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

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294 views

What is the difference between 照{て}れる and 照{て}れてる?

According to my dictionary, both 照{て}れる and 照{て}れてる mean to be shy, or be awkward. I don't think one is a different verb form of the other. The て+いる form of 照れる would be 照れている, not 照れてる. So I think ...
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107 views

Difference between 北辰 and 北極星

In Japanese, I found two common translations of the English word "north star/polaris". 北辰 北極星 Could someone tell me the difference between the two? I saw that 北辰 is used for the design on the ...
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135 views

What is the difference between 嫌{きら}う and 嫌{いや}がる?

What is the difference between 嫌{きら}う and 嫌{いや}がる? Are they interchangeable?
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205 views

Is it common to use 火を入れる when referring to a degree to which meat or any steak should be cooked?

I recently asked for a well done steak at a restaurant, while my friend asked for a medium rare. When waiter came back with two steaks, he used 「火をよく入れた方」 to let us know which one is well done. So ...
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234 views

“Full” names of metals

When written as a standalone kanji, the following metals have longer, "full" names (based on their colour): [金]{こがね} → こがね [銀]{しろがね} → しろがね [銅]{あかがね} → あかがね [鉄]{くろがね} → くろがね In my ...
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1answer
244 views

What is the difference between 組, 団, 班, and 群?

These four words all seem to mean "group," but what are the nuanced differences? When can a group be identified with one/some of these but not the others? How much overlap is there between them? ...
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1answer
192 views

What is the difference between using を and と with the verb 言う?

I apologize if this is a basic question, but it's something I've never been entirely clear on. When using the verb 言う (to say), I can never figure out whether to use the particle -と or the particle ...
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146 views

What's the difference between 売店 and 商店

Is 売店 more used for smaller stuff, like a stand? I'm finding it hard to pinpoint the exact difference.
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158 views

How does adding なる make this phrase more “natural”?

Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such: [多分]{たぶん}いいペットでしょうね! I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he ...
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324 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 ...
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218 views

“トムと話した” vs. “トムと話し合った”

This book (Chap. 29) says that for some verbs which can be unilateral or bilateral (like 相談する, 話す, 合う), The particle と implies that the verb is shared 50/50 between the two participants (bilateral), ...
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2answers
361 views

How to translate “from scratch”

I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can ...
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1answer
150 views

もっとも: distinguishing between 尤も and 最も

I found a page in Japanese with title "世界でもっとも汚染された10の都市". Having encountered the phrase 「もっとも」 for the first time, I looked it up on WWWJDIC and found two entries: 尤も 【もっとも】 (adj-na,adv,conj,n) ...
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1answer
283 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?
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1answer
335 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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1answer
82 views

What is the difference between 一旦~ and ~が最後?

I was looking up ~が最後 and saw a comment that it was similar to 一旦~. However there was no further explanation, so now I'm wondering what the difference is? One of the examples of ~が最後 I was looking ...
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1answer
142 views

Difference between なり (meaning 'either.. or…') and か (meaning 'or')

I came across the construction ~なり~なり (meaning either... or...) on JGram and I saw this example: ジュースなりコーラなり、お好きなものをどうぞ juice.. cola.. have whatever you like That made me wonder what the ...
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1answer
131 views

Is 拝見いたしました an example of 二重敬語?

二重敬語 is presumably considered bad style (or simply incorrect). I hear/read 拝見いたしました all the time. Is it an example of 二重敬語? I understood 二重敬語 to be a little more complex than "used a polite form ...
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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. ...
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1answer
182 views

Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?

I noticed that 煙 in the phrase 茶煙永日香{ちゃえんえいじつかんばし} sometimes appears as 烟. For example, here is a teapot with 茶煙永日香 and a scroll with 茶烟永日香. Is there a difference in meaning between 煙 and 烟? 煙 and 烟 ...
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1answer
2k views

Passive vs. active form of verb (past) What is the difference?

I was wondering what the difference is if I use passive form or active form of a verb. For example: ネズミは猫に食べられた。The mouse was eaten by the cat. 猫は、ネズミを食べた。The cat ate the mouse. What EXACTLY is ...
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158 views

Are ~つ and ~り the only two counters that can occur with the native Japanese numbers (ひと~, ふた~, etc)?

Please go easy on me if this seems too basic and obvious, I'm a beginner. I always had the impression that there were counters that went with the native Japanese numbers and counters that went with ...
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110 views

This usage of 方 confuses me

So there's a character in a manga that says this: 空想だけで何でもできちゃう奴を見ちまうと 何にもできねえ方がどんだけ平和だろうと思うぜ Now the 方 in the text has the furigana of ほう. So if I'm not mistaken that means ...
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2answers
234 views

What's the difference between [勝負]{しょうぶ} and [試合]{しあい}

I've seen both refered to as "match". Is there some secondary usage or perhaps a connotation or nuance that separates the two?
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1answer
535 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 ...
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1answer
540 views

Different ways to show intention to do something

How can one say "I am going to", express intention to do something in the future. I know some expressions such as: たいと思う -  I'm going to/ I want to ましょう - I will/ Why don't I ...
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319 views

How do I accurately convey “enough to make a difference”?

I want to say "it's different enough to make a difference," but I'm struggling a bit to get there. Partly because the two uses of "different" in this sentence are doing two different jobs. The first ...
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160 views

How do you talk about things in parts?

I would like to say "It is written half in English and half in Japanese." When writing this myself I came up with: これは半分英語で半分日本語で書いていました。 but I think that 半分英語で半分日本語で does not sound ...
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1answer
301 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? ...
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1answer
233 views

How to differentiate between references in past to mean “last time” or “earlier”

I asked my teacher how to say "last question", to which she responded by "前の質問【しつもん】". However somehow I feel, 前の質問 refers more like "question that was asked earlier". Can anyone please explain how I ...
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1answer
99 views

What is the difference between 包む(つつむ)and 包む(くるむ)?

The verbs つつむ and くるむ and both written 包む, and according to my English-to-Japanese dictionary both have the meaning "to wrap". くるむ is glossed "おおう", while つつむ is glossed "すっぽりと覆う", but I am having ...
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1answer
125 views

Readings of 漏斗:じょうご vs ろうと

Is there any difference in meaning between the words じょうご and ろうと, both meaning something like "funnel", both written with the kanji 漏斗? There's some indication in the answers here that ろうと may be a ...
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1answer
248 views

Difference between すべて and ぜんぶ [duplicate]

Title basically says it all. I think meanings are very close. Are they interchangeable? Are they appropriate for different contexts or situations? Can one be applied to animate objects and other ...
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2answers
395 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
155 views

What's the difference between 赤ん坊 and 赤ちゃん

Are both words interchangeable? Rikai-chan defines them both as "baby, infant". So what would be the difference?
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3answers
244 views

What differences, if any, are there between 婦 and 女?

I came across 婦 from this English-language Wikipedia article. Jisho.org says that 婦 (which contains 女 in it) can mean married woman, but it can mean woman or lady, and it then lists words such as 婦警 ...
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1answer
144 views

What is the Japanese song-metric filler?

In English we have some common sounds that are used to fill spaces in songs like "ah" "la" "nah" "oh" "yea". What do we use for Japanese songs? So far I think I have only heard る used.
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1answer
303 views

Help with には and にとって

I need help understanding why にとって cannot be used in this circumstance: その仕事は私{には/*にとって}出来ない。 ( * denotes unacceptable) This is what I read: にとって cannot be used when it marks an experiencer ...
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208 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. ...
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263 views

What are the different nuances of saying 変{へん}?

I recently came across the term 変{へん}てこ, which, if I understand it, means "strange", but is softer than saying 変{へん}な. Is it similar to 変{へん}なちょこ? I think this also means strange, but also in a ...
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274 views

Does ところ mean the exact same thing as こと in this sentence?

Consider the following sentence: お金じゃないところが好きだから一緒にいるの 【おかね じゃない ところが すき だから いっしょに いるの】 I think it means "I'm with you because of the parts of you that don't have to do with money". I'm ...
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1answer
74 views

What's the difference between 建てる and 築く?

I recently came across the word 築く, meaning "to build", but I already knew a word for it, 建てる. Looking a bit further into it, 築く seems to include the figurative meaning of "build" as well, such as in ...
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2answers
207 views

Use of から vs を with 出て行く?:

Why are we using から and not を in the following sentence?: 出て行く:同居している恋人が家から出て行って、別に住むようになる。 I ask because the normal particle with 出る is を (eg 家を出る) so why do we have から here? My dictionary has ...
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160 views

What is the difference between 要するに and つまり?

I read that 要するに and つまり are not always interchangeable. Still, I don't really understand the difference between the two...
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1answer
220 views

Is 青色をしている different from 青い?

I recently learned 青色をしている as a synonym for 青い, but I don't have a good idea of what the difference is, or even if there's any difference at all. On chat, Flaw suggested the difference might be ...
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1answer
225 views

What does it mean when a sentence ends with しなくもない?

A friend posted this in a comment on Facebook: これは深{ふか}い意味{いみ}があるような気{き}がしなくもない I think I get the general meaning, which is "This seems to have a deep meaning." But I'm fuzzy on the implications ...
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1answer
514 views

Openings and Closings (Salutations and Valedictions) When Writing a Letter/E-mail

This question came to me because I am writing a personal thank-you letter to a friend's family who hosted me in their home over the holidays. What is the proper way to address the entire family? For ...
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2answers
150 views

Nuance of 離{はな}れ

In my JLPT textbook, it has a section on the use of the term 離{はな}れ, "detachment". Some examples: テレビ離{ばな}れ (detachment from television) もの離{ばな}れ (detachment from things) 政治離{ばな}れ ...
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1answer
2k views

Fun with synonyms - “perhaps/maybe/probably”

What are the differences when using the following words/phrases to mean "perhaps", "maybe" or "probably"? 多分 恐らく 蓋し {けだし} もしかして ひょっとして なかろう (negative -> probably not) だろう / でしょう / であろう かも知れない ...
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2answers
196 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?