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 '14 at 20:02
  • There's a sentence in my book which reads: Heya no sumi ni ookii hon-dana ga arimasu. – Saurabh Oct 10 '14 at 20:07
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    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 '14 at 20:10
  • Oh.. You are right, I was mistaken. It means corner. – Saurabh Oct 10 '14 at 20:14

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". – Yuuichi Tam Oct 10 '14 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 '14 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 – Yuuichi Tam Oct 11 '14 at 1:50

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