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
547 views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

遣{つか}う vs. 費{つい}やす

Recently I wanted to learn the equivalents to the common money-related verbs of English such as buy, pay, sell, and spend. I found two words for "spend" and would like to know what the difference is ...
7
votes
3answers
535 views

Difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います, 頂けませんか, and 頂きたいんですけども

I've recently started using the expression 頂ければと思います, but I'm not 100% sure about its precise nuance. Is there any difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います 頂けませんか 頂きたいんですけども? To my non-native ear, ...
8
votes
2answers
228 views

What nuance does ガールフレンド have?

Does ガールフレンド have a meaning of a female friend (like girl friend), or a female romantic partner? Someone told me it had the former meaning, and I should use "彼女" for a romantic partner. However, the ...
9
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
375 views

Difference between 一段 imperatives ~よ・~ろ

一段 verbs may be conjugated to form imperative forms of ~よ or ~ろ. For example: 見る forms either 見よ or 見ろ 食べる forms either 食べよ or 食べろ How did the two forms come about? What is the difference in ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

What's the difference between ようこそ and いらしゃいませ?

Both "ようこそ" (yokoso) and "いらしゃいませ" (irashaimase) seem to mean "welcome" but what are the precise circumstances under which each should be used? "いらしゃいませ" (irashaimase) is uttered in unison by all ...
3
votes
1answer
139 views

How does one express “late” or “lateness”?

So I know that おそい, ちこく, and おくれる all can mean late. But I don't know what context to use which in. Can I just swap おそくなります, ちこくする, and おくれる at will?
2
votes
1answer
136 views

On the two equivalents on maps of “you are here” (現在地{げんざいち} and 現在位置{げんざいいち})

I've noticed on my travels around Japan that on maps there are two ways of indicating the viewers position in the manner of the English "You are here": 現在地{げんざいち} is common on maps in Japan, and ...
7
votes
2answers
511 views

Choosing the right prefix of the ko-so-a-do series

When talking to native speakers, I find that I'm often corrected for picking the wrong prefix when using words from the ko-so-a-do series (as in これ、そちら、あそこ、どんな、etc). My confusion mainly involves ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

Isn't ずらっと並んでいる redundant?

I have this sentence in a practise JLPT question: サッカー選手{せんしゅ}がずらっと並{なら}んでいる。 According to the dictionary I referenced, ずらっと means to "be in a line", and 並{なら}ぶ means "to line up", so wouldn't ...
6
votes
2answers
416 views

What's the difference between そうかな and そうなんだ?

I've always thought that they both mean something like "I see" or "Is that so?" and I was told that they have different meaning. Is that so?
3
votes
0answers
114 views

水疱 vs 火脹れ vs 水脹れ vs 肉刺

While hitchhiking from Tokyo to Sapporo in the past couple of days I devloped a few blisters on the soles of my feet. I like to learn my vocabulary based on my experience so looked up "blister" but ...
9
votes
3answers
498 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"? ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

なんどもあります OR たくさんあります?

If someone asks, てんぷらをたべたことがありますか? I read that you can answer with なんどもあります. However, I thought it would be たくさんあります. They both mean, "I've done it many times." Right?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

“I went for a run” - how to say this in Japanese?

I'm an amateur runner and I'm struggling a bit with Japanese vocabulary on the topic of running. The phrase that gives me special trouble is "go for a run". I'm not sure how to convey the meaning of ...
11
votes
1answer
253 views

When to use 〜す verbs or their する verb counterparts

Consider the verb pairs 表【ひょう】する and 表【ひょう】す、or 訳【やく】する and 訳【やく】す。 I realize the distinction may be academic(for example, either way the ます form is always spelled 訳します), but what is the functional ...
5
votes
2answers
473 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
572 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
98 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
164 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
339 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
134 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
100 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
484 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
666 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
128 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
405 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
72 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
143 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
94 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
180 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
121 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
203 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
227 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
232 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
485 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
196 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
423 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
257 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
332 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
613 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
153 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
865 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
190 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
5answers
523 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 ...