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
2answers
211 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
273 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
356 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
270 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
184 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
368 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
2answers
697 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
239 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
140 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
901 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
241 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
216 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
559 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: ...
8
votes
1answer
421 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
147 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
190 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
106 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
432 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
2answers
222 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
2answers
352 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
3answers
342 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
387 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
134 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
386 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
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
305 views

Why does someone intend to die in this JLPT question?

This is a question in my JLPT practise book: 手遅{ておく}れかもしれないが、死{し}んだ__になってやれば、間{ま}に合{あ}うかもしれない。 A もの B わけ C つもり D はず None of the answers made sense to me, so I didn't even choose one. The ...
7
votes
2answers
274 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
398 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

Difference between various “calculation” words (演算, 算出, and 計算)

Is there a difference in usage between these words? 演算 (えんざん) 算出 (さんしゅつ) 計算 (けいさん)
7
votes
2answers
285 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
390 views

Differences between the many words for dinner

According to my dictionary, the following words all mean the same thing: "Dinner": [夜]{よる}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩]{ばん}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩飯]{ばんめし}, [晩食]{ばんしょく}, [夕]{ゆう}ご[飯]{はん}, [夕飯]{ゆうはん(ゆうめし)}, [夕食]{ゆうしょく} A similar ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

Usage of 腱 vs 筋

What is the difference between the following characters: 腱 vs 筋 (すじ) Both translate to tendon (as in the connective tissue between muscles and bones)
7
votes
1answer
297 views

must/need [必要]{ひつよう}がある vs. なくてはいけない and [必要]{ひつよう}だ vs. [要]{い}る

This is a two part question, both pertaining to expressions involving "必要". What is the difference between 必要がある and -なくてはいけない/ -なければならない? The difference between the latter two expressions is ...
7
votes
2answers
205 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
333 views

Why is 領土{りょうど} more suitable than 領域{りょういき} in this JLPT practise question?

In my JLPT practise book, there is this question: その国王{こくおう}は戦{たたか}いに負{ま}け____の一部{いちぶ}を失{うしな}ってしまった。 Which I roughly translate as, "The kingdom lost a part of its __ in the battle." The ...
7
votes
1answer
241 views

When to use 洗濯する and 洗う?

今日ふくを洗う。 今日ふくを洗濯する。 昨日食器を洗った。 昨日食器を洗濯した。 I know that 洗濯する means: washing or laundering (clothes). And 洗う just means washing. When I'm talking about washing in general can I use the two words ...
7
votes
2answers
409 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
143 views

When do you use 回答 and 応答?

I would like to know when do you use the word 回答{かいとう} versus the word 応答{おうとう}. Based on my understanding they 回答 is reply while 応答 is response. Although to reply would also mean to response, in ...
7
votes
2answers
760 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.) ...
7
votes
3answers
287 views

difference between ~の折に and ~の時に

While studying for JLPT N2 I came across this expression の折に. It appears to be almost identical to の時に. My reference suggests that it's basically the same, but simply less polite. What I find ...
7
votes
2answers
336 views

What's the difference between “巻寿司” (makizushi), “海苔巻き” (norimaki), and “巻物” (makimono)?

It seems there are three words for the same Japanese food item, a kind of "sushi in a long roll": "巻寿司" (makizushi) "海苔巻き" (norimaki) "巻物" (makimono) Are they all identical / synonyms? Do they ...
7
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
167 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
656 views

How to ask person to guess for something during conversation?

I was conversing with my Japanese colleague: Me: Do you know how much a melon costs in my home country? Colleague: I do not know. Me: Take a guess. I asked him how to say take a ...
7
votes
1answer
528 views

How to ask for a refund?

I want to ask for a refund? For example, if I want to refund a train ticket. How do I ask the train master? I think it is not a 返品。 Do you need certain politeness?
7
votes
1answer
408 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
265 views

What's the difference between ちゃんと, きちんと, きっちり and ぴったり?

The four of ちゃんと, きちんと, きっちり and ぴったり all seem to mean something like "perfectly", "precisely" or "exactly", and there seems to be a lot of similarity between their definitions. Daijisen says that ...
7
votes
1answer
731 views

How can I differentiate between “risk” and “danger” in Japanese?

I wanted to know how to say "risk" in Japanese, so I looked it up, and found that most dictionaries translate "risk" as 「[危険]{きけん}」. To me, [危険]{きけん} means "danger", which is different. Though, to ...
7
votes
1answer
165 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.
7
votes
2answers
164 views

What's the difference between じき and すぐ?

すぐ, and especially 今すぐ, is my habitual way to express "soon", or "right after this". I know that じき means more or less the same thing, and when I hear it or see it written, I get the general meaning ...