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

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16
votes
4answers
2k views

What is an appropriate response to お疲{つか}れ様{さま}です in non-work situations?

Often times at the gym, when I'm on my way out, covered in sweat, one of the staff will say お疲{つか}れ様{さま}です ("you've worked hard"...?). Usually at work situations, I've often found that saying some ...
3
votes
1answer
179 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
180 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
304 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
267 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
357 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?
1
vote
1answer
335 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
243 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? ...
3
votes
1answer
213 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?
7
votes
2answers
929 views

What is the difference between 見える/聞こえる and 見られる/聞ける?

In Japanese, there is a potential form to express that it's possible for something to be done. My own examples of potential form: 辛【から】い食【た】べ物【もの】が食【た】べられる。 (I can eat spicy foods.) ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
962 views

What are slang terms for Japanese money?

This question about alternate terms for coins focused on the use of ワンコイン, but it got me thinking about slang terms for money in general. In all the years I've been in Japan, I don't think I've ...
7
votes
1answer
201 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). ...
7
votes
1answer
277 views

When choose の/こと or というの/ということ

I'm studying nominalizers and don't understand when to use の/こと and when to use というの/ということ. For example, in the sentence: こんなによく[遅刻]{ちこく}をするというのは[問題]{もんだい}ですよ。 Could I say: ...
4
votes
5answers
231 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
501 views

“Should” in Japanese

The word "should" in English has these uses when not used as a question: To express the expectation of the speaker (Probabilistic reasoning). The train should arrive in 10 minutes. To express a ...
4
votes
1answer
344 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
15
votes
3answers
734 views

Difference between 〜といい〜といい & 〜といわず〜といわず

Can somebody explain the difference between these two expressions? I have pasted the definitions and some examples from 日本語表現文型辞典 to help but they seem to come down to the same thing. (When can one ...
1
vote
2answers
112 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
172 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
283 views

Do people actually ever say みょうにち?

I've heard people using あした (the common one) and あす (rather uncommon) to refer to "tomorrow". I was wondering does anyone actually uses the reading みょうにち ?
4
votes
1answer
556 views

Why do some people use 分からない, when they mean 知らない? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる? I often get puzzled when I ask a question and the other person says 分からない or 分からん, when they seem to understand but they ...
1
vote
1answer
178 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. ...
12
votes
2answers
252 views

How do I know when to read the kanji 抱 as 「だ・く」, and when to read it as 「いだ・く」, or even 「うだ・く」?

This sentence was in a grammar textbook: 彼{かれ}は同僚{どうりょう}にライバル意識{いしき}、ひいては殺意{さつい}すら抱いていた ... it means: "He regarded his colleague as a rival, even to the point of considering murder." My ...
1
vote
2answers
953 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
189 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
576 views

Differences between いよいよ / やっと / ようやく / ついに and とうとう

I've come across these words which can all mean "finally". What I'd like to know is how they differ in usage [nuance and formality]. Below are their respective entries in the 研究社 新和英大辞典 第5版. いよいよ 1 ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

What's the difference between 体育 and スポーツ?

This may be my Chinese getting in the way of my Japanese again, but doesn't 体育 and スポーツ both mean "sport"? What are the differences between them, and when is one used over the other?
1
vote
1answer
374 views

How do you correctly use 'gesu' 下種/下衆/下司?

下種/下衆/下司 are all pronounced "gesu." According to various dictionaries "gesu" can be used to describe a sleazebag, a humble person, or a petty official. How can one differentiate between which to ...
2
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the most accurate (literal) translation of でしょう?

I understand the concept of でしょう. All my books say that it is like saying "probably". I have also been told that it is more accurately a means of adding doubt to a statement to seem less assuming and ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

What's the difference between 以後 and 以降

I've seen these words used in the following sentences: 以後: それ以後彼女に会っていません 以降: それ以降彼は辛い一生を送った Judging from these examples alone, I guess they have some kind of overlap. When is it appropriate to ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

What's the difference between ~しか~ない and ~だけしか~ない?

Two ways of expressing 'only' in Japanese are だけ + positive verb and しか + negative verb. For example, the following sentences both translate to something like 'I drank only tea'. お茶だけ飲んだ (1) ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Difference in usage between exclamations: クソ vs. しまった

I apologize in advance for the possibly vulgar language, but I am asking purely from an academic perspective. My understanding is that both クソ and しまった translate roughly to the English "damn" when ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

であります compared to でいます

It might sound like a silly question, but I am just asking for interests sake... I already understand how to use them in which situation. If you were to say 田中さんは先生でいます, it would mean that Tanaka ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

What is the difference between 要するに and つまり?

I read that 要するに and つまり are not always interchangeable. Still, I don't really understand the difference between the two...
6
votes
3answers
580 views

The meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって

What is the meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって? Space ALC defines ~を中心に as "with a focus on" and ~をめぐって as "centering on", but I'm having trouble figuring out the meaning and ...
3
votes
1answer
261 views

What is the difference between [利用]{りよう}, [活用]{かつよう}, [使用]{しよう} and [用]{もち}いる?

I feel 活用 has some kind of feeling of "put to the use", as a politician would use his charm in a campaign. The other three seem confusing to me, however. What are the differences?
11
votes
1answer
490 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Difference between 検索する and 探す

I have always stuck with [探]{さが}す for "search", but in an anime I heard one of the characters say インターネットを[検索]{けんさく}おねがいしてもいいですか。 I suspect that one of the differences is that 検索 is more likely ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

What's the difference between 治す and 治る?

My dictionary says they are both cure/fix, so I am wondering what the difference is and how to use them? Is it an active/passive difference, or transitive/intransitive? Or just a subtle nuance? I ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Talking about people

first time asking a question on here. What is the difference in meaning between 人々、人物、人、人類、人間 and if you know any others it would be nice to include those too. How do you use them properly?
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What's the difference between 限界, 限り, 制限 and 限度

While 制限 seems rather straightforward, the others don't seem as easy to pinpoint to me. What are the differences, and in which cases should I one over another?
2
votes
2answers
281 views

Difference between 〜っぽい, 〜がち, and 〜やすい?

From what I understand, 〜っぽい, 〜がち, and 〜やすい all seem to suggest that someone has a general tendency towards doing something. It seems that 〜っぽい and 〜がち can attach to a noun or to the 連用形 of a verb, ...
9
votes
3answers
374 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

Are there differences between 自動車{じどうしゃ} and 車?

According to the dictionary, both of these terms refer to the same object: car/automobile. Now, I understand that 車 is also used in compounds to provide the "vehicle" part as in 電車, but I'm just ...
2
votes
2answers
151 views

Difference between 延ばす and 伸ばす

As far as I can tell, they both mean something like stretch or extend. When would you use each one?
5
votes
2answers
232 views

What's the difference between [勝負]{しょうぶ} and [試合]{しあい}

I've seen both refered to as "match". Is there some secondary usage or perhaps a connotation or nuance that separates the two?
1
vote
2answers
278 views

What's the difference between 済む, 終わる, 出来る and 上がる

I've seen all four used in the context of something being finished. What's the difference between them?