In my understanding, both 片方の手 and 片手 mean "one hand". What is the difference and how to use them correctly?

  • 片手 is more often use as "with one hand", whereas 片方の手 use "comparison with the other hand".
    – Maki
    May 31, 2016 at 7:22
  • 1
    When someone talks of their "片方の手", my thoughts turn to their "もう片方(一方)の手". Not so with "片手".
    – goldbrick
    May 31, 2016 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


Here are the first 10 hits for 片方の手 in BCCWJ Corpus:

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As you can see, and as goldhick "answered" as a comment, 片方の手 tends to be used when it is contrasted with the other hand. (ie, "One hand ~, the other hand ~")

片手 is simpler; "one hand", "one-handed", etc. When you say 片手で運転する, what the other hand is doing is not important.

Another example: 岩を片手で持ち上げた simply means someone lifted a rock with one hand. 岩を片方の手で持ち上げた is almost the same, but it may sound like he was doing something else with his remaining hand.


片方の手 would refer to one hand (physically speaking)

片手(で)is used in the sense of doing something with one hand (one wouldn't say 片方の手で自転車乗りました (I rode my bicycle with one hand))


Both 片手 and 片方の手 seem to be sayig the same thing to me, with a little difference of nuance - 片手 just meaning "one hand," and 片方の手 meaning "one of one's hands," implying particular or preferred side of either "right" or "left" hands, usually the dominant hand.

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