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There are quite a few words related to this. Specifically, 礼儀, エチケット, マナー, 作法, and 行儀. There is a GOO thesaurus page for this, but it is confusing me. The definitions, as I understand them, seem to indicate that マナー and 作法 relate to customs like table manners and such, while 礼儀 and エチケット are related specifically to interacting with people. So far, so good. But then it has a vague statement about the differences between エチケット and 礼儀, and the definition of 行儀 doesn't really separate it as different at all for me, except saying 行儀がいい is common.

Then the examples really confuse me:

  • Xにかなう (○: 礼儀, マナー, 作法 △: エチケット x: 行儀)
  • Xがいい (○: 行儀, マナー x: 礼儀, エチケット, 行儀)
  • X正しい人 (○: 礼儀, x: マナー, 作法, エチケット, 行儀)
  • 人と話すときのX (○: マナー, 作法, エチケット x: 礼儀, 行儀)
  • 食事のX (○: マナー, 作法 x: 礼儀, 行儀, エチケット)

The last of these makes sense what I had read before. And I think 礼儀正しい is a fixed expression. But I don't really understand the rest. Why can't エチケット or 行儀 be used for the last one? I know 行儀 can be used in patterns outside of がいい from other GOO sentences alone like 彼は行儀を知らない. And why do most of them not allow がいい? And for the fourth one, why is マナー and 作法 allowed but not 礼儀, which is supposed to be people oriented?

So yes, please help me understand how to properly use these words.

Edit: I also just encountered 礼法. How does that fit into all of this?

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I think 行儀 is more about the behavior of a particular person, the rest are socially defined rules and can be ordered 礼儀 > 作法, マナー > エチケット in their 'hardness'. (By a hard rule, I mean something to be taken seriously and followed rigorously.)

This should explain the cases for

  • Xにかなう: エチケット is too soft; 行儀 is not a rule.
  • 人と話すときのX: 礼儀 sounds too hard. To me, it is more △ though.
  • 食事のX: 礼儀 is too hard.

Now this might contradict 礼儀正しい (or 礼儀がなっていない), which talks about particular behavior. But this should be considered as a set phrase as you mention. And there is even 行儀正しい. Originally 行儀 seems to have been rules (def 3), but I suppose this meaning is almost lost. Practically 行儀 is almost always used with good or bad like 行儀よくする/お行儀悪い in modern spoken language.

Regarding Xがいい, 行儀 fits naturally because it is a behavior. マナーがいい sounds a bit odd to me and more like △. Anyway this suggests マナー can mean particular behavior sometimes (and I guess 礼儀・作法 also can mean behavior, but more rarely).

礼法 means mostly the same as 礼儀 but something even more strict and sounds very strained. It is used mostly for real rituals.

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  • Was there supposed to be a > after 作法 rather than a comma?
    – MegaZeroX
    Apr 18 at 14:41
  • Also, why isn't エチケット allowed for 食事?
    – MegaZeroX
    Apr 18 at 14:45

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