Questions tagged [expressions]

表現. A set phrase used commonly in the Japanese language.

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25
votes
6answers
114k views

What does やれ{HL}やれ{HL} “yare yare” mean?

I would like to know what the meaning of the expression やれ{HL}やれ{HL} Yare Yare is? I hear it often said in anime. some people said "that yare yare is another japanese onomatopoeia. Kind of like pera ...
19
votes
1answer
9k views

Can you say “half hour” or must you say “30 minutes”?

I know that to say an hour and a half you can say 一時間半, but is it possible to express simply half an hour even though the counter comes before 半? Or would you just have to say 三十分? If both ways are ...
19
votes
1answer
12k views

What's the difference between 「いけない」 and 「いかない」?

I've just learned that ~わけにはいけない as in 断{ことわ}るわけにはいけない ("I can't refuse") apparently isn't valid but ~わけにはいかない is, even though I've been using the former frequently. But what is the difference ...
17
votes
1answer
788 views

What does 窓という窓 mean?

What does 窓という窓 mean? I found it in this sentence in Harry Potter: 木の扉に寄りかかってホグワーツを見上げると、窓という窓が夕日に照らされて赤くキラキラ輝いている。
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Temperature abbreviations?

A certain dialog in my book has a man describing the symptoms of his cold to the doctor. It reads thus: 医者:熱はありますか。 患者:はい、きのうから。夕べはぞくぞく寒気がしたので、高熱が出るんじゃないかとひやひやしたんですが、今のところ7度8分【なな・ど・はち・ぶ】...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between 出来る限り and 出来るだけ?

EDICT gives almost the same translation for these two expressions: 出来る限り; できる限り 【​できるかぎり】 (n) as ... as one can できるだけ 《出来るだけ》 (exp) (uk) as much as one can; as much as possible; if at all ...
16
votes
1answer
940 views

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」

What's the difference between 「この辺{へん}」 and 「この辺{あた}り」? I used to always read 「この辺{へん}」as 「この辺{あたり}」 as I thought it would be confused with 「変{へん}」 but it apparently is different.
15
votes
8answers
3k views

Greeting a person over the internet

So I was wondering, how do japanese people greet each other when they are, for example, writing on a blog or recording a video? My doubt comes from the fact that their greetings will be directed ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」?

What's the difference between 「うまく」, 「上手に」 and 「よく」, all seemingly meaning "well" in English? Someone said that I should use 「よく」 rather than 「うまく」 in the following sentence. Can anyone explain why? ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Japanese equivalent to ASAP

What would the Japanese equivalent to ASAP be? Would「急ぎでお願いします」be appropriate? 「すぐに」、「即に」just don't seem right.
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is 一日 used instead of 日 to ask how your day is?

I spoke with someone from Japan on Tandem and she said to me “今日はどんな一日でしたか?” and I’m wondering why 一日 was used since I thought that meant the first of the month?
14
votes
1answer
4k views

How should one respond to “お大事に”?

I came across a situation where I went to a volunteer class wearing a mask since I have a cough. My sensei told me "お大事に", and I did not know what to reply. In this case, should I just say "はい"? Or ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

the logic behind “te” in “chotto matte te”

When someone says: chotto matte te, why does the te mean "... and I'll be back shortly". What's the logic behind it? Why aren't there special expressions such as chotto matte X, where X could mean "...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

How to say “What's it to you?” in Japanese?

What would be appropriate expressions or idioms to convey the typical English response: What's it to you? (in a sense that goes somewhere between "None of your business" and "This is not your ...
13
votes
3answers
687 views

Explanation of the expression 気が済まない

A: 百均に入ると、何もいらなくても何か買わないと気が済まない人っているんだよね。 B: いるいる。僕だよ。 A: At the dollar store, there is always somebody who has to buy something even if they don't need it. B: Yes, yes! That's me. I ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Asahi Dry Black beer can

What does ビアホール仕立ての黒 on Asahi Dry Black means? Specifically 仕立て(sewing?) and ビアホール(via hole?). I tried searching it on japanese web, but it's kinda assumed as common knowledge and never mentioned ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

When and to whom should I use the expression ご苦労様 (gokurousama)?

In what context and relationship wise to who can I safely say ご苦労様 (gokurousama)? I often defer to using otsukaresama since I'm not sure if I'm talking down to someone by saying gokurousama. Please ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How to use ~に同意する to agree or disagree with a person?

A couple of times I've tried to say "I agree with..." or "he agrees with..." but I don't know whether I'm using 同意{どうい}する correctly. In what ways should に同意{どうい}している be used? Also, which particles ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

このとおりよ as an expression

In a manga I'm reading a boy accidentally broke a friends toy, after which he says in an apologetic fashion : あなたの言う事何でも聞くよ! このとーりよ! I understand the first part, but the second part which ...
11
votes
2answers
600 views

How do you express “try”?

I know that -てみる can mean "try", but my understanding of it is that it means "try it and see what it's like" or "give it a try". But is there a way of expressing "try" that emphasizes that effort was ...
11
votes
2answers
949 views

What does the word 「ありゃしねえ」mean?

It is a situation which a salesperson announces to a group of people to attract them to buy his goods. Here is the full sentence. こんなお買【か】いどくはどこの世【せ】界【かい】へいったって ありゃしねえよ
11
votes
1answer
807 views

What is the etymology of お陰で/おかげで and how does the expression relate to the kanji?

If おかげで / "okagede" is an expression that means thanks to ...;  owing to ...;  because of ...; and the correct (?) kanji that this expression derived from is 陰 as in お陰で which by itself ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What exactly does この通{とお}りmean?

I know that その通り can mean "Exactly" or "That's right". But I was watching an anime (Samurai 7) and heard one of the characters say "この通り" and something else right afterwards which I didn't catch. For ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you also say 「もしもし」 on Skype?

Is 「もしもし」 only used when you cannot see the person you're talking with (I once heard that it's somewhat akin to "Anyone there?", which wouldn't make much sense if you could see your conversation ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

Correct phrase for “I'm just browsing” in a store

I've been trying to figure out what the correct translation is of the phrase "I'm just browsing", in a context such as when one is looking at goods in a store (e.g. if you're walking around the shop ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

must/need [必要]{ひつよう}がある vs. なくてはいけない and [必要]{ひつよう}だ vs. [要]{い}る

This is a two part question, both pertaining to expressions involving "必要". What is the difference between 必要がある and -なくてはいけない/ -なければならない? The difference between the latter two expressions is ...
10
votes
4answers
531 views

word search: voluntary pause between desire and action

Some years ago, I read that Japanese has a word (or idiomatic expression) that means roughly: The action of voluntary interposing a pause between the moment you desire something and the moment you ...
10
votes
3answers
384 views

what does「今夜が峠です」mean?

When i was reading an entry about 暗峠 the writer mentioned an expression using 峠 which is「今夜が峠です」, they said that when a close person is seriously ill and are on their deathbed this expression is often ...
10
votes
1answer
532 views

What is the meaning of しも?

In a recent class, my Japanese teacher taught me the use of しも as something akin to a formal version of でも as in the following sentences: いつでも暇{ひま}じゃないんですよ。 いつしも暇{ひま}じゃないんですよ。 I was told the above ...
10
votes
2answers
250 views

How would one express an opinion from the perspective of an inclusive group?

Often times, it is common for a speaker to make an assertion or opinion based upon a (ethnic or social) group to which they belong. In English it is common to use prefixes like "we" or "us" to ...
10
votes
1answer
700 views

What nuance does “ですな” bring?

I often see ですな used in social text posts. Examples: こんにちわ、あついし、ひまですな。 いいてんきですなw A Google search for "ですな" does not show me any explanation. Here is how I understand ですな in such context: ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to say “to do one's hair”?

As in "I wake up, do my hair, have breakfast". Is there a verb for this? I'm guessing you can't just use 髪をする.
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How to say “open Pandora's box” in Japanese?

How to say "open Pandora's box" in Japanese? Ex.: When I asked Jane about her problems, I didn't know I had opened Pandora's box. What kind of Pandora's box do we open if we decide not arrest ...
9
votes
3answers
966 views

What does 「ハイきた。」 mean?

Also seen as 「ハイきたぁ~!」. Maybe it's used among young people. It seems to express the idea that you have achieved your expectations, or something like that. I hope someone can explain it better. ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “that ship has sailed”

What is the closest expression in Japanese that conveys a similar meaning to the English idiom "that ship has sailed", referring to an "missed opportunity" and "it's too late (to do anything about it)"...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between すみません and すみませんでした?

What is the difference between すみません and すみませんでした (or すまない and すまなかった)? If it is what the 「でした」 suggests and すみませんでした is the past form and used to apologize for things done in the past, then what I ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

〜んだった to express regret?

I was surprised to see this Tumblr post describe ~んだった used to mark regret. I can only assume it's true, but I'm not sure (1) how much of a colloquial expression/slang is it? (2) what does it come ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Translation of 「そんなことない」

What is a correct translation for 「そんなことない」 and when can it be used? I understand the "this is wrong"/"this is not correct" general sense but is this considered either as harsh or a gentle way of ...
9
votes
1answer
281 views

Etymology of 天地無用

WWWJDIC: [天地無用]{てんちむよう} (exp) (yoji) do not turn upside down I see this on some cardboard boxes in the context of shipping and handling. Why is this expression used to indicate "this side up", or ...
9
votes
1answer
941 views

How do you use 「どうか」 to mean please?

I came across the vocabulary 「どうか(ください)」. Could you please give an example of it's use? Thank you in advance!
9
votes
2answers
135 views

Nuance of the structure “Verb (stem of negative form) + ざるを得ない” compared to “Verb + しかない”

I've browsed a bit throught the other posts and it seems like there is no clear explanation of the nuance of "V + ざるを得ない" compared to "V + しかない". Roughly speaking, they have the same meaning but is ...
9
votes
1answer
186 views

書類や資料などの内容の引用について

My English isn't good, so I have always asked in Japanese, but Japanese isn't my mother tongue either. Sometimes, when I'm asking a question in Japanese, the question and the example are related to a ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

「〜したことがある」 vs 「〜したことがあった」

One of the first patterns a learner of the Japanese language will come across is: 〜したことがある (I) have 〜 before. わたしは中国を3回訪れたことがあります I have visited China three times before. However, I ...
9
votes
1answer
186 views

The expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く

What is the logic behind the similar sounding expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く? Are they idioms? Apple dictionary lists these examples: 後へ引く もう後へは引けない 'It's too late to turn back now.' 'We're in too ...
9
votes
1answer
257 views

Discrepancy between Tae Kim's Guide and Tobira in regards to 思われる。

I'm just wondering if someone could help me with what seems to be a difference between Tae Kim's Guide and what I've read in Tobira. In grammar point 2 from chapter 4 in Tobira, it says that "考えられている ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

My friend said she says “やる時やる.” a lot. What's the translation to english?

やる時{とき}やるじゃん! (Yaru toki yaru jan!) I think the meaning is something like "When you want to do something, you do it". Or maybe, "When you are about to do something, you just do it." This is a ...
8
votes
3answers
16k views

〜くてform from a verb

I ask here my question because I couldn't find anything on internet. My problem is about 〜くて form for a verb. I asked to a japanese friend what does mean "会いたくて" for example. She told me that there is ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

という used right before comma: What does this mean, and how is it grammatically possible?

Finding questions about the meaning of という isn't too hard, but the answers tend to revolve around its usage before a word particle or something, such as in ということ. However there's a sentence in a ...
8
votes
1answer
268 views

Nuance and conversational use of なきにしもあらず

In a story I am reading, a woman (who I assume is in her 20-30s) uses the expression: なきにしもあらず A simple dictionary lookup shows this means something like: ないわけではない 少しはある While this fits the ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

“Also…” interjection in Japanese; appending an additional request or afterthought

In Japanese, how would one go about appending an additional request or afterthought? For example: 1: お水【みず】をお願【ねが】いします。 "Water please." 2: あっ、(・・・)、氷【こおり】を入【い】れていただけませんか。 "..Ah also, could ...