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

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10
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the difference in usage between a plural using (a) the kanji repetition character 々, (b) a plural using -たち, and (c) the singular?

I know that there are some noun that are made plural by the kanji repetition character, such as 人々 and 国々. My question is, how does this differ from using the non-plural form of the noun? And how does ...
8
votes
2answers
158 views

どうしますか vs 何をしますか

I always interpreted 何 as "what" and "どう" as more of a "How or How about?" and thus was under the impression that if one wanted to ask "What will you do?" or "What did you do?" you would say 何をしますか ...
2
votes
3answers
313 views

できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” [duplicate]

A couple of days ago I tried to express "I can ..." where "..." was some some verb or verb phrase. I used the ~て form of the ... verb followed by 出来ます but was told instead to change the form of the ...
14
votes
1answer
254 views

Is 花見 only for “cherry blossom” viewing?

Textbooks usually teach that 花見 / お花見 means "cherry blossom viewing". Tatoeba has a couple of examples supporting that: ヒラヒラと桜の花が舞っている。もうお花見の季節も終わりだな It looks like cherry blossom-viewing ...
4
votes
1answer
315 views

Natural way of saying “Once you take away the unnecessary bits, it works”

In my earlier question "Line of code" in Japanese I was trying to figure out a word for the following sentence: 余計【よけい】な行【ぎょう】を抜く【ぬく】と状況【じょうきょう】が直った【なおった】。 "Once the unnecessary lines ...
11
votes
4answers
479 views

Usage of お[冷]{ひや} & お水

I just went out for lunch with a friend and when the waiter asked what we want to drink, I ordered 'お[水]{みず}下さい' whereas I noticed my friend asked for 'お[冷]{ひや}下さい'. Which expression would be more ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

Are 清酒{せいしゅ} and 日本酒{にほんしゅ} two words for the same thing?

As well as the several other kinds of Japanese alcoholic drinks I seem to have found two words which both mean the drink known in the west as "saké". Now I know 酒{さけ} can be used for many kinds of ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

How would you use 化かす?

The dictionary says that it means 'To bewitch.' Could you please give an example of it's use and when you'd use it? Thank you immensely!
15
votes
4answers
731 views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

How would I say “Courageous warriors called Samurai?”

How would I go about saying "Courageous warriors called Samurai? Would さむらいと言うゆうきなせんし make sense?
5
votes
6answers
401 views

What is the proper word for self-study?

So I know that jiko shoukai is self-introduction. And benkyou is study. So I took a guess and figured that self-study is jiko benkyou. The context of this is if someone asks "how did/do you study ...
5
votes
1answer
317 views

Difference between 家内、嫁、妻、奥さん、かみさん and other words meaning wife

I have seen and heard all these words being used before all to mean wife, but what is the differences between them? I know some, such as 家内, can only be used for your own wife, but which are which? ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

The difference between 詳しい and 詳細 when used adverbially or adjectivally

While I know that 詳しい and 詳細 both have unique meanings, there are some cases where I am not able to tell the difference between them. Here are two I've stumbled upon: Adverbially: 我々の研究計画を詳しく述べた ...
14
votes
3answers
274 views

Why can some words be written with or without okurigana? How do the uses differ?

What is the difference for word compounds that can exist with 送り仮名 and without and still retain the same pronunciation? As an example: 巻き貝 と 巻貝 取り引き と 取引 If I'm correct, both of these are ...
8
votes
2answers
387 views

Difference between ~ざる and ~ぬ

A sentence from 五輪書: おのづから道の器用有りて、天理をはなれざる故か。 I found a question about ~ざる and ~ぬ on 知恵袋. The only answer claims that ~ぬ and ~ざる are both the 連体形 of ~ず and ~ざる is a "complementary" conjugation, ...
5
votes
2answers
214 views

Is it common to use 火を入れる when referring to a degree to which meat or any steak should be cooked?

I recently asked for a well done steak at a restaurant, while my friend asked for a medium rare. When waiter came back with two steaks, he used 「火をよく入れた方」 to let us know which one is well done. So ...
2
votes
2answers
376 views

What is the correct way of saying “third” in different contexts?

What would be the correct way of saying "third" in the following contexts: Chronologically (This is the third time this happens) Ranked (I am the third best player in the world) Other? Maybe other ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

Why sometimes people change the way they say 明日 from あした to みょうにち or あす when confirming a reservation day over the phone?

I noticed that each time I get my haircut reservation to the day after the day conversation takes place, I hear the person on the other end changing the way he or she says 明日 from あした to あす or みょうにち, ...
8
votes
2answers
344 views

明日: あす & あした; Is there a difference in meaning and when each is used?

Is there a difference between these two words for "tomorrow" and when each is used? (and is it just coincidence that あした sounds like the past tense of あす?) We tend to be taught あした and then discover ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

How to differentiate between references in past to mean “last time” or “earlier”

I asked my teacher how to say "last question", to which she responded by "前の質問【しつもん】". However somehow I feel, 前の質問 refers more like "question that was asked earlier". Can anyone please explain how I ...
3
votes
1answer
225 views

Making sense of “心配させる” (causative verbs)

I'm trying to understand the phrase 「Aを心配させるな」 by "sounding it out" in English. I can understand 「Aを心配かけるな」as meaning "Do NOT associate/connect any worries with A!!!". In my thinking, that makes ...
3
votes
1answer
199 views

返{かえ}る / 戻{もど}る vs “come back” / “go back” / “return”

In English we have a generic and two directional ways of saying related things: return - doesn't imply a direction, has other uses including transitive ones (I returned the book I borrowed) come ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Is 拝見いたしました an example of 二重敬語?

二重敬語 is presumably considered bad style (or simply incorrect). I hear/read 拝見いたしました all the time. Is it an example of 二重敬語? I understood 二重敬語 to be a little more complex than "used a polite form ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

Are “ピーナッツ” and “ピーナツ” both correct for “peanut(s)”?

I've just noticed that the usual word for "peanut" or "peanuts" in Japanese is "ピーナッツ" (pīnattsu), but the first spelling I found, from looking in the translation table in the English Wiktionary was ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Is there a strict usage difference between 耐性 and 耐容 in medical contexts?

According to WWWJDIC and ALC, 耐性 is used for drug tolerance (e.g., 耐性現象), but 耐容 is used for radiation (e.g. 耐容線量). Based on that, my guess is that 耐性 can be used to express neutral effects like ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

When would I use 飛行場【ひこうじょう】over 空港【くうこう】 for airport?

So My flashcards say 飛行場【ひこうじょう】means airport. But actual airports in Japan always use 空港【くうこう】, like 成田【なりた】空港【くうこう】. What are the differences between these? And in what situations (if any) would ...
6
votes
5answers
615 views

How to say “Hey hurry up! you'll be late!”?

When we want to say "Hey, hurry up! you'll be late!", which would be more appropriate? : 遅刻するぞ! 遅くなるぞ! any other suggestions?
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Does 両目 have a special meaning or is it just a mistake?

Today I found this sentence on my Japanese textbook (みんなの日本語中級I - 本冊 pg. 70) And it didn't make any sense to me. 前から2両目の電車を降りたところで待っています。 I looked for 両目 on 電子辞書 and it says it means both eyes. ...
10
votes
2answers
484 views

ご~いただけます vs. ご~になれます

I know that you can use ご~いただく toward "clients" (which is something I've never really understood; maybe better as a question of its own) such as ご来店いただき、まことにありがとうございます ("Thank you (customer) for ...
0
votes
2answers
323 views

“にすぎない” vs “だけ” and “にかぎらない” vs “だけじゃない”

I am having difficulties to make sense of にすぎない, which is translated by EDICT to mean "no more than that; just; only". Is it not simply equivalent to だけ? Can I use にすぎない as substitute for だけ? Also, ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

Difference between 方法 and 手段

I was brushing up on some basic vocabulary. Asked what the Japanese equivalent of "the means (of doing something)", I would use 方法. However, they've used 手段. As far as I can tell, these are (fairly) ...
4
votes
2answers
780 views

Casually asking for a person's name, more natural than 名前は何ですか。

I just learnt that 「名前は何ですか。」 sounds non-native. What would sound more natural? Let's say I am addressing a friend of a friend, same age, after a futsal game where we talked together without being ...
-2
votes
1answer
161 views

Should I say this differently? [closed]

どうやって私は女の子と良い物事になせるのですか? I'm pretty sure this makes sense, but I think I could say this a little better but I'm not sure how...?
3
votes
1answer
183 views

Verbs for bending and turning

I'm having some difficulty with the various verbs that exist for bending and turning and could really use some insight into them: 曲がる - Intransitive 曲げる - Transitive 回る - Intransitive 回す - Transitive ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

The differences between 真理,真相 and 真実

I've often seen 真理,真相 and 真実 in contexts that to me seem interchangeable. Could some one give examples of where each word is most appropriate? When is one more appropriate than the other? For ...
6
votes
3answers
204 views

What is the difference between 乗り場 and バス停?

I've seen them both with the meaning of 'Bus Stop.' Could someone please explain how they're different? Thank you in advance!
3
votes
1answer
255 views

Difference between intransitive and passive?

I was thinking about Japanese passive and made the following example 壊すー>壊される which means the be broken But looking at the English definition of to be broken, isn't there another Japanese word for ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

How are programming projects discussed in Japanese?

In English, programming projects (and large systematic projects in general) typically take their descriptive cues from well-known manufacturing/construction industry jargon, i.e. "blueprint", ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

The difference between 一流 and 五つ星 in hotel classification

What is the difference between 一流 and 五つ星 in the context of hotel classification? They both mean "5-Star" or "Luxury" but is there a subtle nuance that differentiates them for native Japanese ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

“あそこ” is for daily conversation? "あちら is for writing / formal speaking?

(-) Strictly with regard to meaning, "あそこ" and "あちら" are exactly the same, right? (of course, "あそこ" also has a slang meaning). (-) Isn't "あちら" used more in writing? "あそこ" used in speaking? (-) ...
2
votes
1answer
239 views

How do you say “question”, and which counter should be used?

I'd like to know the word for "question" itself. For example if I wanted to say: I have a question わたしは (question) があります。 I've had a hard time finding an answer to this question because ...
8
votes
3answers
313 views

The differences between いきなり, [急]{きゅう}に and [突然]{とつぜん}

I've come to see [突然]{とつぜん} as "sudden in an almost overwhelming manner". The other two, however, I am unable to figure out. What are the differences between these words, and when is one more ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

What are the differences between 床, 床上, and 床の上?

I think I have an idea of the differences but I'm not sure. My goal was to say "put [something] on the floor". To me, 床{ゆか}の上 sounds the best (not that means anything). For example: 服を床の上に置きます。 The ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

What are the conventions for refering to male VS female トイレ?

I just came across a sentence that used 男子トイレ and 女子トイレ and it got me wondering. What is the difference (if there is one) between the 男子トイレ and the 男性トイレ, and of course between the 女子トイレ and the ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

What's the difference between 浮かぶ and 浮く?

I often see 浮く in contexts relating to floatability, like: 氷は水に浮きます However, sometimes I see 浮く used where I'd use 浮かぶ. When should one be used over the other? Are there any cases where both are ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between 忘れてた and 忘れちゃった

Who knows the difference between 忘れてた and 忘れちゃった? In what kind of situations you use each of those?
0
votes
1answer
131 views

“くれない” vs. “ください”

I recently asked about the differences between "くださいませんか" and "いただけませんか". But, I just realized I have a related question. Doesn't "くれない" have the same basic meaning as "ください"? And, isn't it more ...
6
votes
1answer
324 views

“くださいませんか” vs. “いただけませんか”

When I want to make 「それを見せて下さい。」 more formal, I always say 「それを見せて頂けませんか?」. But, I want to double-check this.    I never say 「それを見せて下さいませんか。」. While that seems perfectly fine, I don't think I've ...
4
votes
1answer
343 views

How to hope something is going well?

I would like to hope that someone's small business is going well. I know if someone's business is going well they can say: 「店は繁盛している」 but, how can I say "I hope your store is prosperous/I hope ...
1
vote
1answer
185 views

言っていました vs 言いました when saying 'someone said …'

If you wanted to say. 'Keiko said xxx,' why is けいこさんが「xxx」と言っていました better than けいこさんが「xxx」と言いました? Thank you, and happy new year! (Also is は better than が in this instance?)