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

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9
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1answer
252 views

Difference between Fire : 火【ひ】and 火事【かじ】?

Both of them mean fire. But what are the difference between the two ? For the sentence : There is a fire in my room. Can I use both of them ? And what about for the sentence : Fire is part of the 5 ...
6
votes
1answer
243 views

What exactly is 我が家, and how is it used?

I know the phrase 我が家 means "our home" or "our family". My question is when would you use it, as opposed to say 私の家 or 私の家族? It seems poetic to me, or something that wouldn't exactly be used in ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

Does くりかえし mean a single iteration or multiple ones?

For example, in this sentence: 彼は、失敗をものともせず、 何度もくりかえし 挑戦し続けた。 くりかえし is modified by 何度も, implicitly stating that the action was repeated multiple times. My question is that if the sentence was ...
6
votes
2answers
499 views

The difference between “follow” using についていく、「あと?」をつける、「あと?」をついていく

What is the difference between and how can we explain the grammar in the expressions for "follow" in the examples below? 子供が母親のあとをついていく

 (A child is following his/her mother) 母親の買い物についていく (go ...
11
votes
2answers
614 views

What is the difference between ちょっと and 少し?

Specifically for when they mean "a little". In what situations would they be used and are they completely interchangeable without any differences?
7
votes
2answers
443 views

Which word to use for “butterfly”?

I am aware of these words that mean "butterfly": [蝶]{ちょう} 蝶々 (Is the alternate form of チョウチョ more common than 蝶々? Because 蝶々 would be チョウチョウ instead and it seems ウ is removed because of shortening) ...
7
votes
2answers
715 views

What is the difference between 彼氏が出来る and 彼氏を作る?

I often hear both of the following phrases: 彼氏が出来る 彼氏を作る Both of them seem to mean the same thing(?). Why is it that 作る is used in this way? I had previously thought 作る meant to "create" or ...
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
702 views

ひらく / とじる vs. あける / しめる

The verbs ひらく and あける both mean to open, and とじる and しめる both mean to close. I understand that ひらく and とじる are antonym pairs, as are あける and しめる, but have never been clear on the difference between ...
9
votes
3answers
264 views

What is the difference between 防止 and 予防?

My dictionary defines both 防止 and 予防 as "prevention", with 予防 having the additional definitions of "precaution" and "protection against". I sort of understand the latter definitions for 予防 as acting ...
10
votes
3answers
293 views

What's the difference between 三角 and 三角形?

I just had this terrifying conversation: What is "triangle" in Japanese? me: 三角 right? Then what's 三角形? me: Uhh... triangle? I've confirmed both of these translate to "triangle". ...
6
votes
3answers
439 views

In general/Generally: 概【がい】して, 一般【いっぱん】に, 全体【ぜんたい】に, 総【そう】じて, なべて, 一体{いったい}に, etc

When I look at them in the dictionary, they all mean the same thing. How to know which one to use? If I want to say: "Generally, I go to school by bus" or "Generally, people grow taller" or even ...
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
268 views

What is the difference between 日曜日【にちようび】and 日曜【にちよう】?

In all the japanese learning books, they teach you that xxxday ends with 曜日. But sometimes I get to see xxx曜 only without the "Day" Kanji. Can I shorten it when speaking too or is it only written ? ...
4
votes
2answers
101 views

Difference between こぼれる and あふれる

What is the difference between the two words こぼれる and あふれる? I think for こぼれる, the focus is on improper or bad containment leading to overflow/spillage. And for あふれる the focus is on the abundance of ...
12
votes
2answers
340 views

What's the difference between 今日{きょう} and 本日{ほんじつ}?

I also see both in different examples. As in : 今日は暑い。 本日はおめでとうございます。 Both are translated as "Today", but when and how should I use either one? Can we say : 本日はあつい。 And 今日はおめでとうございます。?
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
320 views

What is the difference between 向かい and 向こう?

I am unable to locate objects and their orientation with respect to myself when 向こう and 向かい are used. Consider: 向こう側 向かい側 向こうの店 向かいの店 Where is 向こう側 and 向かい側 with respect to me? Are they the same ...
4
votes
2answers
165 views

Are the grammatical forms きっかけに and 契機に interchangeable?

One of my grammar books 日本語総まとめN2 文法 lists both of the grammar forms 「きっかけに」 and 「契機に」 in the same definition. However, in the example question a choice is given between them: その事件(a. の契機に b. ...
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
1answer
257 views

Why is 口が軽い the opposite of 口が堅い?

Why is 口が軽い the opposite of 口が堅い ? It seems interesting to me why 軽い/堅い would be chosen for this phrase. As far as I know, most of the time phrases that are coupled with 軽い usually have the ...
7
votes
2answers
232 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: ...
13
votes
3answers
260 views

Why can some words be written with or without okurigana? How do the uses differ?

What is the difference for word compounds that can exist with 送り仮名 and without and still retain the same pronunciation? As an example: 巻き貝 と 巻貝 取り引き と 取引 If I'm correct, both of these are ...
2
votes
3answers
550 views

Is the difference between On and Kun readings greater than just the pronunciation of the character?

Here is my present state of understanding: A kanji's meaning is the same regardless of reading. A reading is a way of speaking the kanji out loud. Kun readings are always used when the kanji appears ...
2
votes
2answers
264 views

Is there a difference between these words for “hero”?

I've learned that hero could be translated as: ヒーロー えいゆう ゆうしゃ けっし Aside from ヒーロー (which seems just to be roumaji version of hero), is there any usage difference among them?
3
votes
2answers
193 views

What is the difference between 「余計に」and 「余分に」?

In my textbook 「日本語総まとめN2」, they list the two vocabulary words 「余計に」 and 「余分に」. I am almost unable to differentiate between their appropriate usage. Here are the example sentences from the book: ...
7
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

What is the difference between キャリアウーマン, OL, and ビジネスウーマン

When I come across the titles キャリアウーマン, OL, and ビジネスウーマン, I seem to have a difficult time picturing what their position is or what they do. I'm wondering if anyone can elaborate on how they are ...
4
votes
3answers
286 views

What makes に基づいて instead of に応じて the correct choice for this question?

I'm working on some example questions from my grammar textbook. One of them I listed below:  税金はこの表(  )計算されています。  ア)につれて イ)に応じて ウ)に比べて エ)に基づいて I'm unsure why 「に基づいて」is the only correct ...
8
votes
1answer
315 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
411 views

How do I write “Hard Work and Smart Work”?

I want to write an essay, the title is "Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work". I am trying to search japanese words to express those Hard Work and Smart Work. I wrote "重労働とスマートな仕事の相違点".Would ...
8
votes
3answers
541 views

Difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で

What is the difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で. How and in which context are they used?
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
139 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?

正月は家ごとに門松を立てる。 For example, could I say 正月はそれぞれの家に門松をたてる。 If so, the meaning remains the same, or are there any subtle nuances that comes with each word? It seems to me, whenever i see sentences ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

What is 在り方 used for?

Consider the extracted original Japanese text from the translation attempt in "Why is 知りません the negative form of 知っています?" : これは「知る」という動詞の"意味特徴"と、私たちが「知る」に抱く"イメージ=認知の在り方"に原因があると考えるのが妥当だと思う。 Also ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

How does adding なる make this phrase more “natural”?

Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such: [多分]{たぶん}いいペットでしょうね! I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

Can 一杯 be used to express the fullness of things without physical volumes?

According to an answer to this question, the word [一杯]{いっぱい} can be used to expess fullness; especially in relation to the capacity of whatever is containing the quantity. This, however, tends to ...
3
votes
1answer
290 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between ~かける and ~っぱなし?

Spawned from What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?; I started thinking about ~かける. Don't these essentially mean the same thing? I'm failing to see any difference except ...
6
votes
2answers
290 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?

I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences: 息子は、自分の部屋に入ったきり出てこない。 母は入院している父をつきっきりで看病している。 電車が混んでいて、東京まで立ちっぱなしだった。 I ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

What's the difference between 赤ん坊 and 赤ちゃん

Are both words interchangeable? Rikai-chan defines them both as "baby, infant". So what would be the difference?
2
votes
1answer
394 views

The difference between ~ようだ, ~ように見える, ~ように思える and ~みたい

In a Japanese English grammar textbook, "seems" is translated as ~のように見える, for example: He seemed to have been ill. 病気であったように見えた。 I've also seen "seems" written as ~(の)ように思える in various ...
12
votes
2answers
432 views

Saying “to miss” (“I missed you over the weekend”)

What's the best way to say "to miss" in the sense of feeling a longing for something, or that something pleasant is missing? I understand there's [懐]{なつ}かしむ, but it seems to me that, like 懐かしい, is ...
4
votes
1answer
472 views

“Postage stamp” word choice

I have two words that I think mean the same thing: 切手 - きって - stamp (postage)/merchandise certificate 郵券 - ゆうけん - postage stamp When I look at some sample sentences, the first one is used for both ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?

I noticed that 煙 in the phrase 茶煙永日香{ちゃえんえいじつかんばし} sometimes appears as 烟. For example, here is a teapot with 茶煙永日香 and a scroll with 茶烟永日香. Is there a difference in meaning between 煙 and 烟? 煙 and 烟 ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

Correct usage of から in this particular sentence

I want to make sure that I understand the basic usage of から. If I say: まどをしめます。さむいですから。  Would this sound natural or stilted to native speakers?
11
votes
2answers
455 views

What exactly is 我, and how is it used?

I was taught that [私]{わた(く)し}, [僕]{ぼく}, and 俺{おれ} are the most common first-person pronouns. Recently, I stumbled upon the word [我]{われ}, which supposedly means the same thing. An online dictionary ...
8
votes
2answers
188 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 ...