Things like 何度も and 何回も are somehow common. In what cases would there be differences between the two? Are they the same differences between the plain 回 and 度? Thanks.

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    You can use 回 and 度 interchangeably most of the time, the only big difference I know is 今度=next time and 今回=this time. – BurakUeda Apr 11 '15 at 6:21
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    I think the でも version has a feeling of perseverance to it: "Despite countless failures she never gave up." Whereas the other feels like the result doesn't change. Keep in mind I can only offer that opinion as a comment. – Louis Waweru Apr 12 '15 at 6:06
  • @BurakUeda 英語でうまく表現できませんが・・・「度」は回数の多さを強調しているというか、繰り返しがより重いものに感じることがあります(何回目 vs 何度目)。 – unarist Apr 12 '15 at 10:17
  • @unarist So there's more stress on simple frequency or count rather than repetition with 度 compared to 回? So something like japanese.stackexchange.com/a/3060/9822 ? Sorry I'm not so good with understanding long Japanese sentences. Still kind of a beginner. – quarks3141 Apr 12 '15 at 10:37
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    @quarks Yes, I thought like that. I think which 回 or 度 prefer is context biased, but...it may not be generally difference of 回 and 度 (and also 何回も/何度も). – unarist Apr 12 '15 at 11:09

While there exists a large amount of interchangeability between 「[回]{かい}」 and 「[度]{ど}」, it is also true that in certain situations, only using one of the two is either "correct" or "preferred" over the other.


General frequency: "X has happened Y times.", "Person X has done something Y times.", etc.

「この[冬]{ふゆ}、4回/度[雪]{ゆき}が[降]{ふ}った。」= "It snowed 4 times this winter."

「その[映画]{えいが}は2回/度[観]{み}ました。」= "I have seen the film twice."

Not Interchangeable:

1) Ordinal numbers.

「[第]{だい}16XYZ[大学日本語弁論大会]{だいがくにほんごべんろんたいかい}」= "The 16th Annual XYZ University Japanese Speech Contest". Using 「度」 here is incorrect.

2) Proverbs and sayings.

「二あることは三ある。」= "What happens twice will happen thrice." Using 「回」 here would be extremely weird.

「三[目]{め}の[正直]{しょうじき}」= "Third time lucky." 「回」 cannot be used.

3) Decimals.

「アメリカ[人]{じん}は[週平均]{しゅうへいきん}8.6ハンバーガーを[食]{た}べる。」= "On average, Americans eat a hamburger 8.6 times a week." 「度」 should not be used with a decimal.

4) Larger numbers.

This is a strong tendency and certainly not a written rule, but we do not use 「度」 much when the number is "large". We would not say 「140度」 or 「3800度」. We would use 「回」 for numbers that large.

(If you used 「140度」 or 「3800度」 out of context, native speakers would think, without a fail, that you were talking about a temperature of something and not a frequency -- "140 degrees Celcius", etc.)

There could be more cases where the two words are not interchangeable, but I will leave it to the experts here.

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  • Is there a generally agreed upon boundary for what is considered "large" in #4? – istrasci Apr 13 '15 at 2:06
  • I think 4 or 5 is where 度 starts to disappear. – Blavius Apr 13 '15 at 23:13
  • Ref to 2) (Proverbs and sayings), one additional useful structure with 度 is 二度と...ない where the "no second time" means "never again". So, you can use it e.g. as "納豆は二度と食べたくない". Also for this idiom, only 度 (not 回) can be used. – Tuomo Jun 9 '19 at 0:28

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