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

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111 views

Dangerous driving: “queue de poisson” in Japanese?

How to call it when a vehicle that just passed you gets back in lane too early, forcing you to brake, or even causing an accident? See this Diagram. This can also happen when a vehicle overtakes and ...
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1answer
178 views

Difference between お腹を空かす and お腹を空かせる

Is there any difference between お腹を空かす and お腹を空かせる? I get they both mean to become hungry (literally empty the stomach). 空かせる is the potential form of 空かす, but that doesn't make sense here. ...
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2answers
872 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"
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1answer
191 views

What's the difference between 学科, 教科 and 科目

I've seen all three used in somewhat similar situations. What are the differences between them, and in which cases should i use one over another?
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1answer
187 views

What is the difference between using を and と with the verb 言う?

I apologize if this is a basic question, but it's something I've never been entirely clear on. When using the verb 言う (to say), I can never figure out whether to use the particle -と or the particle ...
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2answers
102 views

What's the difference between 体育 and スポーツ?

This may be my Chinese getting in the way of my Japanese again, but doesn't 体育 and スポーツ both mean "sport"? What are the differences between them, and when is one used over the other?
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1answer
549 views

Differences between いよいよ / やっと / ようやく / ついに and とうとう

I've come across these words which can all mean "finally". What I'd like to know is how they differ in usage [nuance and formality]. Below are their respective entries in the 研究社 新和英大辞典 第5版. いよいよ 1 ...
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1answer
339 views

How do you correctly use 'gesu' 下種/下衆/下司?

下種/下衆/下司 are all pronounced "gesu." According to various dictionaries "gesu" can be used to describe a sleazebag, a humble person, or a petty official. How can one differentiate between which to ...
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2answers
224 views

What is the most accurate (literal) translation of でしょう?

I understand the concept of でしょう. All my books say that it is like saying "probably". I have also been told that it is more accurately a means of adding doubt to a statement to seem less assuming and ...
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1answer
167 views

What's the difference between 以後 and 以降

I've seen these words used in the following sentences: 以後: それ以後彼女に会っていません 以降: それ以降彼は辛い一生を送った Judging from these examples alone, I guess they have some kind of overlap. When is it appropriate to ...
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1answer
187 views

What's the difference between ~しか~ない and ~だけしか~ない?

Two ways of expressing 'only' in Japanese are だけ + positive verb and しか + negative verb. For example, the following sentences both translate to something like 'I drank only tea'. お茶だけ飲んだ (1) ...
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1answer
181 views

Difference in usage between exclamations: クソ vs. しまった

I apologize in advance for the possibly vulgar language, but I am asking purely from an academic perspective. My understanding is that both クソ and しまった translate roughly to the English "damn" when ...
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1answer
270 views

When choose の/こと or というの/ということ

I'm studying nominalizers and don't understand when to use の/こと and when to use というの/ということ. For example, in the sentence: こんなによく[遅刻]{ちこく}をするというのは[問題]{もんだい}ですよ。 Could I say: ...
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2answers
156 views

What is the difference between 要するに and つまり?

I read that 要するに and つまり are not always interchangeable. Still, I don't really understand the difference between the two...
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1answer
162 views

であります compared to でいます

It might sound like a silly question, but I am just asking for interests sake... I already understand how to use them in which situation. If you were to say 田中さんは先生でいます, it would mean that Tanaka ...
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1answer
249 views

What is the difference between [利用]{りよう}, [活用]{かつよう}, [使用]{しよう} and [用]{もち}いる?

I feel 活用 has some kind of feeling of "put to the use", as a politician would use his charm in a campaign. The other three seem confusing to me, however. What are the differences?
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1answer
92 views

Difference between 検索する and 探す

I have always stuck with [探]{さが}す for "search", but in an anime I heard one of the characters say インターネットを[検索]{けんさく}おねがいしてもいいですか。 I suspect that one of the differences is that 検索 is more likely ...
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2answers
156 views

What's the difference between 治す and 治る?

My dictionary says they are both cure/fix, so I am wondering what the difference is and how to use them? Is it an active/passive difference, or transitive/intransitive? Or just a subtle nuance? I ...