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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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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4answers
246 views

What's the difference between 勇ましい, 勇気, and 勇敢?

In English-Japanese dictionaries, they are all defined along the lines of "brave" or "courageous". Japanese dictionaries describe all of them more or less as "not fearing danger", using a phrase ...
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2answers
156 views

Is “傷” a subset of “怪我”?

I would like to clarify the differences between 傷{きず} and 怪我{けが}. Are these assertions correct? 傷 is used exclusively for minor cuts and abrasions to the skin? 怪我 can also be used for cuts ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
208 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 ...
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3answers
833 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 "...
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734 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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1answer
493 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 ...
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1k 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 ...
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2answers
789 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. ...
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725 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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242 views

Use of かける (N5 question)

An N5 vocabulary question I'm having trouble understanding: わたしの となりの (   ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 1 くつ   2 かぎ   3 めがね   4 でんわ The answer is 3: わたしの となりの ( めがね ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 Which I ...
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1answer
195 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 ...
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1answer
271 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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536 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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143 views

Expressions of surprise おや あれ あら

There seem to be three very similar expressions of surprise - おや, あれ, and あら. Is there much particular difference? So far I've gathered that あれ is almost always genuine surprise, whereas あら and おや can ...
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1answer
136 views

Are グラス and ガラス alternative spellings of the same word?

As in the title: Are グラス and ガラス alternative spellings of the same word? I'm going through a 2級 prep book for vocabulary and it has ワイングラス = wine glass but ガラスのコップ = glass (for drinking) and ...
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924 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 ...
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1answer
576 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 ...
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106 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?
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476 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: 梅雨とはいえ、...
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2answers
569 views

Earnest and serious: when should each be used?

I've noticed there's a lot of overlap between the following words meaning "earnest" or "serious" when talking about a person: まじ 真面目{まじめ} 真剣{しんけん} 本気{ほんき} 正気{しょうき}: (This word really means "sane" I ...
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1answer
209 views

恐れ入ります correct “thank you” to use after customers make a purchase?

Is 恐れ入ります the correct form of "thank you" when used during a business transaction (for example, a sales person would say this when someone makes a purchase at his/her store)? In the context of an up-...
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354 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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237 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 ...
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135 views

What is the difference between に関しての and に関する?

In this question which I will paste below, the asker uses both, one right after the other. GTA5に関しての質問です。 GTA5に関する動画で、(...) What is the difference between the two?
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1answer
205 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 ...
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1answer
224 views

How do you replace 「お悔やみ」 in condolences to a Japanese Christian?

In Yosh's answer to the question What are the ways to express someone's condolences?, this link states that Buddhist terms should not be used in expressing condolences to a Christian in Japanese: ...
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The many ways to write {かっこいい}

Apparently there are so many ways to write {かっこいい}. Hiragana/katakana only: かっこいい カッコいい カッコイイ EDICT: 格好いい かっこ好い Other possible variants: 格好良い かっこ良い カッコ良い 格好好い 恰好いい (...
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How would you express “sphere” or “world” in the Japanese language?

How would you express the concept of "sphere" or "world" in Japanese? For example, "Anglosphere" or "Indian speaking world". Is there a repeating pattern or suffix for this purpose, or are there just ...
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208 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 ...
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3answers
671 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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310 views

Why 次第 instead of によって in this very example?

I was randomly browsing this page and came across this sentence: 砂糖{さとう}は作{つく}るものしだいで使用{しよう}します。 This recipe happens to have a French equivalent En fonction des recettes, on utilise du ...
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289 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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500 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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164 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. ...
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328 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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450 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 ...
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184 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?
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Difference between 何の~ and どんな~

Consider the following: {どんな・[何]{なん}の}映画を見ましたか。 {どんな・何の}本を買いましたか。 What is the difference in the type of information requested by the two interrogatives? My hypothesis is that 何の is used to ...
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1k views

How do you know when to use みな or みんな?

Are there any tips for deciding to write みな or みんな? If I'm not sure can I just go with 皆? Also, in speech is there a distinction made? If not, which pronunciation is more common in standard Japanese?
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132 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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1k views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
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148 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)
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590 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 ...
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1answer
365 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 茂木{もぎ}健一郎{...
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1answer
169 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)
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155 views

What is the difference in usage between [問]{と}い[合]{あ}わせ and [依]{い}[頼]{らい}

Both 問い合わせ and 依頼 can mean to ask, but my co-workers are using both words in the application we are working on as if they are two different words. I have a suspicion one is transitive and one is ...
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2answers
203 views

嬉しい vs 幸せ. Which one to use in this case?

Both mean happy. 嬉しい is an i-adjective, and 幸せ is a na-adjective. If I want to say, "The happy boy studied at the library", which one should I use? The boy in the sentence is feeling happy at the ...