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In the process of learning certain kanji, I found that 去る and 残す both translate to the English word "leave."

I know that 出る is used for the common "leave a place"/"exit" usage, like, 「五分前家を出ていました」. I assume that 去る and 残す have different nuances to them. Is 残す more along the lines of "leave a note" like, 「花の世話するの忘れないでくださいと言うノートを残した」 and 去る more along the lines of "leave" in the context of [forgive the dramatic example] 「人間がきらいだから、この世界を去りたい」? Or do I have them backwards/are they interchangeable/something entirely different?

(大学の四がき日本話の学生から)

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    がき or がっき? Even if it were the latter, 「大学の四がっき日本話の学生」 would still make little sense. Without the small っ, it would make even less sense. – l'électeur May 29 '18 at 1:17
  • Sorry, meant 学期, but didn't know the kanji combo for it. I was trying to say "from a fourth semester college Japanese student" – Philip Neumeister May 29 '18 at 6:50
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This might shock you, but to us native speakers, 「去{さ}る」 and 「残{のこ}す」 have completely different meanings from each other and, for the life of me, I could not think of a situation where the two verbs can be used interchangeably.

The evil, as usual, is the translation and the bilingual dictionary that would tell you that both mean "to leave".

In the only Japanese-speaking country on earth, however,

「去る」 means "to (physically) go away from a place" and

「残す」 means "to leave something/someone behind"

Hope you could see the huge difference here. Since the two are so different in meaning from each other, you could easily use both in a relatively short sentence. Let me borrow your sentence (by correcting its particle mistakes) to illustrate my point:

『花{はな}の世話{せわ}をするのを忘{わす}れないでください』と言うノートを残した。 "Someone left a note saying 'Please don't forget to take care of the flowers!'"

It is also completely natural to say:

『花の世話をするのを忘れないでください』と言うノートを残し(て)去っていった。 "Someone went away, leaving a note saying 'Please don't forget to take care of the flowers!'"

Finally, your other sentence:

「人間{にんげん}がきらいだから、この世界{せかい}を去りたい。」 "I want to leave this world because I hate people."

is valid for using 「去る」. You want to do the ultimate "going away"; You want to kill yourself.

You can never say 「この世界を残したい」 in this context because "this world" is not your belonging in the first place. You can only 残す the things you own, the persons you love, your accomplishments, etc. Oops, I forgot you hated everyone. ☺

  • Haha, I don't actually, it was just a contextual sentence I was trying to think of proper usage for, to actually discuss the topic of suicide within my class [what with the epidemic in Japan]. Thanks for your clarification, and I know I'm rather inept with particles. Though, because the answer had the direct context of suicide, I now wonder, if there were a context of space travel, which term would be acceptable for usage in context of "leaving Earth"? – Philip Neumeister May 29 '18 at 6:47

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