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思い付く and 思い浮かぶ are compound verbs (複合動詞;ふくごうどうし) - [思う + 付く] and [思う + 浮かぶ]. 思う implies the action that the doer works his/her mind subjectively and emotionally to image/determine/worry/hope/expect/like or love. Example: 日本の将来を思う。"I think of the future of Japan." 問題ないと思う。"There should be no problem." 風邪を引いたんじゃないかと思う。"I might/must be a cold." ...


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思い付く is used to when you deliberately try to come up with something, and succeeded. You can think of it as going through some kind of algorithmic steps to reach the idea. 思い浮かぶ can be still used in the same situation , but it emphasizes the cases where ideas naturally came into your mind. It's more like getting a virtual light bulb above your head. But ...


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As for your last question, please read this question and answer first: Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily? This question is about two-kanji compounds (熟語 in the narrow sense), but the answer there is basically true for many cases involving four kanji or more. In fact, most of the "四字熟語" you encounter, like 火力発電 or 愛国精神, are established set phrases, ...


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What makes something 四字熟語 is not very easy to define. What you are talking really comes down to a concept known as idiomaticity in Linguistics. Having that said, 四字熟語 are generally words used as idioms (i.e. 慣用句). A 慣用句 is an expression that often utilizes more than one unrelated words to mean something completely different. For example, 画竜点睛 means ...



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