How does one say "it's the principle of the thing", in particular for when giving feedback.

For example, it's not the 1$ over change but the principle of the matter. (as in the one dollar doesn't really matter but the principle of being overcharged is what is at issue).

I took a look at ALC and it gave me 原則{げんそく} and 基礎{きそ} but these don't really seem to fit the definition very well.  

1 Answer 1


主義{しゅぎ} is a principle or rule. I think this would apply to your personal principles or values.

So for the "it is the principle that matters", you could respond:


Since it is my principle.



Since it is the principle that is important.

For a less literal translation, Jisho.org gives the meaning of 物{もの}の道{どう}理{り} as the "principle of the thing". So the most fitting phrase would be:


It is the principle of the thing.

  • 1
    Whoever downvoted, this answer, please add a comment for why
    – paullb
    Dec 16, 2018 at 14:06
  • 2
    + 1 for a well-researched and proper answer. If I may add, in actual conversation I'd translate this to something like、「問題は1ドルの過剰請求ではなく、過剰請求自体がされていることだ」(The problem is not being overcharged by $1, but by being overcharged itself.) Good luck on getting the reason for the downvote though. I myself have experienced it a few times in my short time here. People here sometimes don't give consideration to the time and effort exerted in giving a proper answer. IMO giving a reason for a downvote should be made a rule, as without one, it's very discouraging to give an answer.
    – DXV
    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:23
  • @DXV ah, 自体 also is a really good word for the situation as well! Thanks! (I think it deserves in be in an answer rather than a comment so others can see it in the future)
    – paullb
    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:41
  • Thank you, I wouldn't count on it any time soon. In my experience, this occurs more on the Japanese site than other SE sites. I fear this discourages new contributors which I think has been raised on the meta. Still I try to help where I can.
    – Tom Kelly
    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:51
  • @TomKelly yes I just read the meta. I'm one of those discouraged to answer. Thanks but sorry paullb.
    – DXV
    Dec 17, 2018 at 2:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .