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

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3
votes
2answers
267 views

How do you say “pair” of people?

I speak no Japanese, but need to represent the concept of pair or team in a poetic context. Specifically, I would like to describe two people (a couple) as a "pair of shinobi". From a poetic ...
6
votes
2answers
270 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What's a nice way to say “fingers crossed”?

What's a nice way to express any of the following - "Let's keep our fingers crossed" "I'll keep my fingers crossed!" (We / I) (are / am) keeping (our / my ) fingers crossed"
2
votes
1answer
114 views

How do I greet a group of people in different time zones?

Let's say a group of friends from different countries are in a Skype call. For me, perhaps it's morning, while others are in midday or nighttime hours in their respective countries. When in a ...
4
votes
2answers
153 views

In a period of time

What's the best way to express in in the following sentence: I will go in five minutes time. Here's my attempt     五分かいあとで行きます。 Here's another attempt which I have even less confidence in: ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

Chotto and sukoshi …kudasai?

Is it okay if I say 'sukoshi matte kudasai' instead of 'chotto matte kudasai' ?
4
votes
2answers
165 views

How do you tell when 持つ is stative or dynamic?

I am confused on how to distinguish if a verb is stative or dynamic when used in a sentence. For example, 持つ appears to have two definitions, one for a dynamic meaning and one for a stative meaning. ...
4
votes
1answer
216 views

Does 同居 have a sexual connotation?

I have been watching Fate/Stay Night, the Unlimited Blade Works one. In this particular episode, as Shirou (male character) tells other characters that Saber (female character) will stay at his place, ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

Which one is better? 鮮魚 or 新鮮な魚?

I have this question about 鮮魚 or 新鮮な魚. I've read them both in different situations and I want to know if there's a correct way or in what situations can I use each of them.
4
votes
1answer
207 views

Difference between 思った and 思っていた?

I was under the impression that 思った meant that, sometime in the past, you did the instantaneous action of "think" and had a thought while 思っていた meant that you kept a thought for a period of time. ...
4
votes
1answer
213 views

“If you were to ask why, …”

In English, we have a construction like Yeah, I would never let him in. If you were to ask why, well, I guess I'd say because he's too young. My sense of the nuance is that it admits that what ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Nominalizing する Verbs

When using する verbs, is there a significant semantic/connotative difference between using the bare noun compared to simply adding a nominalizer (の・こと) after the する? 例: 「運転が好きです。」 「運転することが好きです。」 ...
4
votes
3answers
392 views

How to say a sentence without repeating the word?

I'm sorry if this is a duplicate question (I bet it is), I didn't really know what to search for. 猫を描く、犬を描かない。 (I draw cats, I don't draw dogs.) How do you say that sentence without having to ...
2
votes
3answers
196 views

Difference between 便利さ and 利便性

If I understand correctly, 便利さ and 利便性 have the same meaning. Is there any difference in nuance or usage? Maybe 利便性 is more formal?
8
votes
1answer
179 views

What's the difference between (いちば/しじょう) for 市場?

Does it refer to two different types of markets? Thank you.
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Is 「習得している」much different from 「勉強している」?

「日本語{にほんご}を習得{しゅうとく}する」means "to acquire the ability to use Japanese", right? 「日本語を勉強{べんきょう}する」means "to study Japanese", right? So, in what ways are 「日本語を習得している」 different from「日本語を勉強している」? Might ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Does using 書き順 sound childish?

Is 筆順 a more professional sounding term?
1
vote
3answers
214 views

Does ただな mean the same thing as ただの?

According to http://www.jisho.org/words?jap=%E3%81%9F%E3%81%A0&eng=&dict=edict, ただ is a na-adjective. People seem to use ただの exelucisvely, and I wonder what ただな means. What does ただな mean?
3
votes
4answers
237 views

Use of 全部{ぜんぶ} in the following sentence

タクシーの全部{ぜんぶ}が白い{しろい}。 Would that be a natural way to say: all the taxis are white. ?
3
votes
1answer
198 views

Help with Kenjougo!

I'm trying to come up with a polite introduction. Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Megan to moushimasu. Tekisasu kara mairimashita. watashi wa kentakkii-shuu ni sunde orimasu. Sumimasen, watashi ...
4
votes
2answers
290 views

The difference between 幸 and 運 as “luck” or “fortune”

I've come across these two kanji in a few cases for "good/bad fortune" and even in combination with eachother. I'd really like to understand if there's a subtle difference that I'm missing so that I ...
1
vote
1answer
142 views

Differences between 「が」、「ても」、「のに」

What is the usage difference between these three definitively? As an intermediate Japanese speaker, I somewhat understand where I would say them, but I can't point out under which contexts any of them ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

実名 vs 本名 connotation?

I've seen both of these used about equally, and they seem to have similar meanings. Are they entirely interchangeable?
5
votes
1answer
154 views

What criteria decides whether to print 「氏」 or 「さん」 at the end of a person's name in newspapers?

I just realized that newspapers sometimes end a person's name with 「さん」: 後藤さん不明、昨年11月に把握 首相、答弁で明かす:。And then sometimes end a person's name with 「氏」: 自民・山本一太氏、人質事件で与野党結束訴え:。 In this forum, I found this ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Counter word for prepackaged instant ramen

What would be the most adequate counter word for this type of instant noodles? Like '1 package of ramen'.
4
votes
1answer
168 views

What's the difference between 補給, 補充, 補足, 補完?

According to Denshi Jisho, they mean "supplementation" but I wonder if there is any difference in their nuances. Here are some examples where they are used: 小まめに補給することが大切です。 職員の欠員を補充するために広告を出した。 ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Differences between words for “optimistic” and “pessimistic”

I've been confused for a long time about how certain Japanese words map onto the meaning of "optimistic" and "pessimistic" in English. Specifically, what is the difference between (Optimistic) ...
5
votes
2answers
221 views

How to describe something as hypocritical

I know that the word 偽善者 exists in Japanese and is listed in Japanese-English dictionaries as the translation of 'hypocrite'. But the kanji 偽善 and the definition make me wonder what the actual word ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

「勉強{べんきょう}を続{つづ}ける」 vs.「勉強をやり続ける」

Do 「勉強を続ける」 and 「勉強をやり続ける」 have the same basic meaning: "to continue with one's studies"? Is 「やり続ける」 a slightly rougher, less formal, way of saying「続ける」? But, the difference in nuance is minimal at ...
-5
votes
1answer
169 views

“Infinity” as a tattoo [closed]

I know this is really "Mainstream", but let's say I would like to have the word "infinity" as a tatto. (edit) 4. Which one would be the right ? And what exactly does each of them mean ?
3
votes
1answer
126 views

What is the difference between 酒 and お酒?

I know that adding お makes it honorific, but I want to know how they're used differently.
8
votes
1answer
124 views

Difference between せんしゅう and ぜんしゅう

I was looking at this answer and I discovered the word ぜんしゅう (last week). I am familiar with せんしゅう, and I was wondering if there is any difference in meaning between them?
4
votes
1answer
144 views

What's the difference between いつ and 何時{なんじ}

They are both written as 何時 (what time) in the dictionary but they seem to be different words. My understanding is that "なんじ" asks for "exact hour" while "いつ" is like a general "when". Is that right? ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

What is the difference between all the words for tools / devices?

There is too many words for 'tool' that I am having hard time figuring out when to use which, or if some of them are just synonyms, meaning essentially the same thing. So far I know at least the ...
3
votes
2answers
208 views

Difference between 英才【えいさい】 and 天才【てんさい】 (genius)

Can someone highlight the differences between 英才【えいさい】 and 天才【てんさい】? When searching their definitions, I see: 英才:1. genius;  brilliance;  unusual talent; 2. genius;  brilliance;  unusual ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

Usage of さぞ and きっと

I looked these words and means surely. Usually I see きっと, but is usual to use さぞ? きっとお疲れでしょう。 さぞお疲れでしょう。 It's ok use both?
3
votes
2answers
136 views

What's the difference between 親切 and 優しい?

In my text books they were both translated as "friendly, kind", so I'm wondering if they can be used interchangeably or if they are different somehow. I tried to ask some people but although they ...
45
votes
10answers
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

Differences between the words for “decoration”?

While making a list of Christmas vocabulary, I've noticed there's several words for "decoration". 飾り, デコレーション, 飾り付け, and 装飾 are the ones I've seen. Judging by google images(with "クリスマス" added), ...
4
votes
1answer
215 views

How to ask for something, formally, but on the internet

I don't really have a great understanding of Japanese internet culture, but as a Korean, I'm guessing it would be quite similar to ours in terms of "formality," as both Korean and Japanese have ...
2
votes
2answers
221 views

Which is the most correct (or common): 話 or 話し?

The meaning of 話, as a kanji, is "tale, talk", but as a word, it means the same as 話し: "Talk; speech; chat; story; conversation." In the official jouyou kanji chart, there's only 話, for the isolated ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

「身につく」 Usage of this word in this sentence

From what i can tell, she is saying something along the lines of 'Even if you have the whole cake, it's only 70 grams' but i'm unsure on the usage of 身につく here. Unless my interpretation of the ...
7
votes
2answers
295 views

Polite Way of Saying “I can't…(answer the phone)” (しかねる vs. できない)

I'd like to ask about a polite way to say "I can't (do something for you)". I'm sure the answer will depend on the context, so specifically, I'm curious about how to convey "I won't be able to answer ...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

Difference between 怒り{いかり} and 怒り{おこり}

Both 怒り{いかり} and 怒り{おこり} are nouns and mean "anger". Even the kanji are the same! How can we distinguish these two?
6
votes
1answer
289 views

Desire words: When to use 欲望{よくぼう}, 欲求{よっきゅう}, 欲{よく} and 欲念{よくねん}?

Today I ran into these three desire words, which are defined: 欲 = greed, craving, desire, avarice, wants 欲求 = desire 欲望 = desire, appetite, lust And while searching dictionaries, I also found a ...
13
votes
3answers
19k views

Using なるほど (naruhodo) and やっぱり (yappari) in the same situation

I know, since they are of different word classes, なるほど (naruhodo) and やっぱり (yappari) may not be used interchangeably within the same sentence, but can they be used within the same situation instead? ...
12
votes
1answer
429 views

Is こら a lot more rude than ほら?

From early on, I've used こら and ほら somewhat interchangeably. They both mean "hey!" I picked them up from friends early on without without really having a sense of the difference. Now, after some ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

もっとも: distinguishing between 尤も and 最も

I found a page in Japanese with title "世界でもっとも汚染された10の都市". Having encountered the phrase 「もっとも」 for the first time, I looked it up on WWWJDIC and found two entries: 尤も 【もっとも】 (adj-na,adv,conj,n) ...
8
votes
2answers
262 views

What is the difference between all the weather words: 気象{きしょう}, 天気{てんき} and 天候{てんこう}?

Dictionary (at least Jisho and WWWJDIC) defines them as: 気象{きしょう} = weather, climate 天気{てんき} = weather, the elements 天候{てんこう} = weather They all have quite similar definitions, so I don't quite ...
4
votes
1answer
415 views

Can both Hepburn and Kunreisiki romaji be used to write a person's name?

I once asked why there are two input systems to type some of the same letters, like し or つ, which can be written as shi/si or tsu/tu. I was told that both are okay, I could choose the way I like to ...