While I've only seen 結論 used in expressions like "Which conclusion do you arrive at?", I've seen both 断定 and 結論 used when saying "Don't draw a hasty conclusion".

What are the differences between the two, and when is one more appropriate than the other?

1 Answer 1


Remember that 断つ means "to cut [off]", which carries the connotation of "put an end to", i.e. discussions or other progressing concepts.

A related word is 断言 which means, more or less, "the final word", or "an authoritative answer". Often used in a negative context when searching for a tactful dodge: 「断言できないね」.

So 断定 is then "to set with finality", while 結論 can be "to tie together theory/discussion".

In general it's a good rule of thumb at least with 漢語 to ask first what the characters are saying, and then try to connect that to the meaning.

  • 2
    断言 almost always means the action of asserting some fact with absolute certainty, not the content of assertion (as your translations “the final word” and “an authoritative answer” suggest). Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 17:11
  • I agree, but as far as I know in English, the specification of nuance is typically held by an adjective rather than an adverb, so I had to make a choice. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 23:24
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    I am not sure if you understood my comment. It is not about nuance. 断言 is an action. “The final word” or “an authoritative answer” is not an action but the result of the action. They are in different categories. Commented Nov 3, 2013 at 9:57
  • Again, I agree that in Japanese that is very true. If you would like me to edit/would like to edit my answer for clarity/submit your own, I would be delighted. The grammatical role played by each word in the translation, however, is by no means required to maintain that parity, especially because the difference between "to conclude/the conclusion" and "to give the final word/the final word" is one, I would argue, of nuance in English, whose rules govern my informal explanation. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:03
  • Incidentally, aren't there non-Western systems of linguistics with different parts of speech? It seems to me that "noun", "verb", "adverb", etc. are extremely poor categories to attempt to analyze Japanese with, and it shows in JPN-ENG dictionaries. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:05

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