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)

4
votes
1answer
265 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
315 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
408 views

Difference in word use: 父親 母親 両親 父母

I would like to ask about the following words: 父親【ちちおや】 and 母親【ははおや】. They refer to father and mother, right? But why do they exist? When do we use them instead of お父【とう】さん and お母【かあ】さん? I have a ...
9
votes
2answers
518 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

What is the difference between 家屋, 家 and 住居

I've found yet another word that's translated as 'home' which now makes it 3. Could you please tell me if these words have the same exact meaning or is there any difference between their usage?
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Can desire be expressed for entities that do not hold volition?

We can personify things. By using "want" with an inanimate object, it is personified: An object with inertia wants to maintain its state of motion. (Question) First, is it possible in Japanese ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Is there a difference between ことがある and ものがある?

This has been split from this question.. So what are differences between two? Are there times where they can be interchangeable or can they only be used in certain situations? I saw this about ...
5
votes
1answer
196 views

What does うんたらかんたら mean?

I recently heard this phrase being told in a show, but I just couldn't make sense of what it means...And what really caught my attention was that the listener was really surprised to hear this phrase ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

How to say “running total”?

I've looked around but haven't found a decent way to write "running total" like in the following table. A Running Total 1 1 2 3 1 4 5 9 3 12
12
votes
1answer
528 views

Difference between さよなら and さようなら

I just saw the word "goodbye" spelt as さよなら. Having clearly heard the long o sound before, I thought the word was misspelled. However, a quick online search shows both さよなら and さようなら being used. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

まま + 放る{ほうる} used for emphasis or are they both needed?

A group of people are talking about the best way to get rid of a monster in their town and one of the villagers says this: 仕方{しかた}あるまい。このまま放って{ほうって}おけば村は[全滅]{ぜんめつ}するかもしれん…。 From what I understand, まま ...
3
votes
4answers
183 views

What is the difference between 楽しい and 面白い?

Google translates both of them to be interesting. And which can be used for a funny guy?
4
votes
3answers
713 views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
412 views

What is the difference in usage between 準備 用意 and 覚悟

The dictionaries translate these three words roughly as preparation/preparedness or ready/readiness. I don't think I undersand the subtleties of their usage. Not to mention できる also has another ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Difference between 〜げ and 〜そう [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between ~げ and ~そう What is the difference between 〜げ and 〜そう? Consider for example: 彼が、何か言いたげに近づいて来た。 彼が、何か言いたそうに近づいて来た。 Or are they ...
7
votes
1answer
284 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?
6
votes
3answers
294 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
155 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: ...
8
votes
1answer
550 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
211 views

Rust: 錆 vs 銹 vs 鏽 vs 鏥

In doing some looking around today I found four characters that all mean rust and are all read さび. Is there any distinction that can be made between these characters? 錆 銹 鏽 鏥
8
votes
2answers
319 views

Do people use まい?

I see the ending まい all over the place in the JLPT books and in example phrases but I can't actually think of an example of somebody saying it or writing in an email (from SMS style messages to work ...
2
votes
2answers
146 views

How to say “To familiarise onself with”

I've been trying to figure out how to say something like: "I'd like to familiarise myself with XXX before the meeting so do you have any information that you can pass me before hand." (I.e. I have an ...
8
votes
2answers
924 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, ...
6
votes
2answers
416 views

How do you say “Please tell your wife to get well soon”?

How do you convey that you wish someone's wife (or husband, mother, brother, etc.) to get well soon? I understand that you say お大事に if the person you speaking to directly is the one who is not well. ...
8
votes
1answer
264 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
470 views

Reading 捻る: when is it ねじる or ひねる?

How can I tell whether 捻る is read as ひねる (P. ・ N.C.) or ねじる (P. ・ N.C.)? I assume the answer is "based on which verb is appropriate", so I've been trying to learn the difference between them. Based ...
2
votes
2answers
253 views

生け花をします does it mean to practice flower arranging?

In my Minna no Nihongo book (Chapter 12), it says that 生け花をします means to practice flower arrangement. If that is so, they how do you expressing, "flower arranging or arranging the flowers or doing ...
6
votes
2answers
278 views

Expressing ethnicity that is different from nationality

How do you go about expressing ethnicity that is different from your nationality. I happen to be of British decent from Canada (now living in Japan): イギリス系のカナダ人です。 That's my best guess. Any ...
7
votes
1answer
124 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)
10
votes
2answers
419 views

What is the difference in usage between a plural using (a) the kanji repetition character 々, (b) a plural using -たち, and (c) the singular?

I know that there are some noun that are made plural by the kanji repetition character, such as 人々 and 国々. My question is, how does this differ from using the non-plural form of the noun? And how does ...
6
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the difference between 口元 and 口?

When talking about the body part (not, for example, entrances/exits), what is the difference between these two words. Based on looking at these two pages (for 口 and 口元) I'm guessing that the ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

what's the difference between にさせる vs にする(幸せにさせる vs 幸せにする)?

what's the difference when we say 幸せにさせる compared to 幸せにする ?? I'm now confused between using させる and にする。 Can anyone please provide an in-depth explanation please? Thanks
4
votes
1answer
334 views

Difference between だけで and でだけ?

The だけ meaning "only", and で being the "at/in" particle. When saying "only in/at", does the で come before, or after the だけ? What does it mean, if anything, when it's reversed? Example: "You can only ...
6
votes
2answers
434 views

What's the difference between 上る、登る and 昇る?

According to jisho.org, they all have the same meanings, to climb, to rise, to ascend. Is that true? And do they have differences in usage?
5
votes
3answers
248 views

Why use 数年 in あれから10数年?

My question is on 「あれから10数年」. My understanding is that this translates to roughly, "It's been 10 years since then." The dictionary says「数年」 means "several years" or "a number of years". How does ...
6
votes
1answer
159 views

Is there any difference between 大の好物 and 大好物?

This might seem like a ridiculous question, but I heard from a native that there is an emphasis when using 「大の好物」 instead of 「大好物」. Is this true? If this is so, why would 「大+の」 indicate more ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

When is it appropriate to use お宅 to refer to the second-person?

An answer to "What is the most natural way to refer to someone when you don't know their name and don't have a close relationship with them?" suggests that お宅 may be used to refer to the second ...
3
votes
1answer
573 views

Why do we use 楽しめそう and 楽しみ rather than 楽しい・楽しそう in these sentences?

Could someone explain why we use 楽しめそう instead of 楽しそう in the first sentence and what exactly 楽しみ means and why? (The translations are my best guess at what the sentences might mean.) ...
6
votes
1answer
168 views

What's the difference between いつだって and いつでも?

Pretty simple, like the title says, what's the difference between いつだって and いつでも? I can tell there's a little difference, but it's so very difficult for me to pin down.
8
votes
1answer
84 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
2answers
410 views

けど vs. が for “but” conjuction

This question covers the difference between でも and けど for "but", the difference being that でも can be used at the beginning of a sentence. But けど and が are used in very much the same way, ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

Difference between 一段 imperatives ~よ・~ろ

一段 verbs may be conjugated to form imperative forms of ~よ or ~ろ. For example: 見る forms either 見よ or 見ろ 食べる forms either 食べよ or 食べろ How did the two forms come about? What is the difference in ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

What's the difference between 申し出 and 提案?

In the Kanzen Master N2 listening textbook, there's a table of phrases to be aware of, and it includes both 申{もう}し出{で} and 提案{ていあん} in the "function" part of the table: 提案: 〜たらどう? こっちの色にしたらどう? ...
9
votes
3answers
382 views

Difference between (遊び)方 and (遊ぶ)方法

I'm struggling to understand the difference between the verb suffix ~方【かた】 and the noun 方法【ほうほう】. As an example, the difference between 遊び方 (which seems to mean something like "manner in which someone ...
3
votes
1answer
270 views

Difference between 切る and 切れる?

This question is prompted by the earlier question on the use of 書ける. Initially I thought the answer might explain the difference between these two (eg 彼は頭がよく切れる| he is (very) sharp) but in most cases, ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

referring to children: 子, 子供, or お子さん?

This is an issue that came up with my host family quite often. I have never been quite clear on which to use. In particular, 子 seems somewhat rude (much to the same effect as 男 or 女). On the other ...
7
votes
1answer
237 views

What is going on with 書けている? What is Potential Form+ている?

I'm having difficulty in understanding 書けている (initially observed from an answer to "パソコンが 得意だ/わかる/上手だ"). Also observed from SPACEALC: この小説は上手に書けている。 最もよく書けている記事。 ...
6
votes
1answer
266 views

How to describe the inside of one's mind?

On one page in my book, I came across 3 different phrases for, what seems to me, subtly different ways of saying the same thing. The first was: 頭の隅に Then: 脳裏に The information I was able to find ...
3
votes
1answer
580 views

How to write “Ikigai”

I'd like to use Ikigai ("something one lives for;  purpose in life;  raison d'être") for a Calligraphy (ShoDo) work. According to Tangorin there are three possible ways to write this: 生き甲斐 生きがい ...