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

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4answers
275 views

Trouble understanding this apology: 我々が…謝罪

An English website wrote an apology in Japanese after it took down an image of cracked hinomaru (日の丸) — the hinomaru linked to a donation page for the disasters following the March 11 earthquakes. It ...
9
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2answers
2k views

differences of kuremasu, moraimasu and itadakimasu

I have been taught that they are used when receiving something (or a favor) from someone. But how exactly do they differ? I've searched the web for an answer and.. One site suggests that kuremasu is ...
9
votes
1answer
283 views

What's the difference between ぜひ and きっと when inviting someone to do something?

You can say for example ぜひパーティーにいらしてね そのうちまた是非お出かけください 「今晩お伺いしてもいいですか」「ぜひどうぞ」 and きっと来てくださいね きっと訪ねて来てください I would translate both ぜひ and きっと in these sentences with "by all means", but I'm ...
9
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2answers
539 views

Would I have 牛乳 or ミルク with my cereal?

I've just found out that there's a couple of words for milk, and that they have slightly different meanings. Which one would I have with my Weetbix in a "viking style" breakfast in Niseko? Based on ...
9
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2answers
358 views

Is there a difference between からすると and からして?

These two phrases seem to have very similar usage and I'm unable to determine the difference between them. The examples I have are: 彼は服装からしてだらしない。きっと他の面も同じだろう。 kare ha fukusou karashite ...
9
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3answers
265 views

What is the difference between 防止 and 予防?

My dictionary defines both 防止 and 予防 as "prevention", with 予防 having the additional definitions of "precaution" and "protection against". I sort of understand the latter definitions for 予防 as acting ...
9
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1answer
234 views

What is the difference between 部屋 and 室?

When referring to a room (in a building), what is the difference in usage, if any? I looked up the definitions and checked some sample phrases, but I could not see any real difference. I usually read ...
9
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1answer
272 views

What is this English doing in the middle of my Japanese?

Note: I understand this question is on the edge of being off topic. I'll accept the community assessement if enough people feel that is the case. I'm reading 脳{のう}は0.1秒{びょう}で恋{こい}をする by ...
9
votes
1answer
193 views

Is 音沙汰 not used anymore because communication technology has changed?

My understanding of the word 音沙汰【おとさた】(news, letter) is that in terms of usage, it functions the same way that 連絡【れんらく】(contact, communication) does. It refers to modes of communication between ...
9
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2answers
286 views

How would one convey the concept of “vouching” in Japanese?

Update: There seems to be some controversy here as to whether or not there really is a difference between vouching and guaranteeing, which impacts how it is translated. Please see the discussion I ...
9
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2answers
378 views

Difference between 丸い and 円い

Both come up with the same reading and definition in Jisho.org (round/circular), and both are listed as common words. Is there any preference between the two or should I simply learn both as ...
9
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1answer
479 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
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2answers
469 views

What is the difference between 悪い and だめ?

What is the difference between 悪い and だめ? They're not really the same, but in English they both can be translated to "bad". あの人が悪い。In my limited experience, this is bad in the sense of evil. ...
9
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1answer
476 views

加える/増やす and 加わる/増える or even 増加する/殖/足, various kanji for “adding things”

I'm a bit confused regarding the choice between the 加 and 増 kanji for any meaning related to "adding one thing to another". I assume that, as usual, the suru-verb combination 増加する is somewhat more ...
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1answer
279 views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?
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3answers
491 views

When to use “もっと” vs “より”

Giving examples if possible, what's the difference between e.g. もっと大きい and より大きい to mean "more (than)"/"bigger (than)"? In what situations would you use もっと over より and vice versa? For instance, why ...
9
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1answer
225 views

What's the difference between 電光石火【でんこうせっか】 and 疾風迅雷【しっぷうじんらい】

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
9
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1answer
215 views

伸{の}びる versus 延{の}びる in a JLPT question

In my JLPT workbook, it gives these examples to explain the difference between 延{の}びる and 伸{の}びる: 髪{かみ}は1か月{いっかげつ}に1センチぐらう伸{の}びる。 会議{かいぎ}はいつも30分{ぷん}ぐらい延{の}びる。 They both mean "stretch", more ...
9
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1answer
364 views

Qualitative intensifiers e.g. とても, とっても, 超, etc. How are they different?

How are とても/とっても, でかい/でっかい, 超 (and others that I have yet to encounter) used differently? I figured that for とても/とっても-type difference is that the double-consonant(geminated) version is stronger i.e. a ...
9
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1answer
455 views

Comparing 気にする vs. 気になる

Consider this example sentence from SPACEALC: あなたがどうしているか気になっていた。  "I was concerned about how you were." What is the difference when 気にする is used instead? I.e., あなたがどうしているか気にしていた。 ~なる ...
9
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2answers
259 views

To uncomment in Japanese?

In the context of computer programming, how to say to uncomment? For instance, here I uncomment a line: // Before // myvar = 3; // After myvar = 3; I would use コメントアウトする, but I also see ...
9
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1answer
266 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 外来語【がいらいご】(word taken from a foreign language) ...
9
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0answers
251 views

Thoughts about event frequencies and “often enough”

I'm having trouble expressing the concept of "not often enough". The most basic way to say "often" is よく, but I think there's a problem in putting qualifiers on this word. For instance, expressing ...
8
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4answers
3k views

What's the difference between がんばれ and 頑張って 【がんばって】?

This one stumped my Japanese friend that I was having dinner with earlier tonight. We were talking about the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I had a tough work week ahead. She said ガンバレ, I paused, ...
8
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2answers
311 views

Do people use まい?

I see the ending まい all over the place in the JLPT books and in example phrases but I can't actually think of an example of somebody saying it or writing in an email (from SMS style messages to work ...
8
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3answers
611 views

What's the difference between ~てください and ~ていてください?

This question has come up on the side of at least a couple of other questions, but I don't think it's been definitively answered, so let's see if we can come up with something solid. After going ...
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3answers
544 views

Difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で

What is the difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で. How and in which context are they used?
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2answers
209 views

What's the difference between differences? 差 and 違い

What's the difference between 差 and 違い? When would I use each? Which (if either) would I use for describing the difference between something like sample data and the best fitting equation?
8
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3answers
431 views

What exacty does ゆえ mean, and how does it fit this JLPT question?

I have this question in my JLPT textbook: 男女{だんじょ}平等{びょうどう}といっても、女性{じょせい}___の差別{さべつ}はまだ残{のこ}っている。 A ゆえ B たる C なり D こそ The book says the answer is A, which is weird to me because I thought ...
8
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2answers
278 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
261 views

What is the difference between 一緒【いっしょ】に and 二人【ふたり】で?

I think in all situations where either 一緒に could be used, 二人で can also be used, and vice versa. I suppose 三人、四人、五人、etc. can also be used here if that's the number of people you are talking about. But ...
8
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3answers
2k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
8
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3answers
345 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...
8
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2answers
218 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
8
votes
1answer
339 views

What's the difference between 思う and 考える?

These two words both seem to mean "to think", but is there any difference between them? Is it related to the difference between 言う and 話す by any chance?
8
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2answers
571 views

How do these 3 ways of saying “It can't be helped” differ?

So I have heard: 仕方がない しょうがない 仕方あるまい And the translation I've seen for all 3 is: "It can't be helped." Is there a particular difference among the 3? Edit: Secondary question. Why isn't 仕方あるまい, ...
8
votes
2answers
276 views

What's the difference in usage and nuance between やはり and やっぱり?

I know that we say にっぽん instead of にほん when we want to inject a little national pride into the word, but I've never had a good understanding of the difference in meaning/nuance/usage between やはり and ...
8
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3answers
380 views

When should 男の人/女の人 be used instead of 男/女?

My teacher always corrects me when I use 男 or 女 by themselves, without adding の人 to the end of it. But in various Japanese media (music, drama, anime, etc.), I know for sure that I have heard them ...
8
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2answers
227 views

what's the difference between 余地 and よゆう?

I have been informed that よゆう is to do with temporal or physical room, while 余地 has to do with emotional room, but I might have misunderstood the explanation.
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2answers
8k 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

When to use ~ので vs ~から

I was looking in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar when I saw something on page 329 which truly shocked me: "node cannot be used and kara must be used [... when ...] the main clause is a ...
8
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2answers
130 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 ...
8
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3answers
602 views

Difference between kara and n desu?

Is there a difference (or nuance) or is it just two ways of saying the same thing? For example, どうして、とぶか? (1) こわいんです。 (2) こわいですから。 Obviously, those are very simple examples. But are there times ...
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4answers
280 views

What is the difference in usage between 準備 用意 and 覚悟

The dictionaries translate these three words roughly as preparation/preparedness or ready/readiness. I don't think I undersand the subtleties of their usage. Not to mention できる also has another ...
8
votes
1answer
190 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
4answers
235 views

{はず, わけ, しょう} がない difference

What is the difference between 「はず」 {hazu} and 「わけ」 {wake}? a slight expansion of the existing thread but what is the difference or use cases for when to use Hazu ga nai, wake ga nai, shiyou ga nai? ...
8
votes
1answer
480 views

How do you normally say calendar and date in Japanese?

If you were to say: I have to buy a new calendar next month. or Look at the calendar and see when X holiday is? or Have you seen the calendar?, would you use カレンダー or 暦{こよみ}? Is there a difference ...
8
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
315 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
8
votes
2answers
188 views

Terms for 'viewpoint': 視点 vs 観点

I'm not understanding the subtleties of [視点]{してん} vs 観点{かんてん}. I know that they both mean something like "point of view", and given the existence of two of them, one of them probably implies more ...