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
358 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
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
121 views

What's the difference between 静けさ and 静かさ?

Much to my disbelief (no, I'm kidding, it happens all the time), I found out that my handbook was wrong to tell me we must use 静けさ, because 静かさ doesn't exist. Wiki(tionary) says "For degree, ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
8
votes
1answer
411 views

What's the difference between 思う and 考える?

These two words both seem to mean "to think", but is there any difference between them? Is it related to the difference between 言う and 話す by any chance?
8
votes
1answer
254 views

When is イングランド used and when is イギリス used?

It has always been my understanding that the word for England is イギリス. But the wikipedia page for English-American says イングランド系アメリカ人. Even rikaichan has イングランド as England. Is there a difference in ...
8
votes
2answers
804 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
295 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
votes
2answers
214 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
234 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.
8
votes
2answers
406 views

Non-distinguished animal pairs in Japanese

This is something I first noticed when I was at an aquarium in Japan (as evidenced in my examples) and continued to see ever since. There are certain pairs of animals, that while extremely similar, ...
8
votes
3answers
231 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
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
771 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
475 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

When to use 「とにかく」 and when to use 「とりあえず」?

This is a variant of the top definition question @ Area51: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/7526/japanese-language-usage/7529#7529 When to use 「とにかく」 and when to use 「とりあえず」? I have heard ...
8
votes
1answer
641 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
493 views

Difference between うーん and ううん

What is the difference between うーん and ううん? In a comment on Pronunciation of ううん, paullb said that he usually sees the negative interjection ううん written as うーん. This confused me, because I thought ...
8
votes
1answer
329 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
8
votes
2answers
197 views

Terms for 'viewpoint': 視点 vs 観点

I'm not understanding the subtleties of [視点]{してん} vs 観点{かんてん}. I know that they both mean something like "point of view", and given the existence of two of them, one of them probably implies more ...
8
votes
1answer
186 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.
8
votes
2answers
225 views

Which particle to use with 出会う {であう} : と, に or が?

From Google searches, I can see that all three particles と, に and が are used with 出会う, but are there differences when using each of the particles or are they interchangeable? For ease of explanation, ...
8
votes
1answer
388 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
385 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
309 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
193 views

X is near or next to Y. Is my understanding of this correct?

So I know that a few words could be used interchangably. But I wasn't sure if I got the nuance(s) correct. So I have this sentence: 車はどこにありますか。 車庫のそばです。 And as far as I can see, I can change そば in ...
8
votes
1answer
83 views

How is 発行 different from 刊行?

Also, how does 発刊 fit into all of this? Is it that 発行 can be used for magazines, newspapers and books while 刊行 can't be used for newspapers?
8
votes
1answer
371 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
255 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
8
votes
2answers
848 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?
8
votes
1answer
282 views

What is the difference between とはいえ and と(は)いっても? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: と言っても vs とは言え . Apparently they mean the same thing (although, that being said) and yet there are cases when only one of them can be used. For example: ...
8
votes
1answer
141 views

What is the difference between あっての and とあって?

From what I can tell they both mean "Because of", and the only differences in meaning I can see seem to be very subtle. あっての: Because of A (strong emphasis), B Thanks to (various ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

The difference between からすると、から見ると、から言うと?

Are there any differences between these three sets: からして、からすると、からすれば vs. から見て、から見ると、から見れば vs. から言って、から言うと、から言えば These 'sets' seem to be used in 2 basic ways: Presents something as ...
8
votes
3answers
272 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
votes
1answer
260 views

Is it actually impolite to say ご苦労様 to a superior?

Conventional ビジネスマナー tells us that ご苦労様 is used by superiors to subordinates and お疲れ様 used by everyone, and this is backed up all over the internet and stated on some questions here, like this. But ...
8
votes
1answer
513 views

How did the verb 掛ける come to have many meanings?

I think that this verb is the only one I've seen in Japanese that has so many definitions. とる and つく have multiple definitions as well (quite a bit IIRC). But not as much as 掛ける. In any case, I am ...
8
votes
2answers
153 views

Which is better for a sales budget: 予算, 推計, or something I haven't even thought of yet?

I'm writing a short (3-5 page) business plan in Japanese. I'd like to include an "estimate" of the sales for the next 3 years. The question: what would you choose for the graph titled: 2012 ...
8
votes
1answer
194 views

島人{とうじん} vs 島民{とうみん}

I was looking for a word to say islander, i.e. someone that lives/was born in an island. I've come across 島人 and 島民 and asked two native speakers about their user meaning. While they both agreed that ...
7
votes
7answers
473 views

What is the real difference between the proper use of the words さむい and つめたい?

In English it seems that cold is just always cold just as warm and hot regardless of whether the word describes a persons experience or the actual physical state of an object. In Japanese however ...
7
votes
3answers
126 views

Is “先生 / せんせい / sensei” haughty or overly-formal

If I were to tell my Japanese friend that I plan to become a teacher, would I literally say that I will become a sensei? I have always thought of this as an honorific title, and it feels odd to call ...
7
votes
2answers
228 views

たたく versus ぶつ in a JLPT question

In my JLPT practise book, there is a section demonstrating the difference between なぐる, たたく, 打{う}つ, and ぶつ. If I understand them, they are all variants of "hit", with subtle nuances to differentiate ...
7
votes
5answers
464 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
455 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
776 views

Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
7
votes
3answers
419 views

What is the difference between がる and ぎみ?

In one of my study flashcards, I have this sentence: 疲{つか}れぎみだけど生{い}きてます。 Which should translate to something like, "[He] appears worn out but [he's] still kicking." The main point is that in ...
7
votes
3answers
352 views

what does どことなくつかみどころがなくmean?

I came across this phrase in the sentence: 勘【かん】というものは、しょちゅう経験【けいけん】していながら、どことなくつかみどころがなく、いまの科学【かがく】ではまだその正体【しょうたい】が、明らか【あきらか】にされていない。(Soumatome N1 dokkai, p45) My best effort to translate it ...
7
votes
3answers
418 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
142 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
7
votes
2answers
489 views

What is the difference between 様子、状況、状態、and 事情

I'm unsure of the difference between these four words. They all seem to indicate some type of "condition" or "circumstances". (1) Are they interchangeable? (2) What are some example sentences which ...
7
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the difference between 腰掛ける and 座る?

What is the difference between 腰掛ける and 座る?