7

On Lang-8, for 'early birthday present' I used

早い誕生日プレゼント

but this was corrected to

早めの誕生日プレゼント

What's the difference between 早い and 早め?

4

早い is "early" in a time sense, and as an adjective. That is to say:

早く起きる Wake up early

早い時間 Early hours (there's probably a better translation than this somewhere)

早め is "earlier" in the sense of an adverb to describe something else (technically 早く is an adverb, but it's not used the same way). Compare it to the verb 早める, meaning "to advance" (in time), or make earlier.

早めに支払いをする Pay off early

早めの昼ごはん Early lunch

早めにプレゼントをあげる Give a present early

This last one changed to 早めのプレゼント, which gives us the sentence you gave at the start.

  • I'd never considered the temporal vs. ahead-of-time split that 'early' rolls into one. Thanks! – Bernard Aug 5 '15 at 12:20

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