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

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740 views

The various ways of saying “all”

While trying to write a plugin to (unofficially fan-)translate this website to Japanese, I've been noticing that "all" has multiple different translations. What exactly is the difference between ...
9
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1answer
363 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 ...
9
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2answers
474 views

Word difference question - reply (返事 vs 返信)

A simple questions here on word usage. For reply I have always used 返事. Today however a friend mailed me and said 返信. This word is new to me. How does it differ?
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3answers
2k views

Difference between kara and n desu?

Is there a difference (or nuance) or is it just two ways of saying the same thing? For example, どうして、とぶか? (1) こわいんです。 (2) こわいですから。 Obviously, those are very simple examples. But are there times ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Polite Way to Ask “How old are you?” : 何歳 , いくつ ,年齢 , ご年

I think the sentences: 何歳ですか? いくつですか? 年齢は? お年は? are all sentences that ask "How old are you?" How are they different? What form is most polite?
9
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1answer
826 views

What are the differences between 帰る and 戻る?

Can you give an example of when 帰る should be used instead of 戻る, and vice versa? The reason I ask is that I sometimes get corrected when using the two, such as in: × そのとき私は日本から戻ってきて、大学に戻って入りました。 ...
9
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4answers
300 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
1k views

How do you normally say calendar and date in Japanese?

If you were to say: I have to buy a new calendar next month. or Look at the calendar and see when X holiday is? or Have you seen the calendar?, would you use カレンダー or 暦{こよみ}? Is there a difference ...
9
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1answer
188 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 ...
9
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3answers
563 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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3answers
779 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 ...
9
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1answer
841 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 ...
9
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2answers
664 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. ...
9
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1answer
263 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
253 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 ...
9
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1answer
457 views

Usage of 忘れる, 忘れた, 忘れている, 忘れていた

Consider this sentence: それは三十年前のことだから、もう[fill in the blank]。 The answer given by the workbook is 忘れた. Choices are: 忘れる (forget) 忘れた (forgot) 忘れている (continued state of forgetting) 忘れていた (had ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between そうか and そっか?

Is そっか just more slangy? Is そうか the same as saying ああそう? Or, is this more a spoken thing? If so, what is used when writing?
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1answer
538 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
469 views

Nuances of “give” - あげる/与える/授ける

Can someone give some good context and scenarios for using these? Not only when to use them, but when NOT to use them as well. I know あげる is kind of the most common, but I'm just not sure of the ...
9
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3answers
581 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 ...
9
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1answer
184 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 ...
9
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1answer
274 views

What do I actually call familiar or friendly language?

When writing on Lang-8, I often end up writing both formal and casual versions (for practice), with labels. I also wish occasionally to discuss formality, and thus need words to talk about the ...
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1answer
1k views

Expressing hope: to nozomu and koto wo negau

I have a question about these two verbs for 'hope': と望む (to nozomu) ことを願う (koto wo negau) I also write down two examples, since I have a particular question about their use: ...
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2answers
603 views

けど vs. が for “but” conjuction

This question covers the difference between でも and けど for "but", the difference being that でも can be used at the beginning of a sentence. But けど and が are used in very much the same way, ...
9
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3answers
363 views

What is the difference between 交ざる / 混ざる {まざる} and 交じる / 混じる {まじる}?

Both {まじる} and {まざる} with both initial kanji characters 交 and 混 are intransitive verbs that are translated into this by rikaichan: to be mixed; to be blended with; to associate with; to mingle ...
8
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1answer
568 views

Terms for Royalty

Why are there so many terms for royalty? And I'm talking about generic words like "king", "queen", etc. I seem to remember from my studies that certain terminology was used specifically for Japanese ...
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3answers
1k views

What's the difference between ~てください and ~ていてください?

This question has come up on the side of at least a couple of other questions, but I don't think it's been definitively answered, so let's see if we can come up with something solid. After going ...
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2answers
780 views

What is the difference between 「はじめてのX」 {hajimete no X} and 「はじめのX」 {hajime no X}?

There is a song with title {hajimete no asa} and another song with title {hajime no hi}. There is also a manga title {hajimete no aku}, and not to forget the popular boxing manga {hajime no ippo}. So ...
8
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2answers
249 views

What's the difference between differences? 差 and 違い

What's the difference between 差 and 違い? When would I use each? Which (if either) would I use for describing the difference between something like sample data and the best fitting equation?
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3answers
467 views

What exacty does ゆえ mean, and how does it fit this JLPT question?

I have this question in my JLPT textbook: 男女{だんじょ}平等{びょうどう}といっても、女性{じょせい}___の差別{さべつ}はまだ残{のこ}っている。 A ゆえ B たる C なり D こそ The book says the answer is A, which is weird to me because I thought ...
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3answers
417 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What's the difference between “マグロ” (maguro), “ツナ” (tsuna), and “シーチキン” (shiichikin)?

It seems that there are (at least) three words for "tuna" in Japanese: "マグロ" / "鮪" / "まぐろ" (maguro) - Seems to be the native name for the creature and used at least in sushi "ツナ" (tsuna) - Seems to ...
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2answers
1k views

Younger uncles and aunts

If you are older than your uncle or aunt, do you still address them as 叔母さん or 叔父さん? I see no reason why you wouldn't, but I recall once seeing a description saying that family titles are only used ...
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3answers
585 views

Why are these words considered less politically correct?

Warning: I have no sense of how offensive any of these words might be. They are repeated only insofar as they help me learn what not to say. Apologies for any accidental offense, and please do not ...
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2answers
206 views

The difference between 皮膚【ひふ】 and 皮【かわ】

What's the difference? I got told that 皮膚【ひふ】 only works for mammals (and humans), and 皮【かわ】 for other animals too.
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2answers
2k views

How do these 3 ways of saying “It can't be helped” differ?

So I have heard: 仕方がない しょうがない 仕方あるまい And the translation I've seen for all 3 is: "It can't be helped." Is there a particular difference among the 3? Edit: Secondary question. Why isn't 仕方あるまい, ...
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2answers
259 views

What's the difference between 関{かん}する and 関{かか}わる?

This question is in my JLPT practise book: 親{おや}のしつけが子供{こども}の性格{せいかく}形成{けいせい}に____ことは言{い}うまでもない。 A 通{つう}じる B 通{とお}す C 関{かん}する D 関{かか}わる The book says the answer is D, but to me the ...
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2answers
364 views

What's the word to use for “confidential”, as in a company report?

I'm preparing a sales presentation; it contains some company data and I want to indicate that the entire presentation is confidential. In English, this would likely be accomplished by stamping the ...
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2answers
365 views

What's the difference in usage and nuance between やはり and やっぱり?

I know that we say にっぽん instead of にほん when we want to inject a little national pride into the word, but I've never had a good understanding of the difference in meaning/nuance/usage between やはり and ...
8
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1answer
124 views

Difference between せんしゅう and ぜんしゅう

I was looking at this answer and I discovered the word ぜんしゅう (last week). I am familiar with せんしゅう, and I was wondering if there is any difference in meaning between them?
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1answer
355 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 ...
8
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2answers
267 views

what's the difference between 余地 and よゆう?

I have been informed that よゆう is to do with temporal or physical room, while 余地 has to do with emotional room, but I might have misunderstood the explanation.
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1answer
182 views

What's the difference between (いちば/しじょう) for 市場?

Does it refer to two different types of markets? Thank you.
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276 views

What is the difference between all the weather words: 気象{きしょう}, 天気{てんき} and 天候{てんこう}?

Dictionary (at least Jisho and WWWJDIC) defines them as: 気象{きしょう} = weather, climate 天気{てんき} = weather, the elements 天候{てんこう} = weather They all have quite similar definitions, so I don't quite ...
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1answer
247 views

Difference between ごめんください and お邪魔します

On a recent question, 非回答者さん wrote the following comment: Tokyoites say ごめんください all the time when entering another person's home. I cannot even think of another phrase that could replace it. ...
8
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2answers
246 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 ...
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2answers
360 views

Why is it (usually) wrong to say 人がある but OK to say ある人?

I fear I may be venturing again into "just because" territory, but this one bugs me. We all know that you usually use いる (as in not ある) to refer to living things, as in 私は日本にいる(△ある). Yet it is ...
8
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1answer
415 views

Do people use the ending ~まい?

I see the ending ~まい all over the place in the JLPT books and in example phrases but I can't actually think of an example of somebody saying it or writing in an email (from SMS style messages to work ...
8
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3answers
312 views

Is おつかれさん “correct” Japanese to address to someone of lower status?

I have noticed in various environments that some people will sometimes, when speaking to someone of lower status, say おつかれさん instead of お疲れ様. Similarly one might here ご苦労さん instead of ご苦労様. I've ...
8
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1answer
581 views

Why is this 理由 【りゆう】 given the furigana わけ?

It might be hard to read because of the image resolution, but on the cover of this book, on the bottom left side, it says: へんな日本語にも理由がある。 Which means something like: "Even strange Japanese ...