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

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348 views

What's the difference between どうしたらいい and どうしていい?

Particularly in the following phrases, what's the difference between どうしたらいい and どうしていい? The following both seem to mean something like "I don't know what to do": どうしたらいいか分かりません どうしていいか分かりません ...
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1answer
273 views

The first: 第一 vs 一番 vs 第一番

What are differences among 第一, 一番 and 第一番, all of which seem to mean "the first" in English? Are any of them more suitable for some specific scenarios than the others (e.g. 安全第一 but 世界で一番)?
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2answers
489 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Is there a difference between ほんとう (hontō) and ほんとうに (hontō-ni) when used alone as interjection or question?

As the equivalent of Enlgish "Oh really?" / "Yes really." as lone utterances I seem to hear both "本当" (hontō) and "本当に" (hontō-ni) in Japanese - is there a difference? It seems that hontō is a noun ...
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2answers
279 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 ...
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3answers
217 views

What is the sense of 気配がする (けはいがする) versus 気がする?

I'm (trying) to read a Japanese spy novel at the moment. It could just be the author's style, but I see lots of sentences end in 〜気配がする。 The more I read, the more I wonder - is there any difference ...
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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". ...
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1answer
523 views

歩{ある}く vs 歩{あゆ}む

I always know that 歩く is the verb to use when talking about walking. But I'm aware the kanji 歩 has another verb 歩む. In WWWJDIC, the example sentence given is: ビルはあの会社の社長になるまで成功への道を歩み続けた。 Bill ...
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298 views

Are there differences in nuance and usage of [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ}, [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ}, [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} and [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと}?

They all carry the meaning of "secret" in English, but are there differences in nuance and usage of each of them: [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ} [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ} [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと} ...
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1k views

What do you say when giving something to somebody?

In English when you hold out something to someone, sometimes a vocal prompt like "here" or "there" is said to indicate that you are giving it to the person. In Chinese (or at least in Singapore) we ...
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1answer
522 views

How to use ~に同意する to agree or disagree with a person?

A couple of times I've tried to say "I agree with..." or "he agrees with..." but I don't know whether I'm using 同意{どうい}する correctly. In what ways should に同意{どうい}している be used? Also, which particles ...
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488 views

What is the correct Japanese translation for “pull down to refresh” in an app context?

I am currently studying Japanese, and one of my approaches for studying is by translating applications (since I also make apps for a living). How do I correctly translate "pull down to refresh"? ...
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2answers
398 views

酔う vs 酔っ払う: does it depend on how drunk you are?

酔{よ}う and 酔{よ}っ払{ぱら}う both seem to mean "to get drunk" but how are they different from each other? Does it depend on how drunk you are, and assuming 酔っ払う is worse than 酔う, exactly how drunk would you ...
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2answers
213 views

What's the difference between 迷う and 紕う?

I was looking in a dictionary and both were listed as being defined as "to lose one's way, to hesitate, or to waver," but I don't understand why there are two different kanji for the word.
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284 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 ...
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3answers
387 views

Difference between (遊び)方 and (遊ぶ)方法

I'm struggling to understand the difference between the verb suffix ~方【かた】 and the noun 方法【ほうほう】. As an example, the difference between 遊び方 (which seems to mean something like "manner in which someone ...
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2answers
891 views

Is there a difference between すみません (sumimasen) and すいません (suimasen?)

I'm at the proverbial izakaya and my friend tells me one is more polite. I think theyre the same. Who's right? When can I use one or the other?
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2answers
169 views

What's the difference between 静けさ and 静かさ?

Much to my disbelief (no, I'm kidding, it happens all the time), I found out that my handbook was wrong to tell me we must use 静けさ, because 静かさ doesn't exist. Wiki(tionary) says "For degree, ...
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1answer
863 views

Aren't がる and たがる the same thing?

In my JLPT practise book, it has two different entries, one to explain がる and one to explaining たがる. It offeres these example sentences to differentiate them: うちの子{こ}は新{あたら}しいものを見{み}ると、すぐほしがる。 ...
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202 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 ...
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1answer
475 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?
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3answers
360 views

What is the difference between ~すぎ and ~すぎる?

When I was playing a video game a few months ago, I noticed that some of the characters (mostly young teen females, in case it matters) kept saying ~すぎ instead of ~すぎる. For example, when one of the ...
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2answers
329 views

Why does someone intend to die in this JLPT question?

This is a question in my JLPT practise book: 手遅{ておく}れかもしれないが、死{し}んだ__になってやれば、間{ま}に合{あ}うかもしれない。 A もの B わけ C つもり D はず None of the answers made sense to me, so I didn't even choose one. The ...
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2answers
881 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 ...
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4answers
289 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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3answers
396 views

Preferred beginner's term for “flight”?

Since my flight home from Japan is soon approaching I thought I had better learn the word for "flight". It seems to be one of those words that has several Japanese equivalents. I'd like to know the ...
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2answers
531 views

Differences between the many words for dinner

According to my dictionary, the following words all mean the same thing: "Dinner": [夜]{よる}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩]{ばん}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩飯]{ばんめし}, [晩食]{ばんしょく}, [夕]{ゆう}ご[飯]{はん}, [夕飯]{ゆうはん(ゆうめし)}, [夕食]{ゆうしょく} A similar ...
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2k 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 ...
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2answers
566 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 ...
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13k 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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1answer
323 views

What is the difference between 沸く【わく】, 炊く【たく】, 茹でる【ゆでる】, 煮る【にる】, and 蒸す【むす】?

I am learning JLPT N2. I came across these words in one sentence. I couldn't find the difference between 沸く【わく】, 炊く【たく】, 茹でる【ゆでる】, 煮る【にる】, and 蒸す【むす】. All the words have similar meanings. Can anyone ...
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1answer
328 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 ...
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1answer
243 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 ...
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4answers
440 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 ...
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2answers
525 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
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261 views

When are ふう and よう interchangeable?

Lately ふう has been on my mind. Often it seems interchangeable with よう: これを{こんなふう/このよう}にしてください。 Please make it like this. あれを{どういうふう/どのよう}に解釈しますか。 In what way do you interpret that? ...
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315 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 ...
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4answers
285 views

What's the difference between はずがない, わけがない, and しょうがない?

A slight expansion of the existing thread What is the difference between 「はずがない」 and 「わけがない」?, but what is the difference or use cases for when to use はずがない, わけがない, しょうがない?
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1answer
171 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 ...
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3answers
398 views

When is the correct situation to use 案外 or 意外?

I think this is a question I should have asked a long time ago.. What is the difference between 案外 and 意外? What does the correct situation look like when using either? Example with 案外: ...
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508 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 ...
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1answer
635 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 ...
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2answers
558 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. ...
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1answer
354 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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578 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 ...
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1answer
241 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.
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1answer
231 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 ...
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1answer
428 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 ...
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1answer
176 views

Employed by one institution but work for another

I've worked my current job for a few years, and I can't believe I've never thought of this question. I have a unique employment situation. I am employed by a university, but the work I do is for the ...