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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16
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
849 views

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」?

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」, all seemingly meaning "well" in English? Someone said that I should use 「よく」 rather than 「うまく」 in the following sentence. Can anyone explain why? ...
13
votes
1answer
273 views

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」? I used to always read 「この辺{へん}」as 「この辺{あたり}」 as I thought it would be confused with 「変{へん}」 but it apparently is different.
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Honorific prefix 「ご」 vs 「お」

Some nouns take the 「ご」 prefix: ご両親 {りょうしん} ご家族 {かぞく} ご無事 {ぶじ} ご安心 {あんしん} ご丁寧 {ていねい} While many others take the 「お」 prefix: お母さん お仕事 {しごと} お月 {つき} お内 {うち} お客 {きゃく} In ...
13
votes
5answers
172 views

ユーザ or ユーザー, which is more in use or is there no difference?

ユーザ or ユーザー, which is more in use or is there no difference? I see both of them in use, but is there one that is more correct than the other or is at least the prevailing standard? a similar word is ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What do you mean, “In Japanese there are no words for ”I’m suffering“”?

Today I noticed this article about eating disorders in Japan, which I got to via the News on Japan site. The first line jumps out at me. Supposedly, in an interview, a 25 year old Japanese woman ...
11
votes
1answer
412 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
419 views

IT system renewal: Can I say 更新 for “renewal”?

I am starting a new project and have to come up with a name for it so that everybody knows what we are talking about. The project is the renewal of an IT application that I will call エックスワイゼッド. ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Does タメ語{ご} mean “casual speech”?

A debate came up on the use of タメ語{ご} in this question, and I thought it was worth its own analysis. The question is, does タメ語{ご} simply mean "casual speech", or does it mean "speech between equals". ...
9
votes
1answer
188 views

What is the difference between 恰好 and 格好?

Is there any difference between the words 格好 and 恰好? Can I actually call them different words, or is it that they are just the same word written differently? I've been told that they have exactly the ...
9
votes
1answer
838 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself using your name, rather than 私 (or others)?

I have heard—though not often—people refer to themselves using their first name, not by using a pronoun for "I." Does this have special connotation in Japanese? Nothing about the usage (to me) seemed ...
9
votes
1answer
361 views

What is the difference between “meshi” and “don” for the food sometimes translated as “rice bowl” in English?

I'm a big fan of the Japanese fast food gyudon (cooked thinly sliced beef strips on top of a bowl of boiled white rice) and its variants such as butadon (the same but with pork). But why do some ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
397 views

what does どことなくつかみどころがなくmean?

I came across this phrase in the sentence: 勘【かん】というものは、しょちゅう経験【けいけん】していながら、どことなくつかみどころがなく、いまの科学【かがく】ではまだその正体【しょうたい】が、明らか【あきらか】にされていない。(Soumatome N1 dokkai, p45) My best effort to translate it ...
7
votes
1answer
210 views

Can 一杯 be used to express the fullness of things without physical volumes?

According to an answer to this question, the word [一杯]{いっぱい} can be used to expess fullness; especially in relation to the capacity of whatever is containing the quantity. This, however, tends to ...
7
votes
2answers
155 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

What's the difference between じき and すぐ?

すぐ, and especially 今すぐ, is my habitual way to express "soon", or "right after this". I know that じき means more or less the same thing, and when I hear it or see it written, I get the general meaning ...
6
votes
2answers
394 views

Is there a word that describes greenish-blue colours (of any shade)?

I'm looking for the most natural-sounding way to express the general concept of blue-green colours (such as cyan or teal) in Japanese. By "general concept", I mean all colours that are neither ...
6
votes
2answers
226 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!
6
votes
1answer
210 views

Multiple usages of 学習{がくしゅう}

My understanding is that 「学習{がくしゅう}」 is a very interesting word. It has all of the following meanings? (1) 「勉強{べんきょう}」. To study new material. We learn new kanji, vocab, grammar, etc. (2) ...
6
votes
1answer
162 views

What is the difference between 口元 and 口?

When talking about the body part (not, for example, entrances/exits), what is the difference between these two words. Based on looking at these two pages (for 口 and 口元) I'm guessing that the ...
6
votes
2answers
350 views

What to reply when the ladies sweeping the steps outside a temple tell you 「ご苦労様」?

I was at a temple the other day, and as I was leaving and going down the stairs, the ladies that were cleaning the steps said to me 「ご苦労様」. I replied with 「ありがとうございます、おつかれさま」, but I felt sort of ...
6
votes
1answer
489 views

What's the difference between 腹切り and 切腹?

I need to add a body to submit my question, so I'll just say the Mortal Kombat seemed to believe that the term 腹切り (はらきり harakiri) was more appropriate for self slaughter (i.e., throwing a boomerang ...
6
votes
1answer
218 views

What makes using ある for people okay in this context?

Yep, I'm reading a lot of Tintin in Japanese recently, and he keeps throwing me curve balls with the language. Here's another one. The situation is that the car he was in has been run off the road ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

What's the difference between 信じる, 信用する and 信頼する?

What's the difference between 信じる, 信用する and 信頼する ? How can I know which one to use? According to my dictionary they all mean "to trust". Are they interchangeable? For example, I trust you.
5
votes
2answers
554 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

Difference between なり (meaning 'either.. or…') and か (meaning 'or')

I came across the construction ~なり~なり (meaning either... or...) on JGram and I saw this example: ジュースなりコーラなり、お好きなものをどうぞ juice.. cola.. have whatever you like That made me wonder what the ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

Use of から vs を with 出て行く?:

Why are we using から and not を in the following sentence?: 出て行く:同居している恋人が家から出て行って、別に住むようになる。 I ask because the normal particle with 出る is を (eg 家を出る) so why do we have から here? My dictionary has ...
5
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
294 views

The difference between (な形容詞)さ and (な形容詞)性?

I'm in the middle of writing a paper in Japanese, and I can't quite figure out which is right. If I want to nominalize a な形容詞, should I affix さ or 性 at the end? I've been checking on search engines, ...
5
votes
3answers
323 views

Why use 数年 in あれから10数年?

My question is on 「あれから10数年」. My understanding is that this translates to roughly, "It's been 10 years since then." The dictionary says「数年」 means "several years" or "a number of years". How does ...
5
votes
1answer
198 views

Spotting the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)

I have recently come to the conclusion that the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)is more common than I thought. It is the only explanation I think of to make gramatical sense of the sentences below. ...
5
votes
2answers
431 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?

I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences: 息子は、自分の部屋に入ったきり出てこない。 母は入院している父をつきっきりで看病している。 電車が混んでいて、東京まで立ちっぱなしだった。 I ...
5
votes
2answers
304 views

How do I differentiate all these terms for “illiterate”?

I looked up the word "illiteracy", and was offered many different possibilities. Here they are, with my personal take on the nuance behind their origins: 活字{かつじ}離{ばな}れ ("removed from printing"?) ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a form for “I have never heard of”?

Some examples of what I'm trying to convey: I have never heard that song before. I have never heard of Miyazawa Kenji I have never heard of that before? I've never heard of that store? ...
5
votes
2answers
300 views

What does 「つっぱしり」mean in this context?

I recently heard about a manga entitled つっぱしり元太郎, and I'm slightly confused about the meaning of the 「つっぱしり」 in its name. I've looked the word up in several dictionaries, but have gotten no results. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Can 野郎{やろう} really have that many meanings?

(Warning: potentially offensive words. Proceed at your own risk. Also, apologies for the length.) I realize this risks opening up the "does Japanese actually have swear words" debate, touched on ...
4
votes
3answers
370 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
583 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
597 views

Reading 捻る: when is it ねじる or ひねる?

How can I tell whether 捻る is read as ひねる (P. ・ N.C.) or ねじる (P. ・ N.C.)? I assume the answer is "based on which verb is appropriate", so I've been trying to learn the difference between them. Based ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

When is it appropriate to use お宅 to refer to the second-person?

An answer to "What is the most natural way to refer to someone when you don't know their name and don't have a close relationship with them?" suggests that お宅 may be used to refer to the second ...
4
votes
4answers
822 views

How do I write “Hard Work and Smart Work”?

I want to write an essay with the title “Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work”. By “hard work”, I mean continuing the work with old ideas without thinking up new ideas, and working all the ...
3
votes
4answers
242 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
146 views

Difference between 獣{しし} and 野獣{やじゅう} (beast)

I learnt the words 獣{しし} and 野獣{やじゅう} and their definitions look too similar. Can someone explain me the difference between them? While searching more for beast words, I also found that 獣 could also ...
3
votes
3answers
187 views

Reason for 「のか」 and 「かもしれません」 in 「何を言っているのかわからないかもしれませんけど」

One time I was formulating sentences on a website, to practice my Japanese and get natives to correct them. I had written 「何が言ってわかりませんけど」 which I now understand was wrong, but when they corrected my ...
3
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
169 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

まま + 放る{ほうる} used for emphasis or are they both needed?

A group of people are talking about the best way to get rid of a monster in their town and one of the villagers says this: 仕方{しかた}あるまい。このまま放って{ほうって}おけば村は[全滅]{ぜんめつ}するかもしれん…。 From what I understand, まま ...
3
votes
1answer
244 views

Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?

正月は家ごとに門松を立てる。 For example, could I say 正月はそれぞれの家に門松をたてる。 If so, the meaning remains the same, or are there any subtle nuances that comes with each word? It seems to me, whenever i see sentences ...