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)

5
votes
1answer
316 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
217 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), ...
5
votes
2answers
352 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
148 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) ...
5
votes
1answer
273 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?
5
votes
1answer
332 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
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. ...
5
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
229 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?
5
votes
1answer
513 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
311 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
283 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
227 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
239 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
381 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?
5
votes
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?
5
votes
1answer
519 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
139 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.
5
votes
1answer
294 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
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. ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
269 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
205 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
122 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
553 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
503 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
194 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
5
votes
1answer
186 views

What does うんたらかんたら mean?

I recently heard this phrase being told in a show, but I just couldn't make sense of what it means...And what really caught my attention was that the listener was really surprised to hear this phrase ...
5
votes
1answer
406 views

を vs が with use against 好き?

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb. and Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? are noted as possible duplicates; however, I ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

Should I use スタート for “start a new game” or something else?

I want to say, "Are you sure you want to start a new game?" (I'm developing a game for Japanese users, and this question is asked when it finishes.) I'm not sure whether スタート is the correct word to ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

The difference between (な形容詞)さ and (な形容詞)性?

I'm in the middle of writing a paper in Japanese, and I can't quite figure out which is right. If I want to nominalize a な形容詞, should I affix さ or 性 at the end? I've been checking on search engines, ...
5
votes
1answer
269 views

What's the difference between 欲{ほっ}する and 欲しがる?

Is there one? One of my dictionaries lists them as 欲{ほっ}する → to desire/to want 欲しがる → to desire/to want/to wish for/to covet Only the latter sounds like it includes more "bad"/selfish ...
4
votes
3answers
702 views

How to say “you may not [verb] here”?

たとえば、おすしを食べてもいいですか? is for "May I eat sushi?". However I know that ちょっと、食べなくてもいいです。Is not the right phrase because that means: "Well, you don't have to eat (that)." So what is the response for ...
4
votes
3answers
309 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
207 views

Rust: 錆 vs 銹 vs 鏽 vs 鏥

In doing some looking around today I found four characters that all mean rust and are all read さび. Is there any distinction that can be made between these characters? 錆 銹 鏽 鏥
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 ...