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

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18
votes
2answers
547 views

What's the difference between 女性 and 女の人?

As far as I'm aware, both words translate into English as "woman". What's the difference in meaning between 女性 and 女の人?
2
votes
1answer
118 views

換える, 替える, 代える, 変える and their intransitive equivalents

While the meaning of 代える seems rather straightforward, the other two at times delude me. When should one be used over another? Are there any situations where both 換える and 替える are applicable?
6
votes
1answer
225 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Difference between 店 and ショップ

Both 店 and ショップ translate into English as "shop". For which circumstances would you use each word? My first assumption was that 店 would be used for more "traditional" shops than ショップ, but when I did ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

What is the difference between 包む(つつむ)and 包む(くるむ)?

The verbs つつむ and くるむ and both written 包む, and according to my English-to-Japanese dictionary both have the meaning "to wrap". くるむ is glossed "おおう", while つつむ is glossed "すっぽりと覆う", but I am having ...
4
votes
3answers
244 views

why “速さ” instead of “遅さ”、etc

I am pretty sure that when native speakers talk about speed, they say "速さ", "広さ" for width, "大きさ" for size, etc. Am I correct about this? If I am, then: Why not say "遅さ" instead of "速さ", "狭さ" ...
6
votes
2answers
141 views

What's the difference between 業績 and 実績

I'm finding it difficult to find a pattern in the usages of these two. When should I use 業績 over 実績 ?
4
votes
1answer
139 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Difference between 軟らかい and 柔らかい

I'm currently doing a study on Japanese homophones and came across 柔らかい and 軟らかい. Most other homophones seem to have noticeable differences in usage (or have explanations online), but I can't seem to ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

How do you ask for ordinality (order in a sequence)?

What phrase do you use to ask for the n-th position of an object? Is there a straightforward and general way to do so? e.g. order of childbirth, place did the runner finish Since you can use 3人目 ...
5
votes
2answers
181 views

Replying to お帰りなさいませ in a hotel setting

Recently I was in Japan and stayed at a certain hotel for a few days. I was surprised to see the level of customer service that I received. There were many cultural differences that surprised me, ...
1
vote
1answer
276 views

What is the difference between Okaa-san/Onee-san/Ojii-san and Kaa-san/Nee-san/Jii-san

i was playing Katahane last night, in it Light and Wakaba refer to their mother as Kaa-san while Light refers to Wakaba (his older sister) as Nee-san and when meeting with Rien he says for them to ...
11
votes
2answers
363 views

ほぼ and ほとんど: What's the difference and how do you use them?

What is the difference between ほぼ and ほとんど? They both mean almost, don't they? Can they both be used in both positive and negative?
5
votes
1answer
244 views

What is the difference between 組, 団, 班, and 群?

These four words all seem to mean "group," but what are the nuanced differences? When can a group be identified with one/some of these but not the others? How much overlap is there between them? ...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

わけ、の、理由 in explanations… when do you use which one?

These all seem to be used for explanation... when do you use one over the other? Could you offer some examples? To clarify about の, I am talking about its use in providing information, like, ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

the difference between 世界 and 世

Sometimes I see a character say この世 and I'm not sure why they don't just say この世界? Is it just an old way of saying it or is there a specific reason?
1
vote
1answer
336 views

What's the difference between 生む and 産む?

These two words both appear to have the meaning "to give birth" or "to produce". However, what is the difference between the two kanji used? I originally assumed that 生む meant "to give birth" and 産む ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

What's the difference between 断定 and 結論

While I've only seen 結論 used in expressions like "Which conclusion do you arrive at?", I've seen both 断定 and 結論 used when saying "Don't draw a hasty conclusion". What are the differences between the ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

What's the difference between 下りる and 降りる

My current understanding is that 下りる means to go down, for example, 階段を下りる (Go down the stairs); while 降りる means to get off some form of transport, for example, 飛行機から降りる (Get off from the aeroplane). ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
4
votes
1answer
351 views

How do you say “which one of you”?

I'm trying to translate a sentence containing "which one of you" into Japanese, like in "Which one of you took my sandwich?". Google's search bar was no help - a query for "which one of you" in ...
4
votes
5answers
234 views

How to say “Fastest by a large margin”?

Let's say there is a 1km race, and here is the ranking: A: 170 seconds B: 301 seconds C: 308 seconds D: 312 seconds We can say that A is fastest by a wide margin, because he was much faster than all ...
4
votes
2answers
175 views

The difference between 辞書 and 字引

My dictionary lists both 辞書{じしょ} and 字引{じびき} as simply, "Dictionary." On tatoeba.org I can only find example sentences of 字引 where it is used in the phrase: 生き字引 = A walking dictionary ...
1
vote
2answers
113 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
179 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
978 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"
4
votes
1answer
192 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?
5
votes
1answer
192 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 ...