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

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5
votes
2answers
461 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
545 views

What's the proper way to use 先 versus 前に or 以前?

I'm trying to understand why 先 is not the best choice to use in these sentences. Is it wrong to use it in this way? × 先、学校で何かが起こった。 ○ 以前、学校で何かが起こった。 × 先の書いた本から十年間が過ぎました。 ○ 前に書いた本から十年間が過ぎました。
1
vote
2answers
97 views

穿る vs ほじる vs ほじくる

In wondering how to expressing the act of picking one's nose in Japanese I came across the following term or terms: 穿る / ほじる / ほじくる I got the feeling from WWWJDIC that the two hiragana are ...
5
votes
2answers
162 views

Are ~つ and ~り the only two counters that can occur with the native Japanese numbers (ひと~, ふた~, etc)?

Please go easy on me if this seems too basic and obvious, I'm a beginner. I always had the impression that there were counters that went with the native Japanese numbers and counters that went with ...
2
votes
2answers
319 views

Choosing the right form of “to dry”

I've come across two different words for "to dry" in my readings: 干す【ほす】 and 乾く【かわく】. I've seen both used to refer to things drying out (e.g. 「白妙の衣干すちょう」 from the 2nd poem in the 百人一首 or 「涙は乾いた」 in ...
4
votes
2answers
132 views

On the two words, several pronunciations, and many spellings for “sake cup”

When I was in Okinawa drinking sake I asked my host what the Japanese word for the sake cup was and was told: お猪口{ちょこ} Then today I went to the Nezu Museum in Tokyo which currently has a ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Opposite of 歯止め?

According to WWWJDIC, 歯止め is used as follows: 歯止めをかける; 歯止めを掛ける (exp,v1) to curb; to halt; to apply brakes; to put an end to The English translations have a pretty good correspondence with the ...
7
votes
6answers
478 views

Shouldn't this phrase using だけのこと mean “just for that”?

In a grammar textbook I have, there is this phrase: 幸{さいわ}い日本{にほん}で日本語{にほんご}を勉強{べんきょう}して、かなり話{はな}せるようになりました。日本{にほん}に行{い}っただけのことはありました。 The translation given is: Fortunately, I studied ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How to thank somebody for their hospitality?

Having been on the receiving end of Japanese hospitality quite a bit in the past week, I'd like to know the best way to thank people for it in Japanese. I've found several words for "hospitality" but ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is more colloquial for “I have a headache”?

Yesterday my (also non Japanese) friend had a headache and we had to buy medicine in Japanese. So I looked up how to say "headache" and add it to my vocabulary. I found the word 頭痛{ずつう} and I ...
9
votes
1answer
648 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
126 views

Is answering with simple ない grammatically correct, when saying I physically don't possess some object

In Japan I often felt いいえ or 違う is not the best choice, when asked, if I don't carry something with me. Like at the airport security lady asked me, if I there were any forbidden objects in my luggage. ...
6
votes
1answer
359 views

Differences between それとも ・または・もしくは・あるいは

I've been trying to find out the difference between these four lately but whenever I look up any of them in a Japanese Dictionary, the only thing on the page is the other three options with no ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Is there difference between 大事/大した

When would one be used? I don't understand the difference between them.
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Translating the statement: X is very common

I'm working with a computer translation program and the output I got was this: ぞれは一般的です。 I'm trying to determine whether this is a correct translation for 'That is common.' Alc gives ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

What is the difference between 嫌{きら}う and 嫌{いや}がる?

What is the difference between 嫌{きら}う and 嫌{いや}がる? Are they interchangeable?
5
votes
1answer
91 views

What is the difference between 一旦~ and ~が最後?

I was looking up ~が最後 and saw a comment that it was similar to 一旦~. However there was no further explanation, so now I'm wondering what the difference is? One of the examples of ~が最後 I was looking ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

What is a good idiom for 'not being invested'?

In English there are a few idioms that are variants on the phrase, I don't really have a horse in this race, so... which essentially means "I'm not invested in the outcome of the current ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

This usage of 方 confuses me

So there's a character in a manga that says this: 空想だけで何でもできちゃう奴を見ちまうと 何にもできねえ方がどんだけ平和だろうと思うぜ Now the 方 in the text has the furigana of ほう. So if I'm not mistaken that means ...
5
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

Difference between った and ってた

Can someone explain to me the difference between the following forms? 思った 思ってた 思っていた
5
votes
2answers
228 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
442 views

What is the difference in usage between a plural using (a) the kanji repetition character 々, (b) a plural using -たち, and (c) the singular?

I know that there are some noun that are made plural by the kanji repetition character, such as 人々 and 国々. My question is, how does this differ from using the non-plural form of the noun? And how does ...
9
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
387 views

できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” [duplicate]

A couple of days ago I tried to express "I can ..." where "..." was some some verb or verb phrase. I used the ~て form of the ... verb followed by 出来ます but was told instead to change the form of the ...
14
votes
1answer
255 views

Is 花見 only for “cherry blossom” viewing?

Textbooks usually teach that 花見 / お花見 means "cherry blossom viewing". Tatoeba has a couple of examples supporting that: ヒラヒラと桜の花が舞っている。もうお花見の季節も終わりだな It looks like cherry blossom-viewing ...
4
votes
1answer
326 views

Natural way of saying “Once you take away the unnecessary bits, it works”

In my earlier question "Line of code" in Japanese I was trying to figure out a word for the following sentence: 余計【よけい】な行【ぎょう】を抜く【ぬく】と状況【じょうきょう】が直った【なおった】。 "Once the unnecessary lines ...
11
votes
4answers
561 views

Usage of お[冷]{ひや} & お水

I just went out for lunch with a friend and when the waiter asked what we want to drink, I ordered 'お[水]{みず}下さい' whereas I noticed my friend asked for 'お[冷]{ひや}下さい'. Which expression would be more ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Are 清酒{せいしゅ} and 日本酒{にほんしゅ} two words for the same thing?

As well as the several other kinds of Japanese alcoholic drinks I seem to have found two words which both mean the drink known in the west as "saké". Now I know 酒{さけ} can be used for many kinds of ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

How would you use 化かす?

The dictionary says that it means 'To bewitch.' Could you please give an example of it's use and when you'd use it? Thank you immensely!
15
votes
4answers
817 views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

How would I say “Courageous warriors called Samurai?”

How would I go about saying "Courageous warriors called Samurai? Would さむらいと言うゆうきなせんし make sense?
5
votes
6answers
465 views

What is the proper word for self-study?

So I know that jiko shoukai is self-introduction. And benkyou is study. So I took a guess and figured that self-study is jiko benkyou. The context of this is if someone asks "how did/do you study ...
5
votes
1answer
382 views

Difference between 家内、嫁、妻、奥さん、かみさん and other words meaning wife

I have seen and heard all these words being used before all to mean wife, but what is the differences between them? I know some, such as 家内, can only be used for your own wife, but which are which? ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

The difference between 詳しい and 詳細 when used adverbially or adjectivally

While I know that 詳しい and 詳細 both have unique meanings, there are some cases where I am not able to tell the difference between them. Here are two I've stumbled upon: Adverbially: 我々の研究計画を詳しく述べた ...
14
votes
3answers
282 views

Why can some words be written with or without okurigana? How do the uses differ?

What is the difference for word compounds that can exist with 送り仮名 and without and still retain the same pronunciation? As an example: 巻き貝 と 巻貝 取り引き と 取引 If I'm correct, both of these are ...
8
votes
2answers
394 views

Difference between ~ざる and ~ぬ

A sentence from 五輪書: おのづから道の器用有りて、天理をはなれざる故か。 I found a question about ~ざる and ~ぬ on 知恵袋. The only answer claims that ~ぬ and ~ざる are both the 連体形 of ~ず and ~ざる is a "complementary" conjugation, ...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

Is it common to use 火を入れる when referring to a degree to which meat or any steak should be cooked?

I recently asked for a well done steak at a restaurant, while my friend asked for a medium rare. When waiter came back with two steaks, he used 「火をよく入れた方」 to let us know which one is well done. So ...
2
votes
2answers
442 views

What is the correct way of saying “third” in different contexts?

What would be the correct way of saying "third" in the following contexts: Chronologically (This is the third time this happens) Ranked (I am the third best player in the world) Other? Maybe other ...
6
votes
1answer
187 views

Why sometimes people change the way they say 明日 from あした to みょうにち or あす when confirming a reservation day over the phone?

I noticed that each time I get my haircut reservation to the day after the day conversation takes place, I hear the person on the other end changing the way he or she says 明日 from あした to あす or みょうにち, ...
11
votes
2answers
429 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

How to differentiate between references in past to mean “last time” or “earlier”

I asked my teacher how to say "last question", to which she responded by "前の質問【しつもん】". However somehow I feel, 前の質問 refers more like "question that was asked earlier". Can anyone please explain how I ...
3
votes
1answer
233 views

Making sense of “心配させる” (causative verbs)

I'm trying to understand the phrase 「Aを心配させるな」 by "sounding it out" in English. I can understand 「Aを心配かけるな」as meaning "Do NOT associate/connect any worries with A!!!". In my thinking, that makes ...
3
votes
1answer
392 views

返{かえ}る / 戻{もど}る vs “come back” / “go back” / “return”

In English we have a generic and two directional ways of saying related things: return - doesn't imply a direction, has other uses including transitive ones (I returned the book I borrowed) come ...
5
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Are “ピーナッツ” and “ピーナツ” both correct for “peanut(s)”?

I've just noticed that the usual word for "peanut" or "peanuts" in Japanese is "ピーナッツ" (pīnattsu), but the first spelling I found, from looking in the translation table in the English Wiktionary was ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Is there a strict usage difference between 耐性 and 耐容 in medical contexts?

According to WWWJDIC and ALC, 耐性 is used for drug tolerance (e.g., 耐性現象), but 耐容 is used for radiation (e.g. 耐容線量). Based on that, my guess is that 耐性 can be used to express neutral effects like ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

When would I use 飛行場【ひこうじょう】over 空港【くうこう】 for airport?

So My flashcards say 飛行場【ひこうじょう】means airport. But actual airports in Japan always use 空港【くうこう】, like 成田【なりた】空港【くうこう】. What are the differences between these? And in what situations (if any) would ...
6
votes
5answers
732 views

How to say “Hey hurry up! you'll be late!”?

When we want to say "Hey, hurry up! you'll be late!", which would be more appropriate? : 遅刻するぞ! 遅くなるぞ! any other suggestions?
5
votes
1answer
182 views

Does 両目 have a special meaning or is it just a mistake?

Today I found this sentence on my Japanese textbook (みんなの日本語中級I - 本冊 pg. 70) And it didn't make any sense to me. 前から2両目の電車を降りたところで待っています。 I looked for 両目 on 電子辞書 and it says it means both eyes. ...