As the title suggests, I'm struggling to understand the rules of using 余裕, ゆとり, and 余地 properly.

There is a GOO thesaurus page, but it confuses me as well. It mentions a distinction between 余裕 and ゆとり in terms of seats, where ゆとり is about the spaciousness of a seat, while 余裕 is about there being some number of seats remaining.

Then, to distinguish between those two and 余地 it indicates that with 余地 there is just enough to suit the needs, but not additional beyond that.

However, I think there are more nuances between these than that, and it shows in the example sentences.

  • All 3 can be used as X in 客を泊めるXはある, which I think I understand. If I understand correctly, ゆとり would refer to physical space, 余裕 would refer to sufficient number of rooms, and 余地 would refer to just enough space/number of rooms for the purpose. Is this interpretation right?
  • 生活にXがある only admits ゆとり and 余裕. Why? Couldn't 余地 be used if it was "just enough?" Also, what is the difference between ゆとり and 余裕 here, since that seat example seems to no longer be relevant.
  • 三階席ならまだXがある only works for 余裕. The fact that ゆとり doesn't work makes sense from the previous explanation. But what about 余地? It worked in the room example from before, so why not here?
  • 弁解のXはない only works for 余地. Why? Is it just some fixed phrase, or is there some logic/reasoning behind this?

1 Answer 1


余裕 and ゆとり may need some efforts to distingush,but 余地 is more easy to distingush with the other two.

余地 mean room to perform action,whenever you use 余地,a sentence have to involve action; But you can use ゆとり and 余裕 without involving a action.


I am not a native Japanese,so I don't has a say in your interpretation




doesn't work for 余地,because this sentence doesn't involve action.you can use 余地 in 客を泊めるXはある,because 泊める is action and purpose.


Xの余地はない means there is no more room for perform action or purpose,as far as I know,only 余地 can be used in this pattern.

自業自得で、同情の余地はない(There is no room for sympathy)
弁解の余地はない(there is no room for pretext)
彼の行動が犯罪であることは証拠により疑う余地がない(no room for suspect)

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