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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816 views

Choosing the right prefix of the ko-so-a-do series

When talking to native speakers, I find that I'm often corrected for picking the wrong prefix when using words from the ko-so-a-do series (as in これ、そちら、あそこ、どんな、etc). My confusion mainly involves ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How to ask for a refund?

I want to ask for a refund? For example, if I want to refund a train ticket. How do I ask the train master? I think it is not a 返品。 Do you need certain politeness?
8
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1answer
557 views

What's the difference between 腹切り and 切腹?

I need to add a body to submit my question, so I'll just say the Mortal Kombat seemed to believe that the term 腹切り (はらきり harakiri) was more appropriate for self slaughter (i.e., throwing a boomerang ...
8
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1answer
706 views

Why is this 理由 【りゆう】 given the furigana わけ?

It might be hard to read because of the image resolution, but on the cover of this book, on the bottom left side, it says: へんな日本語にも理由がある。 Which means something like: "Even strange Japanese ...
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1answer
448 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 ...
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4answers
193 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 ...
8
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1answer
178 views

Differences and similarities between 係 and 担当

I have some questions about the difference between 係 and 担当. Do these words have the same meaning? Basically, can they be used interchangeably as "the person/group in charge of something"? I know ...
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1answer
2k views

Differences between いよいよ / やっと / ようやく / ついに and とうとう

I've come across these words which can all mean "finally". What I'd like to know is how they differ in usage [nuance and formality]. Below are their respective entries in the 研究社 新和英大辞典 第5版. いよいよ 1 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
244 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 ...
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1answer
554 views

What's the difference in usage between に対して and にとって?

I often used に対して when speaking, and have noticed にとって as the favorite expression of the author who's book I'm now reading. What's the difference in usage? Are there any other similar expressions I ...
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2answers
442 views

Difference between ~ざる and ~ぬ

A sentence from 五輪書: おのづから道の器用有りて、天理をはなれざる故か。 I found a question about ~ざる and ~ぬ on 知恵袋. The only answer claims that ~ぬ and ~ざる are both the 連体形 of ~ず and ~ざる is a "complementary" conjugation, ...
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1answer
305 views

What's the difference between 食品 and 食料

I can't quite figure out the differences between these two. I would guess that 食料 is only used in situations, where the only thing that matters is that the food is there or not there (As in, searching ...
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2answers
1k 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?
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1answer
860 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?
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1answer
240 views

When to use 種別 and when to use 区分 when programming

I am having trouble when naming a variable, deciding if I should use ABC種別 or ABC区分. I have been reading a lot of software specifications and the Japanese description usually uses 種別 and 区分 to specify ...
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2answers
294 views

「〜したことがある」 vs 「〜したことがあった」

One of the first patterns a learner of the Japanese language will come across is: 〜したことがある (I) have 〜 before. わたしは中国を3回訪れたことがあります I have visited China three times before. However, ...
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1answer
132 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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1answer
162 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 ...
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2answers
182 views

Which is better for a sales budget: 予算, 推計, or something I haven't even thought of yet?

I'm writing a short (3-5 page) business plan in Japanese. I'd like to include an "estimate" of the sales for the next 3 years. The question: what would you choose for the graph titled: 2012 ...
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2answers
2k 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
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1answer
1k views

How did the verb 掛ける come to have many meanings?

I think that this verb is the only one I've seen in Japanese that has so many definitions. とる and つく have multiple definitions as well (quite a bit IIRC). But not as much as 掛ける. In any case, I am ...
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2answers
339 views

neighbor, but on which side?

I am a beginner in Japanese and so far, I've met two words for "neighbor": 隣人 (りんじん) and となり, as in となりのトトロ :) In Danish, there are different words for neighbor, depending on the location of his/her ...
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1answer
163 views

On 「夢だけど、夢じゃなかった」 from 「となりのトトロ」

In 「となりのトトロ」, the two heroines (kind of) had a dream in which, with the help from Totoro, they made the seeds they had just put in the ground grow into a big tree. Having woken up, they found there ...
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1answer
110 views

Using 〜になる instead of です?

I've been trying to figure out why a native speaker told me to use 〜になる instead of です here. My original sentence: 日本語のテレビ番組を見るのは良い練習です。 Corrected sentence: 日本語のテレビ番組を見るのは良い練習になります。 I've asked them ...
8
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1answer
98 views

How to tell whether a building is マンション or アパート

Given a building, how to classify it as マンション or アパート? Non-subjective set of criteria preferred. In particular, if there is any legal definition of these terms that would be the best. I used to ...
8
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1answer
268 views

Usage and nuance of あまりに vs あまりにも

WWWJDIC lists both あまりに and あまりにも to mean "too much; excessively; too" but are they exactly the same in term of usage and nuance? あまりに 《余りに》 (adv) (uk) too much; excessively; too Ex: ...
8
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2answers
294 views

Difference between 「~のない~」 and 「~がない~」?

For example, plugging these into Google, I can find stuff like, 自信のない人 and 自信がない人. Or, 愛のない生活 and 愛がない生活. I found a movie called 顔のないスパイ. How is this any different from 顔がないスパイ? I've asked ...
8
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0answers
292 views

Thoughts about event frequencies and “often enough”

I'm having trouble expressing the concept of "not often enough". The most basic way to say "often" is よく, but I think there's a problem in putting qualifiers on this word. For instance, expressing ...
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votes
4answers
833 views

What's the difference between 水 and 湯

I start by saying that I'm a beginner in Japanese and maybe my question will seem obvious to you. I've been told by Japanese people that there's a difference between 水 and 湯. I understand that 湯 ...
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4answers
650 views

What went wrong when I asked for a 衡器{こうき}?

I was in Bikku Camera earlier today, and I wanted to buy a small kitchen scale for measuring small amounts of food. I looked up the word "scale" in the dictionary, and it said 衡器{こうき}. So I found a ...
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3answers
510 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

The meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって

What is the meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって? Space ALC defines ~を中心に as "with a focus on" and ~をめぐって as "centering on", but I'm having trouble figuring out the meaning and ...
7
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2answers
261 views

たたく versus ぶつ in a JLPT question

In my JLPT practise book, there is a section demonstrating the difference between なぐる, たたく, 打{う}つ, and ぶつ. If I understand them, they are all variants of "hit", with subtle nuances to differentiate ...
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2answers
134 views

What is the difference between 石{いし}、岩{いわ} and 岩石{がんせき}?

I'm just a beginner. I think all of them meaning the same, rock. Can anyone explain it for me?
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4answers
1k views

Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
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2answers
301 views

Difference between 簡単{かんたん} and 易しい{やさしい}

I only know that both mean "easy". But when would I use 簡単{かんたん} or 易しい{やさしい} respectively?
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2answers
272 views

What is the difference between 乗り場 and バス停?

I've seen them both with the meaning of 'Bus Stop.' Could someone please explain how they're different? Thank you in advance!
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2answers
385 views

Why is 領土{りょうど} more suitable than 領域{りょういき} in this JLPT practise question?

In my JLPT practise book, there is this question: その国王{こくおう}は戦{たたか}いに負{ま}け____の一部{いちぶ}を失{うしな}ってしまった。 Which I roughly translate as, "The kingdom lost a part of its __ in the battle." The ...
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3answers
623 views

What is the difference between がる and ぎみ?

In one of my study flashcards, I have this sentence: 疲{つか}れぎみだけど生{い}きてます。 Which should translate to something like, "[He] appears worn out but [he's] still kicking." The main point is that in ...
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1answer
513 views

Difference between 授業を受ける and 授業を取る

I've seen both: 授業を受ける 授業を取る Meaning: "Take a class" Is there a difference in usage, nuance, or meaning? For example, if I want to write: He/she will probably take the beginner's ...
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2answers
426 views

What would be the most apt word in kanji, for “Animal world”?

Okay, that may sound a little confusing, and no, not looking for the name of a zoo or theme park here XD Essentially, simply put, I'm writing a novel, and for that, building a world around it. Yes, ...
7
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1answer
388 views

Usage of the suffixes 流, 風, 式, 的 and 様

If I was to put the suffixes 流{りゅう}, 風{ふう}, 的{てき}, 式{しき} and 様{よう} on the end of a noun etc, what would be the difference between them? I could be wrong, but the following all seem to me to mean ...
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2answers
348 views

“なし” used for both animate and inanimate things?

I was so surprised to read: 孝行をしたい時分に親はなし。 (paraphrase) When one finally wants to truly fulfill the obligation to his/her parents, they often have already passed away. (note): I would have ...
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2answers
159 views

What's the difference between 業績 and 実績

I'm finding it difficult to find a pattern in the usages of these two. When should I use 業績 over 実績 ?
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2answers
363 views

What to reply when the ladies sweeping the steps outside a temple tell you 「ご苦労様」?

I was at a temple the other day, and as I was leaving and going down the stairs, the ladies that were cleaning the steps said to me 「ご苦労様」. I replied with 「ありがとうございます、おつかれさま」, but I felt sort of ...
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4answers
1k views

Is this a proper use of tara and toki for “when”?

Consider: 気がついたら皆さんは寝ていた。 気がついたとき皆さんは寝ていた。 My English interpretation: When I woke up (came to), everyone was sleeping. Is "when" enough to capture the nuances of the Japanese sentences? ...
7
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3answers
132 views

difference between 打ち合わせ and 会議 and ミーティング

What's the difference between 打ち合わせ and 会議 and ミーティング? To me it seems that 会議 may be more formal, but I'm not entirely sure.
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2answers
174 views

Most appropriate word for 'antonym' – 対義語 or 反対語?

I just created an antonyms tag on our site. We usually make tag names in English, and then put the Japanese equivalent in the tag description, but I'm not sure which Japanese word to use. Wikipedia ...
7
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1answer
2k views

よると or よれば? Which one is “according to”?

I read some of your post (very very helpful!) and I was wondering if you could write a post about the difference between よると and よれば. Which one is used to mean "according to"?