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I'm trying to understand the usage of 二つ下 in the following sentence.

シンちゃんは私の二つ下のいとこです

When I read it without 下 it sounds like:

Shin-chan is my second cousin or something along those lines.

The issues is I don't understand the usage of 二つ let alone 二つ下 in this sentence.

Wouldn't it usually be written as シンちゃんの私のはとこです

I'm a bit confused here.

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  • Some of those were intentionally typed. はとこ is a word for second cousin.
    – Leebo
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 4:12
  • Oops. Uh, not sure which is suppose to be which, I’ll just undo my edit. Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 4:16
  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/26225/9831
    – chocolate
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 0:02

1 Answer 1

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In 明鏡’s definition for 下:

❺ 地位・能力・程度・年齢などが劣っていること。また、その人。 「3歳下の弟」

Namely, 下 can refer to the fact that someone’s position, ability, level, or age is lower. In your case it’s age.

In the example it uses 歳 instead of つ for the counter, but つ (as well as 個) work for age just fine, albeit slightly informal.

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  • 1
    I can see my mistake now, this sentence was just meant to be read as: My cousin Shin-chan is two years younger than me. ありがとうございますダリウス先生! Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 4:17
  • How is 下 pronounced on this context? Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 8:50
  • 1
    @user3856370 した Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 14:36

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