Since both (oku and naka) mean 'inside', I am confused as to in which contexts they will be used.

  • How did you find out that all of these mean "inside"? I can't think of an example where すみ would mean "inside".
    – Earthliŋ
    Oct 10, 2014 at 20:02
  • There's a sentence in my book which reads: Heya no sumi ni ookii hon-dana ga arimasu. Oct 10, 2014 at 20:07
  • 1
    Aha, but here "heya no sumi" doesn't mean "inside the room". Why don't you look up "sumi" in a dictionary?
    – Earthliŋ
    Oct 10, 2014 at 20:10
  • Oh.. You are right, I was mistaken. It means corner. Oct 10, 2014 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


means "inside" or "center" in general.

means "inner(most) part". It has more of "hidden" or "deep" feeling to it.

(Before the topic was edited) means "inside corner" (as opposed to outside corner).

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    I think 中 doesn't mean "center" but 中央 or 真ん中 means " center". Oct 10, 2014 at 23:04
  • @YuuichiTam: 大辞泉 gives 10 meaning for なか, the first equates to "inside", the second is: 中央。まんなか。「込み合いますから—へお詰め下さい」
    – Tim
    Oct 11, 2014 at 1:15
  • I think the meaning of 中 as "center" is little used but as " inside" is usually used. Your example of 中 means "inside". If you want to say the center, you use 中央 or 真ん中 Oct 11, 2014 at 1:50

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