Consider the following four verbs:

They all can mean "pursue". What are their differences?

Note: I did read their definitions and tried to catch some nuances by myself, but I am not sure about them. My thoughts was that the first three seem to carry an idea of a chase that requires effort, while the fourth allows an "easy" pursue, such as following a hyperlink on the internet. But even if this guess is correct, the difference between the first three verbs would remain unknown.

3 Answers 3


辿る is closer to "to trace (a road, a wire, etc)" and it does not mean "to chase". 追っかける is just a colloquial variation of 追いかける.

追う and 追いかける are mostly interchangeable. The primary meaning of 追う and 追いかける is "to chase (a car, a dream, etc)" or "to follow (an interesting topic, a person that has gone to another country, etc)". Perhaps the biggest difference is the level of formality. In casual conversations 追いかける is mainly used, while 追う sounds more formal and/or literary. In addition, only 追う means 追い立てる, "to drive (a herd of cattle, like a cowboy)".

EDIT: You may have seen this post, but I'm not really convinced by their explanation. In a drama, a senior police officer might say "(あの車を)追うぞ!" with great urgency and it sounds to me more formal and/or dignified than saying "追いかけるぞ!"

  • What's the difference between おいかける and おいかけまわす? Jun 21, 2022 at 0:11
  • 1
    @Haragurodanshi That まわす adds the sense of "around" or "all over". See the 7th definition here.
    – naruto
    Jun 21, 2022 at 0:18

"追う" is the most general word and means "follow."

"追いかける" means "chase", not just "follow," but "follow and catch up."

"妻と喧嘩した。妻は家を出ていった。私はすぐに追いかけた。" "I had a quarrel with my wife, and she went out our house. I immediately chased my wife to catch up to her."

"追っかける" is rather casual. If you are a police officer, you should use the term "追いかける" not "追っかける." If you are a teenager, and chase your friend, you can use the term "追っかける."

"辿る": Suppose there are several points, P1, P2, P3, P4, P5 in a sequential order. When you follow the points from P1 to P5 in order to get P5. Your behavior can be described as "辿る."


追う and 追いかける - They have some difference nuances.
追いかける is more urgent than 追う. (So 追いかける can mean chase. )

辿る is not urgent. This can mean 'follow'.

追いかける and 追っかける - They are same, but 追いかける is more formal.

  • 1
    「imperious」なんて、僕には聞いたことのない言葉です。「urgent」または比較級の「more urgent」のほうはどうでしょうか?
    – oals
    Dec 31, 2016 at 8:46
  • @oals 教えて下さり、ありがとうございました。直しときますね。
    – ra1ned
    Dec 31, 2016 at 9:00

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