They all translate to the same thing: business, enterprise, etc. Most sentences I've found online seem to use them interchangeably (at least, as far as I can tell), and they are all very common words. An entry for any of the given words in a monolingual dictionary uses one of the other two in the definition, which is really annoying.

So what is the difference between 事業, 企業, and 会社?

  • There are probably others that I'm forgetting, so if you think of any other words that mean nearly the same thing as these please include them as well. – Blavius Sep 17 '15 at 3:06

In my understanding

  • 事業 is more like a specific job that a person does for a company or the specific task or service that a company can perform.
  • 企業 can be more specifically translated as "enterprise"... like "Enterprise Technology and Services". You wouldn't say "the 企業 that I work at".
  • 会社 is the general term for a business or your place of work. "My company". ie: 株式会社 = a corporation.

職場 (workplace) or 仕事 (job) can be used in place of 会社 in certain situations like:

  • He's still at work. まだ会社(職場)に居ます。
  • He quit his job. 会社(仕事)を辞めた。

法人 can also mean "Enterprise" or "Business" similarly to 企業 but is usually used to differentiate between a service or rule that applies to companies rather than individuals (個人)

I'll try to add more 類語 as I think of them.

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