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
votes
2answers
2k views

When to use ~ので vs ~から

I was looking in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar when I saw something on page 329 which truly shocked me: "node cannot be used and kara must be used [... when ...] the main clause is a ...
10
votes
1answer
273 views

What is the difference between 部屋 and 室?

When referring to a room (in a building), what is the difference in usage, if any? I looked up the definitions and checked some sample phrases, but I could not see any real difference. I usually read ...
2
votes
2answers
392 views

How can a friendly person be “hard to approach”?

I have this phrase in my JLPT textbook: 私{わたし}の上司{じょうし}は気{き}さくで近寄{ちかよ}りがたい My translation, which must be incorrect in some way, is, "my superior is hard to approach as he/she is friendly." It ...
5
votes
1answer
220 views

Is 青色をしている different from 青い?

I recently learned 青色をしている as a synonym for 青い, but I don't have a good idea of what the difference is, or even if there's any difference at all. On chat, Flaw suggested the difference might be ...
4
votes
2answers
200 views

Why choose 念入{ねんい}り over まともに in this question?

My JLPT book has this question: ドライブの前{まえ}に(a.まともに b.念入{ねんい}りに)車{くるま}の点検{てんけん}をした。 I chose a, thinking that a reasonable translation was, "Before driving, do a proper check of the car." The ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Does the Japanese language only have negative terms for flirting?

I am looking for terms in the Japanese language which can describe the act of flirting in a positive light. This probably requires inventing terms to close a lexical gap, because as far as I know, all ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

「日本語で、送って」What are the contexts of this usage of “send”?

I recently posted on Facebook lyrics to a Simon & Garfunkel song. A friend then posted: ニック…日本語で、送って I know 送る means to send, but does she want me to 'send' the lyrics to her in Japanese or ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

降参する vs 諦める​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める? Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example: ぜったい降参しない。(I will never give up.) ぜったい諦めない。(I will never give up.) What's the difference ...
4
votes
1answer
619 views

What's the difference between 招待, 招く and 誘う?

I've stumbled upon these 3 words. I think meaning of 招待 is: invite (as in a formal invitation) The other two seem rather confusing to me, though.
5
votes
1answer
275 views

Method for deciding whether to use katakana or kanji version of the word?

I often see words in sentences written in カタカナ or 漢字 that could be swapped for a common word of the other form. I am aware that there are lots of カタカナ words that do have a 漢字 form, but where the 漢字 ...
4
votes
1answer
301 views

How would I respectfully disagree with a peer?

This is probably related to How would I respectfully disagree with a superior? however the context is a tech forum where the thread starter is asking for someone technically advanced to help, and the ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

What's the difference between 真似る and 真似する?

I'm just wondering if they are the same word or if there is an actual difference (in meaning or nuance). It seems weird to me that there would be two different verbs with the same kanji stem that mean ...
10
votes
2answers
269 views

To uncomment in Japanese?

In the context of computer programming, how to say to uncomment? For instance, here I uncomment a line: // Before // myvar = 3; // After myvar = 3; I would use コメントアウトする, but I also see ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Differences between 事実 and 真実

Both 真実 and 事実 means; fact,truth. So in Kanji Lesson I asked my teacher if there is any differences between them, he said yes but there was no time to explain.
4
votes
2answers
656 views

興味が湧く vs 興味が沸く​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Which kanji should we use for the phrase 興味がわく (to mean that something has caught our interest)? Some quick googling shows that both 興味が湧く (~11m hits) and 興味が沸く (~9m hits) are widely used. Is one of ...
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, ...
3
votes
1answer
627 views

How to say “to ride a bicycle”?

Is it 自転車に乗る or 自転車を走る? I know I've read the latter somewhere before. But I just came across the former today and didn't know if there was a difference.
9
votes
4answers
247 views

{はず, わけ, しょう} がない difference

What is the difference between 「はず」 {hazu} and 「わけ」 {wake}? a slight expansion of the existing thread but what is the difference or use cases for when to use Hazu ga nai, wake ga nai, shiyou ga nai? ...
9
votes
1answer
695 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: ...
5
votes
2answers
251 views

How do I differentiate all these terms for “illiterate”?

I looked up the word "illiteracy", and was offered many different possibilities. Here they are, with my personal take on the nuance behind their origins: 活字{かつじ}離{ばな}れ ("removed from printing"?) ...
9
votes
2answers
479 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
149 views

What is the difference between こんにちは and もしもし?

I will be in Japan in a few weeks and I am trying to learn the basic to be as polite as possible. One of the first things I did was try some basic stuff with Google Translate but I feel lost already. ...
1
vote
1answer
303 views

What's the difference between 平和 and 和平?

If you ask someone how to say "peace" the likely answer you'll get is 平和, which is the common option, but occasionally you'll see the word 和平, which has a very similar meaning, and is indeed just a ...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
306 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
634 views

How can I say “the leader(s) of the club” in Japanese

I would like to ask which one of the following two words could be used to express the word "leader" when I am talking about someone who is the head of a club or at least the member of its board; for ...
4
votes
1answer
286 views

Different meaning of 何?

While reading some lyrics online, I stumbled upon the following phrase: これ以上何を失えば 心は許されるの Which I could myself losely translate as following: If I lose what more (than I already have), will ...
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?
2
votes
3answers
421 views

Is “anyone” 人はいます or 誰でも?

So I ran across this example sentence: 食べている人はいますか? And the translation was "Is anyone eating?" However I thought the sentence would be: 誰でもが食べていますか? Is this correct? Also is Xはいます = is any X? ...
6
votes
1answer
142 views

What's the difference between 向こう and 向こう側?

My textbook (An Introduction to Modern Japanese) introduced 向こう as meaning "the other side of" and 側{がわ} as meaning "side". On page 76 it states that 側 can be added to some, but not all, of these ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

The difference between (な形容詞)さ and (な形容詞)性?

I'm in the middle of writing a paper in Japanese, and I can't quite figure out which is right. If I want to nominalize a な形容詞, should I affix さ or 性 at the end? I've been checking on search engines, ...
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
1answer
245 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
639 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
362 views

How to translate “from scratch”

I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can ...
13
votes
1answer
313 views

What's the (real) difference between 飲む and 食べる?

When I first started learning Japanese, I learned that 飲む meant "drink" and 食べる meant "eat". These translations seemed to work for a while, but then I learned that you could 飲む things that you can't ...
7
votes
1answer
168 views

What's the difference between 姿{すがた} and 形{かたち}?

Could someone explain the difference between 姿{すがた} and 形{かたち}? I've looked up both words, but I'm still not clear on what the distinction is, or how much overlap there is between the two. My mental ...
5
votes
2answers
397 views

What are the differences between「目的」and 「目標」?

Both「目的」and「目標」have a common meaning which is "goal", but what is the difference? When can we use one but not the other?
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
614 views

Blue blistering barnacles, what is Captain Haddock saying?

For those who might not be familiar with the series Tintin (soon to be in a major motion picture, by the way), there is a character named Captain Haddock who is famous for shouting out colourful ...
8
votes
3answers
768 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
279 views

Difference Between 修理 and 直す

Although both means repair, but I am not able to understand the differences between them. Is it that, when human efforts are involved in repair its called 直す and when it is being repaired by any other ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

Do people say じゅういち or いちいち when saying 11?

I heard this sentence. 仕事はひまでしたが、うちでよるいちいちまでレポートを書いています。 I looked up いちいち and it could mean 11 or one-by-one or separately. I'm guessing this in sentence it's saying 11. However, I'm wondering if ...
7
votes
1answer
254 views

How to use いかがですか?

So I've read that いかがですか means "How about it?" and "How is it?". So if I wanted to say, "How's the coffee?" would it be コーヒーはどうですか? or  コーヒーはいかがですか? Also is there an "informal" way of saying いかがです?
4
votes
2answers
253 views

Difference between words that describe the idea of neighborhood/being close to something

Can somebody describe the difference between these words(physical distance and maybe politeness of these words, or any aspects that you think are important to understand these). Can all these words ...
4
votes
1answer
247 views

What's the difference between もともと and そもそも?

What's the difference between the usage and meaning of そもそも and もともと? They both seem to mean something like "from the start/to begin with/originally" in dictionaries, but I believe their usage ...
3
votes
1answer
282 views

What is the difference between mannenhitsu and pen?

I was studying on another website and ran across a blurb that said that a pen is also called mannenhitsu in Japan. Is there a difference between the two? If not, is mannenhitsu said sometimes, just as ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

Difference between ともあれ and とかく

According to ALC ともあれ とかく they look pretty similar and express "anyway, anyhow". I came across the following excercise where you need to choose between those two: ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

the use of 園地(えんち)、庭(にわ)

I have problem with word use again:) there are these two words 園地 (enchi) and 庭 (niwa)。 as far as I know 'niwa' refers to a garden around the house right? What about 'enchi' does it refer to a house ...