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
3answers
369 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
248 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
197 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
215 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
251 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
532 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

When is 着ける used in context of clothes? (eg in comparison to 着る, する、履く)

I recently read that: 着る(きる)is used for the wearing clothes for either the upper half of the body (eg 上着)or the whole body in general. 履く(はく)is used for bottom half (eg shoes, socks, ...
15
votes
1answer
300 views

When to read “その後” as “そのご”, “そのあと” or “そののち”?

I've recently been seeing あと as well as ご as Furigana on top of 後 in その後, but is there a difference in usage or meaning between the different readings? Looking at the Yahoo thesaurus, it seems it can ...
12
votes
2answers
473 views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
14
votes
2answers
375 views

Different conventions for animal meat

After reading this awesome question, I got to thinking about different animal meat. Upon researching a little, there seems to be different conventions in referring to different meats. Using 訓読み ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Spotting the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)

I have recently come to the conclusion that the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)is more common than I thought. It is the only explanation I think of to make gramatical sense of the sentences below. ...
6
votes
2answers
324 views

Difference between verb types (verbal nouns, transitive & intransitive: eg 開始, 始める and 始まる)

All three of these words mean "to start", but what's the difference between them and where are they used?
6
votes
1answer
329 views

When are 止める, 停める and 留める read as とめる, やめる or とどめる?

When are 止める, 停める and 留める read as とめる or とどめる (and in the case of 止める, やめる)? I think 止めてください could be read as both やめてください and とめてください, which I think could maybe be translated as "cut it out" and ...
8
votes
1answer
275 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: ...
10
votes
1answer
265 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
250 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
334 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
162 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
229 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
526 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
652 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
604 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
861 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
141 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
967 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
300 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
295 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". ...
7
votes
3answers
522 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
442 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
281 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
104 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
381 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
350 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
342 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
178 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
148 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
263 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
285 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: ...
14
votes
3answers
270 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
629 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
300 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
207 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: ...
9
votes
1answer
172 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
152 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
296 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
322 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
471 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
964 views

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

What is the difference between 気{き}をつけて, お大事{だいじ}に and お元気{げんき}で. How and in which context(s) are they used?
7
votes
1answer
281 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
141 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 ...