# Difference between 十分 and 十二分

Is there a clear difference between the meanings of 十分 and 十二分? I rarely have ever seen the second one. When should the second one be used and in what context?

EDIT: To avoid confusion, I'm talking about when used in the context of "enough" or "sufficient". Also, why is it that 十分 meaning "10 minutes" is also used to mean "enough"?

• Presumably you're asking about the じゅうぶん and じゅうにぶん variants meaning something like "enough", "full", "satisfactory" etc. When I first saw the question I was thinking "10 minutes" vs "12 minutes". Commented May 14, 2012 at 15:46
• Yes, that is what I meant! I changed the post to be more clear. Commented May 14, 2012 at 15:49
• Note that "enough"/"sufficient" can also be written as `充分` (which is also read `じゅうぶん`). I always use this one to avoid confusion. Commented May 14, 2012 at 15:58

## 2 Answers

I will preface this by saying that I am making some assumptions on different readings of the kanji. I never really thought of this term as "ten minutes" when used in the metaphoric sense as "enough," for the obvious reason that the pronunciation is different, but maybe there is an actual correlation that I am unaware of.

"Ten minutes" is pronounced じっぷん or じゅっぷん.

"Satisfactory" or "enough" is pronounced じゅうぶん.

In a counting system based on intervals of ten, the number ten will represent a complete set. 分 can be thought of as "degree," as well as minute (it has many meanings). Thus a "complete degree" of something will be "enough". This expression can be seen as arbitrary in as much as an english speaker will use "100%" as an arbitrary term to mean "giving it one's all," or will say "That girl is a ten" to mean a stunning beauty.

• The explanation about a "complete degree" is helpful and relates to 十分. I'm a little lost on why 二 is part of 十二分 as opposed to some other number. Commented May 14, 2012 at 17:22
• i haven't checked specifically but besides being a larger number=even more, it may relate to chinese numerology. Commented May 14, 2012 at 20:25
• @Chris: I am not sure, but I'd compare it to English 100% and 110%. You can say "I'll give it my 110%", but it sounds weird if you say "I'll give it my 113%". One is an idiom; the other one is a weird random number. Commented May 17, 2012 at 22:15
• @Amadan That's a very interesting thing to learn. Even on a percentage basis, we likely say "120%" in Japanese in such a situation, so there could be some deeper origin of metaphor. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 14:24