Could you please explain me how could I distinguish the verbs 判断【はんだん】する, 判定【はんてい】する and 決定【けってい】する ? I tend to mix them, but could not find a could explanation of in which situations each of them could be used.

Thank you!


Let me explain the difference I know, but please note that even native speakers sometimes mix them as these verbs are close in meaning.

You know, the basic idea of these words is "to make decision" or "to make judgement." Actually, this can be separated into two (though they might still overlap in some cases). One is "to clarify something we are uncertain of" and the other is "to make a rule, an agreement or a decision."

判定する」 is mainly used for the former and it has the most objective sound among the three. So, when we do 「判定」, criteria for that judgement are likely to exist, in an implicit or explicit manner. Also there often is an answer or a truth to be clarified.

判断する」 can also be used for the former. The main point of this word is that it sounds like "to decide on one's own responsibility." One can still do 「判断」 according to rules, but he should be responsible to that decision. Also, one can do 「判断」 on his own thoughts, of course on his responsibility.

Lastly, 「決定する」 is mainly for the latter. When we do 「決定」, it is unlikely that there is a correct answer, unlike the case of 「判定」.

Some examples:

The computer judges whether the faces are identical.

In this case, 「判定する」 is the most suitable because there is the correct answer of whether the faces are identical or not. 「判断する」 is acceptable but it sounds like the judgement was made on the computer's thought.

Decide the date of the next meeting.

In this case only 「決定する」 is acceptable. If it is modified to:

Judge what time the next meeting should be held.

Then 「判断する」 is the best, because 「次回の会議はいつがいいか」 may have an answer (or best choice). Here 「判定する」 is not suitable because there is no rule to decide this.

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