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真ん中、真ん前、真後ろ、真上、真下、真横 (*)

中, 前, 後ろ, 上, 下, 横 (**)

I think this is an easy question, but I wanna hear your opinions about them.

How different between (*) and (**) when there's a 真 right before?

I've seen a lot of words starting with 真 which're not included above, such as: 真っ白, 真っ赤,...

Is there a common way to understand the usage of 真 generally?

Thank you.

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Let's take the answer from the explanation of this site. Though I remember there was an expert in both Japanese and Chinese. mine would not be a far away from his.

I assume questions in your question .... etc are equivalent with the the meanings of the below from the above site.

For 真ん中、真ん前、真後ろ...

ウ:「正確・中央などの意味」(例:真正面{ましょうめん}、真夜中{まよなかまよなか})

ウ: 「To denote accuracy, the center」( Ex:Right in front, In the middle of the night )

For 真っ赤、真っ白

(11) エ

エ:「完全な」、「まじりもない」(例:真水、真っ白)

(11) エ 

エ:「perfect」, 「mixed with impurities」( ex : purest water, pure white )

In the case of direction

Please take a look at the below picture which I made with Excel, and please take it as 3 dimensional.

enter image description here

真ん中、真ん前、真後ろ、真上、真下、真横 (*)

These 6 stands for direction.

In English, the below 6 words denote directions as is defined above as ウ. I would like to explain using the above picture.

The "center" is either yourself, or someone else, or something else. The matter is if it is objective ( = yourself ) or subjective ( someone else, itself ( as if you are watching them from outside )), I would like to explain with the former, yourself.

真ん中 

right in the middle of yourself

真ん前

right ahead of yourself

真後ろ

right behind yourself

真上

right above yourself

真下

right beneath yourself

真横

right beside yourself

The matter in concern is if what you see at is at "right ahead, or right beneath" etc. As I marked ×真ん前(まんまえ) or ×真下(ました), they should not be slanted. In the case of yourself, the object you see at 真下(ました) must exist just right straight beneath yourself. ( even 1 or 2 degree adjustment is not allowed ( strictly speaking )) Now, 真ん中、right in the middle of yourself, when what you see at in the middle of yourself ( for example. your belly ), it exists at the same position of yourself.

Example sentence

彼{かれ}が私{わたし}の真ん前{まんまえ}にいる.

He is just right ahead of me.

Here, he, must be right ahead of you. ( even 1 or 2 degree position movement is not allowed ( strictly speaking )). But in reality, there will many cases that he would be at about 10 degree right side from right ahead, so virtually, it it up to how you describe.

中, 前, 後ろ, 上, 下, 横 (**)

They are respectively as I explained above

middle, front, behind(back), above, beneath(below), side ( either left or right unknown )

And,

真っ白, 真っ赤

Pure ( entirely ) white, Pure ( entirely ) red.

from the above definition エ.

Lastly,

Is there a common way to understand the usage of 真 generally?

I don'think so.

Because as I quoted above definitions, they are different. ( But the nuance, both meanings, "accuracy", "pure" have common ( or near ) semantic meanings ( in my opinion )).

| improve this answer | |
  • what do you mean "From the very center"? sr...I can't get that... – SawyerCale Jan 23 '18 at 16:08
  • Were you able to understand? Sorry for the lack of my English vocabulary. – Kentaro Jan 24 '18 at 3:04
  • tks for detail answer...the picture is nice. I got it to my phone. – SawyerCale Feb 4 '18 at 13:57

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