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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

8
votes
3answers
421 views

The differences between いきなり, [急]{きゅう}に and [突然]{とつぜん}

I've come to see [突然]{とつぜん} as "sudden in an almost overwhelming manner". The other two, however, I am unable to figure out. What are the differences between these words, and when is one more ...
6
votes
1answer
370 views

“くださいませんか” vs. “いただけませんか”

When I want to make 「それを見せて下さい。」 more formal, I always say 「それを見せて頂けませんか?」. But, I want to double-check this.    I never say 「それを見せて下さいませんか。」. While that seems perfectly fine, I don't think I've ...
1
vote
1answer
204 views

言っていました vs 言いました when saying 'someone said …'

If you wanted to say. 'Keiko said xxx,' why is けいこさんが「xxx」と言っていました better than けいこさんが「xxx」と言いました? Thank you, and happy new year! (Also is は better than が in this instance?)
1
vote
1answer
149 views

What makes 飯場 sensitive?

The entry for WWWJDIC lists 飯場 as a possibly sensitive word (sens). However, the definition is just construction camp; bunkhouse; workers' living quarters and it appears in 燃え尽きた地図, a novel from ...
6
votes
2answers
443 views

How are programming projects discussed in Japanese?

In English, programming projects (and large systematic projects in general) typically take their descriptive cues from well-known manufacturing/construction industry jargon, i.e. "blueprint", ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

What's the difference between 「〜とつきあう」 and 「〜につきあう」?

I understand that つきあう means "to hang out with, to date, to keep company…". I've seen it used both with と and with に, but I haven't been able to figure out when to use which. So for example, what's ...
1
vote
1answer
180 views

What is the difference between same prefix verb + different かえる verbs

What are the differences in nuance between these same pronunciation prefix + different かえる combinations? For example: 置き換える・置き替える 入れ替える・入れ換える・入れ変える 取り替える・取り代える・取り換える Thank you very ...
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!
5
votes
1answer
261 views

“Full” names of metals

When written as a standalone kanji, the following metals have longer, "full" names (based on their colour): [金]{こがね} → こがね [銀]{しろがね} → しろがね [銅]{あかがね} → あかがね [鉄]{くろがね} → くろがね In my ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

What's the difference between 浮かぶ and 浮く?

I often see 浮く in contexts relating to floatability, like: 氷は水に浮きます However, sometimes I see 浮く used where I'd use 浮かぶ. When should one be used over the other? Are there any cases where both are ...
4
votes
1answer
242 views

ポイント as percent

In my writing class, I was surprised to learn that ポイント can be used to mean パーセント in graphs. In English, we don't normally call percentage points just points. Does anyone have any background / insight ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Difference between 表れる and 現れる

How are these two terms different? Also how about 表す and 現す? Thank you so much! 楽しいクリスマス、そしていい正月を。
6
votes
1answer
198 views

Multiple usages of 学習{がくしゅう}

My understanding is that 「学習{がくしゅう}」 is a very interesting word. It has all of the following meanings? (1) 「勉強{べんきょう}」. To study new material. We learn new kanji, vocab, grammar, etc. (2) ...
19
votes
2answers
642 views

What's the difference between 女性 and 女の人?

As far as I'm aware, both words translate into English as "woman". What's the difference in meaning between 女性 and 女の人?
2
votes
1answer
151 views

換える, 替える, 代える, 変える and their intransitive equivalents

While the meaning of 代える seems rather straightforward, the other two at times delude me. When should one be used over another? Are there any situations where both 換える and 替える are applicable?
7
votes
1answer
258 views

How interchangeable are の/である/なる/たる when qualifying nouns?

So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a の. 友達のジョン → My friend John 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare) It seems ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Difference between 店 and ショップ

Both 店 and ショップ translate into English as "shop". For which circumstances would you use each word? My first assumption was that 店 would be used for more "traditional" shops than ショップ, but when I did ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the difference between 包む(つつむ)and 包む(くるむ)?

The verbs つつむ and くるむ and both written 包む, and according to my English-to-Japanese dictionary both have the meaning "to wrap". くるむ is glossed "おおう", while つつむ is glossed "すっぽりと覆う", but I am having ...
4
votes
3answers
254 views

why “速さ” instead of “遅さ”、etc

I am pretty sure that when native speakers talk about speed, they say "速さ", "広さ" for width, "大きさ" for size, etc. Am I correct about this? If I am, then: Why not say "遅さ" instead of "速さ", "狭さ" ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

What's the difference between 業績 and 実績

I'm finding it difficult to find a pattern in the usages of these two. When should I use 業績 over 実績 ?
4
votes
1answer
164 views

The difference between 幸 and 運 as “luck” or “fortune”

I've come across these two kanji in a few cases for "good/bad fortune" and even in combination with eachother. I'd really like to understand if there's a subtle difference that I'm missing so that I ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

Difference between 軟らかい and 柔らかい

I'm currently doing a study on Japanese homophones and came across 柔らかい and 軟らかい. Most other homophones seem to have noticeable differences in usage (or have explanations online), but I can't seem to ...
3
votes
1answer
210 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
201 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
376 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
393 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?
5
votes
1answer
246 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? ...
2
votes
0answers
326 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
242 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?
1
vote
1answer
354 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
107 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
226 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). ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

What's the difference between 機械 and 器械

In which case would one be more appropriate than the other?
4
votes
1answer
416 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
248 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
212 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
119 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
182 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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
198 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
242 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
114 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?
7
votes
1answer
720 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
592 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
298 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
202 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
214 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
199 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
296 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: ...
5
votes
2answers
178 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...