねんじゆうきゅうきゅうか}. In my situation it's always been 年休, but I know people just a town ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Difference between 朝御飯 and 朝飯 [duplicate]

Is there any difference between them? One more formal than the other maybe?
2
votes
2answers
299 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
6k views

Usage of すみません (sumimasen) versus ごめんなさい (gomen'nasai)

There are several situations in which one of these words (phrases?) should be used but there's not usually a 1:1 mapping between any two languages. Get somebody's permission. English: "excuse me", ...
3
votes
1answer
143 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.
7
votes
2answers
340 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
333 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
400 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; ...
3
votes
3answers
888 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
404 views

Rosetta Stone uses は instead of わ

Just started learning japanese again. My college offers no class on this so I am learning on my own. I have been using Rosetta Stone on and off again for awhile now. One this I have noticed is that ...
6
votes
3answers
307 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
96 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
617 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
192 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
9k 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
76 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
219 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?
2
votes
1answer
101 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 ...