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What is the difference between 逃れた and 免れた? They both mean "avoided, escaped". When should I use each of them? I found the sentence in JLPT1 book, where you have to pick the right answer:

橋{はし}本{もと} 選{せん}手{しゅ}の活{かつ}躍{やく}で、なんとかピンチを逃れた

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「橋本選手の活躍で、なんとかピンチを[逃]{のが}れた。」

To me, the key word here is more 「ピンチ」 than the verb following it. Here is why I think so.

The team did actually get into a jam, did it not? It did, but it managed to get out of it thanks to Hashimoto's good play(s). It is not that Hashimoto saved his team from getting into a jam, is it? In that case, 「逃れる」 is the correct verb to use.  You got out of a jam and you are now back on track trying to win the game. 

Had the noun been 「[敗戦]{はいせん} = "defeat"」,「[負]{ま}け」, etc. instead of 「ピンチ」, the correct verb to use would have been 「[免]{まぬが}れる」. Unlike getting into a jam, a loss of a game is a serious matter. If you lose, that is the end. To save yourself from something that serious and "final" is the main meaning of 「免れる」. Something like "getting drafted" by your country would be a good example of a thing that you would want to 免れる from if all possible.

That said, I must admit that many native speakers, myself included, often use the two words interchangeably by mistake.

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From the dictionary 類語例解辞典, which you can access via dictionary.goo.ne.jp

[使い分け]

【1】「逃れる」「免れる」は、「逃げる」にくらべると、やや文章語的。

So the difference seems to be whether it's written or spoken language. Since the なんとか is here it's safe to assume this is spoken language. Hence the using 逃げる instead of 免れる.

It's helpful sometimes with words that are similar to look at the 類語 section of goo. I always find it helpful.

  • Thank you for the eidt blutorange. I'm still getting accustomed to the site and its formatting syntax. – wolf Mar 13 '15 at 22:05
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    Sorry I seem to have misread the 逃れる as 逃げる here. So mark out what I have above (not sure how to do that). And as far as your question goes. It seems like both 免れる and 逃れる have the same meaning according to the goo dictionary. So I can't really tell any determinable difference at this time. Sorry for the horrible answer. Thanks. – wolf Mar 14 '15 at 0:10
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逃れた - run away from 免れた? - avoid

  • Sorry, but I don't understand this answer. Could you spend a few more words explaining what you want to say? – Earthliŋ Mar 19 '15 at 12:08

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