使い分け. 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)

7
votes
2answers
457 views

What's the difference between “巻寿司” (makizushi), “海苔巻き” (norimaki), and “巻物” (makimono)?

It seems there are three words for the same Japanese food item, a kind of "sushi in a long roll": "巻寿司" (makizushi) "海苔巻き" (norimaki) "巻物" (makimono) Are they all identical / synonyms? Do they ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

森 vs 林 for forest

According to A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, 森 (38) is woods and 林 (75) is forest. But some material I've found online related to Japan seems to indicate 森 is the more correct Japanese ...
7
votes
2answers
79 views

Difference between ビーフ and 牛肉

Is there a difference on how these two words should be used? I see 牛肉 used a lot more than ビーフ, but I'm wondering if there is a certain context for each of the two words.
7
votes
3answers
153 views

What is the difference between 殺{さつ}人{じん} and 殺{さつ}害{がい}?

What is the difference between 殺人 and 殺害? As I know, both of them mean "killing". I found the words in these sentences: 秋田運転手刺殺事件、男を逮捕 強盗殺人容疑で。 金品を奪い取る目的で殺害した疑い。
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What is “Almost” in Japanese

I have never actually seen the words for almost used in Japanese. Below are the various translations for "Almost" that I came accross: 「大方」 「粗」 「九分」 「殆」 「もう少しで」 Could you ...
7
votes
1answer
360 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
854 views

When trying to convey 'apparently', when do you use, だそう, and when do you use そう?

I have seen both だそう and そう written at the end of a sentence to convey "apparently". Do you use だそう when trying to convey "according to" (によると)?
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How to ask person to guess for something during conversation?

I was conversing with my Japanese colleague: Me: Do you know how much a melon costs in my home country? Colleague: I do not know. Me: Take a guess. I asked him how to say take a ...
7
votes
2answers
696 views

Concretely, on what scenarios should I say either お世話になっています or いつもお世話になっております?

Furthermore, what is its different in meaning between the both? When I was in training as a fresh graduate at a Japanese company, they told me to use いつもお世話になっております all the time and so I did. But ...
7
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the difference between 「進行」 and 「進歩」?

What is the difference between 「進行」and「進歩」? In what situations are they used ?
7
votes
2answers
193 views

自分 and 自身, what's the difference

I am having some trouble telling the difference between the two. Don't they both mean "myself"? And so does 私自身, right? I don't get the difference, when you would you use any of them and how to ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

Difference between 俺物語 and 俺の物語

There is an anime/manga called 俺物語!! which is translated as "My Story!!" or "My Love Story!!" depending on which site you visit. The way I have learned it, it should be "俺の物語" to be "my story" ...
7
votes
2answers
162 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
245 views

What's the difference between じき and すぐ?

すぐ, and especially 今すぐ, is my habitual way to express "soon", or "right after this". I know that じき means more or less the same thing, and when I hear it or see it written, I get the general meaning ...
7
votes
2answers
371 views

Which particle to use with 出会う {であう} : と, に or が?

From Google searches, I can see that all three particles と, に and が are used with 出会う, but are there differences when using each of the particles or are they interchangeable? For ease of explanation, ...
7
votes
1answer
596 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?
7
votes
1answer
287 views

What is the origin of, and how do I parse 絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき}?

絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき} is a slang term that refers to the visible bare skin from the bottom of a woman's skirt to the top of her thigh high stockings. Or, short pants and thigh high boots... pick your ...
7
votes
2answers
645 views

Can そばかす be used to describe a pattern on dog face?

Are these 斑{ぶち} or そばかす? Are freckles (そばかす) in Japanese limited to human? Would it be a mistake to describe a pattern on dog's face as そばかす?
7
votes
2answers
359 views

Is “義理” the proper term in this case?

I have trained for 25 years with a local (European) Aikido master, but now I have to move, albeit temporarily, to another town, and I would like to give a gift to my teacher to represent the "debt" I ...
7
votes
1answer
279 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
366 views

What's the difference between 心, 念, and 意?

I can say that after much research on this, I'm more thoroughly confused than before I started. I'm talking mostly about when they are used as suffixes, but the concept applies when they stand alone, ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
328 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
7
votes
2answers
179 views

Difference between 苗字 and 家名?

To put it simply, is there any inherent difference between 苗字 and 家名 ? Since both of these words means "Surname" or "Last Name". Does there a differ in how they are used? Does 苗字 refer to the ...
7
votes
2answers
165 views

When do I use all the words meaning “song”?

There's 歌, 曲, 歌曲, 唄, etc. I was about to give a few example contexts, but in English there really doesn't seem to be more than one way in which we refer to a 'song'. I do see different words being ...
7
votes
1answer
810 views

How impolite is it to call a waitress お姉{ねえ}さん?

Were I in a situation where I want to get the attention of a waitress in a noisy restaurant, I kind of feel like calling-out: "お姉{ねえ}さん、すみませんが、ビールもう一本お願いできますか?". I think that I've seen this done in a ...
7
votes
1answer
213 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
319 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。 ...
7
votes
2answers
247 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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
4k 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.
7
votes
1answer
89 views

Difference between 土日 and 週末

Well just as the title indicates, I've heard in a game the word "土日" used and translated as "weekend", and wanting to learn the word since I realized I didn't know it yet, I checked on Jisho, but the ...
7
votes
2answers
365 views

ゆく used in auxiliary sense - instead of いく?

I'm reading a novel 「キッチン」by 吉本ばなな at the moment and I noticed that she uses ゆく in some places as an auxiliary verb to signify the action progression from here or from now (if my understanding is ...
7
votes
1answer
888 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
763 views

Difference between 家内、嫁、妻、奥さん、かみさん and other words meaning wife

I have seen and heard all these words being used before all to mean wife, but what is the differences between them? I know some, such as 家内, can only be used for your own wife, but which are which? ...
7
votes
1answer
765 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
298 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
1k views

〜ものだから 〜もの What are the differences?

What is the connotation when using 〜ものだから and 〜もの in a sentence? In my text, they state these examples: The first set is 〜ものだから: 上着を脱いでもいいですか。 暑いものですから。 Can I take my jacket off? I'm feeling ...
7
votes
1answer
314 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
771 views

The meaning, usage and cultural significance of the word [苦]{く}[笑]{しょう}

I've looked in many dictionaries, but I can't fully grasp how the word [苦]{く}[笑]{しょう} is used. I've seen it in dictionaries as being a kind of "embarrassed laugh". It appears to be used to deprecate ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

Does it make sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら?

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら. When I googled for that conjugation there were very few results, but since there were results, I wonder if people actually ...
7
votes
2answers
357 views

Polite Way of Saying “I can't…(answer the phone)” (しかねる vs. できない)

I'd like to ask about a polite way to say "I can't (do something for you)". I'm sure the answer will depend on the context, so specifically, I'm curious about how to convey "I won't be able to answer ...
7
votes
1answer
136 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
4k views

What is the difference between お元気に、お元気で、気をつけて? [duplicate]

I want to say hello to a friend I haven't seen for a long time, and end my message with "take care". All of お元気{げんき}に, お元気{げんき}で and 気{き}をつけて mean "take care", so which one suits my case? How should I ...
6
votes
4answers
72k views

Konnichiwa and Konbanwa

What is the difference between Konnichiwa and Konbanwa? Is it appropriate to use either one in everyday conversations?
6
votes
3answers
838 views

How to say that you “learned a lot” by doing something

I was wondering if there is a simple way to say that "I learned a lot" by doing something, e.g. "I learned a lot about how to work well on a team in my first job". I know that there are the words 習う ...
6
votes
2answers
914 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between んじゃない and んだ?

I came across the following sentence: 「…あの犯行予告、俺がやったんじゃないんだけどな。」 I also have English subtitles which translate this phrase as: "I wasn't the one who issued that threat, but no matter." What's the ...