The differences between two or more words or phrases and how to select the best one for a given situation.

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3answers
204 views

Computer calculation: is there a better word than “オンザフライ” to say “on-the-fly”?

As a valuable feature of my software product, I want to say that results are calculated on-the-fly, meaning the user does not have to wait and receive results by email: results are displayed after two ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

The differences between 真理,真相 and 真実

I've often seen 真理,真相 and 真実 in contexts that to me seem interchangeable. Could some one give examples of where each word is most appropriate? When is one more appropriate than the other? For ...
6
votes
2answers
438 views

How are programming projects discussed in Japanese?

In English, programming projects (and large systematic projects in general) typically take their descriptive cues from well-known manufacturing/construction industry jargon, i.e. "blueprint", ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

Multiple usages of 学習{がくしゅう}

My understanding is that 「学習{がくしゅう}」 is a very interesting word. It has all of the following meanings? (1) 「勉強{べんきょう}」. To study new material. We learn new kanji, vocab, grammar, etc. (2) ...
6
votes
1answer
209 views

Translating volitive expressions in ads into English

I saw this on an advertisement outside the construction site of a company that makes wooden houses: 木{き}の家{いえ}と、暮{く}らそう。 I'm trying to think of a way to translate it other than: Live with a wooden ...
6
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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
6
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1answer
303 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
554 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
599 views

“Your sniffling is driving me crazy!”

There are people in Japan who seem to think nothing of sniffling their nose indefinitely as they sit in a coffee shop, in an office, on a train, or anywhere with other people around. Sometimes ...
6
votes
1answer
907 views

Taking Class, Course, Lecture - Which verb is fit?

I would like to know how we say taking class or course or lecture in japanese. I have heard about 「クラスを受ける」 and 「クラスを取る」. Are there significant difference? And Is there any other verb we can use ...
6
votes
2answers
189 views

Anti-causal/Non-causal relationship

How do I form a sentence of these patterns "X does not arise from Y", "X not due to Y", "X not because of Y", "There are other reasons for X". Since obviously I cannot simply slap ない onto から or ので to ...
6
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
6
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1answer
217 views

Difference between った and ってた

Can someone explain to me the difference between the following forms? 思った 思ってた 思っていた
6
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1answer
146 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 ...
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.
6
votes
1answer
212 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 ...
6
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1answer
160 views

What's the difference between 値段 and 価格

They're both "price", but I don't see the difference. Even the Kanji appear to suggest similar meanings. Thanks for any advice!
6
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1answer
292 views

What is the best word to use to mean “to take long-term a break (i.e. from school)”?

Just to add some context to this question: I graduated with a B.A. last June, and am currently taking a two-year break from education to work off some of the inordinate amount of debt I accumulated in ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it natural to call elderly men ojiisan?

Is ojiisan an idiomatic word choice for a chronologically gifted man, akin to obaasan for elderly women? For example, when giving your seat to them on the train.
6
votes
1answer
157 views

What is the usage of 先 vs. 元?

I think that the both of them mean before, but I have seen that they are sometimes use in parent-child metaphors, but I always get confused with these. Some examples of ○○先、○○元 words would be ...
6
votes
1answer
243 views

How interchangeable are の/である/なる/たる when qualifying nouns?

So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a の. 友達のジョン → My friend John 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare) It seems ...
6
votes
1answer
309 views

“Reason”: [事由]{じゆう} vs. [理由]{りゆう}

What's the difference between 事由 "jiyuu" and 理由 "riyuu"? Both are translated to mean "reason", as in why something happened. I even noticed in Tae Kim's Grammar Guide that both words are listed, and ...
6
votes
1answer
662 views

Difference between the many words for son and daughter

There are three words to refer to somebody else's daughter (According to my dictionary): 娘さん、お嬢さん、令嬢。 There are also three words to refer to somebody else's son: 息子さん、子息、坊ちゃん。 What are the ...
6
votes
2answers
276 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
255 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
6
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1answer
136 views

Are the two kanjis 箇所 and 個所 interchange?

Our customer uses 箇所 but my manager uses 個所 when emailing project status. Are both kanji interchangeable? The context of usage in a sentence is: 一箇所変更しました。 A portion (of the code/software) ...
6
votes
1answer
184 views

How to use 乗{の}り出{だ}す

In my JLPT practise book, there is this question: 子供{こども}のけんかに親{おや}が_____きた。 A 乗{の}り越{こ}えて  B 乗{の}り切{き}って C 乗{の}り出{だ}して  D 踏{ふ}み込{こ}んで I chose D, because it seemed to me that the meaning of ...
6
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1answer
212 views

で終わります: trying to close by? で帰ります, trying to leave by? It depends on the sentence?

I can say 売り場は九時で終わります、 and 三時で帰ります、 which I've learned mean something like, "They'll be trying to close from," and, "I'll be trying to leave from." I've also learned that 2月25日で帰ります is not correct. ...
6
votes
1answer
125 views

Is answering with simple ない grammatically correct, when saying I physically don't possess some object

In Japan I often felt いいえ or 違う is not the best choice, when asked, if I don't carry something with me. Like at the airport security lady asked me, if I there were any forbidden objects in my luggage. ...
6
votes
1answer
288 views

Differences between それとも ・または・もしくは・あるいは

I've been trying to find out the difference between these four lately but whenever I look up any of them in a Japanese Dictionary, the only thing on the page is the other three options with no ...
6
votes
1answer
356 views

“くださいませんか” vs. “いただけませんか”

When I want to make 「それを見せて下さい。」 more formal, I always say 「それを見せて頂けませんか?」. But, I want to double-check this.    I never say 「それを見せて下さいませんか。」. While that seems perfectly fine, I don't think I've ...
6
votes
1answer
120 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?
6
votes
1answer
521 views

Usage of 目を覚ます and 目が覚める

What's the difference between 目を覚ます and 目が覚める? It seems both of them have the sense of literally waking up and also to wake up from some delusion. How are they different in usage? Perhaps because ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

What makes using ある for people okay in this context?

Yep, I'm reading a lot of Tintin in Japanese recently, and he keeps throwing me curve balls with the language. Here's another one. The situation is that the car he was in has been run off the road ...
6
votes
1answer
326 views

と言っても vs とは言え .

Hi all is it true that と言っても and とは言え is the same thing except that と言っても is for spoken clauses whereas と言いえ is for written clauses?
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
274 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
192 views

電話する or 電話をする to form the verb

I'd like to know if there is any difference between 電話する and 電話をする, if they mean the same, or if 電話をする doesn't even exist. I ask this because in an exercise in my book it says to use をする with 電話 to ...
5
votes
3answers
317 views

Does 切った mean to “cut out” or “cut from”?

I was pretty sure that 切{き}った meant something was cut from something else. So ケーキから一人分{ひっとりぶん}を切{き}った would mean, "one piece was cut from the cake." However, I came across a usage which, at least at ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
626 views

Can the qualifiers “very” and “too” be expressed unambiguously in Japanese?

I've noticed that some of my Japanese friends with fluent but imperfect English often say "too adjective" when a native English speaker would say just "very adjective". (I am asking about "too" in ...
5
votes
2answers
438 views

Which verb for “get off” / “leave” the Shuto Expressway?

I'm not sure which way to say something like exit/leave/depart/get off/escape is most appropriate when the thing I want to get off is the system of expressways in Tokyo called the Shuto 首都高. I'm not ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a form for “I have never heard of”?

Some examples of what I'm trying to convey: I have never heard that song before. I have never heard of Miyazawa Kenji I have never heard of that before? I've never heard of that store? ...
5
votes
1answer
360 views

Terms for Royalty

Why are there so many terms for royalty? And I'm talking about generic words like "king", "queen", etc. I seem to remember from my studies that certain terminology was used specifically for Japanese ...
5
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3answers
177 views
5
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1answer
174 views

Does 両目 have a special meaning or is it just a mistake?

Today I found this sentence on my Japanese textbook (みんなの日本語中級I - 本冊 pg. 70) And it didn't make any sense to me. 前から2両目の電車を降りたところで待っています。 I looked for 両目 on 電子辞書 and it says it means both eyes. ...
5
votes
3answers
377 views

What's the difference between [上]{あ}がる and [上]{のぼ}る?

The textbook I'm studying from lists [上]{あ}がる as "to go up", but I've previously learnt that [上]{のぼ}る also means "to go up". Jisho.org only lists "to go up" and any derivations of that as a single ...
5
votes
2answers
175 views

what's the difference between 領域 、範囲 and 分野?

Could anyone explain to me the difference between these 3 words, especially between 範囲 and 領域 ? For example, I have these 練習問題: a.分野  b.領域 c.範囲 ① 試験の……… は、17課までです。  ② 外の大学との交流が進んで研究の……… が広がった。 ③ ...
5
votes
2answers
258 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"?) ...