Questions tagged [nuances]

ニュアンス. Subtle differences between two seemingly interchangeable expressions.

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が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning

Consider these sentences: だれ{が・に}これが出来るか だれ{が・に}日本語が分からないか When both が and に are acceptable, what is their difference in meaning and practical usage?
Flaw's user avatar
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139 votes
9 answers
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What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

There were a lot of great answers here. I gave the checkmark to ento's answer because I felt it most completely explained all aspects of this use of こと. But many of the other answers are excellent, so ...
Derek Schaab's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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て form at end of phrase but not being used for requests

俺旅芸人の一座にいたんだけどそれがあの盗賊どもに襲われちゃってさー The て form is used at the end but not for a request. It doesn't seem to be one of those cases where the order of the words is simply "inverted" either, so ...
xndfrr's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of "でも" in "食事でもどうですか?"

I've found this sentence on alc.co.jp 食事でもどうですか and I am puzzled as to meaning this でも conveys. How does it differ from 食事はどうですか This would be my first choice but which, according to Google, is ...
Maximilian Muneyoshi's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is 寝る a stative or active verb?

Looking at past questions I am still confused about the answers given: The answer to this post suggests that 寝る is a continuation of some state. 昨日も全然寝てない。 Yesterday I didn't sleep at all. Instead ...
shade549's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
681 views

Function of と when used with 続く

I don't understand the function of と when used with と続きます From this sentence in my textbook: 世界で一番インスタントラーメンをたくさん食べる国は中国で451.7億食、その次はインドネシアの137.0億食、日本の51.0億食、アメリカの43.2億食、ベトナムの39.1億食、韓国の33....
shade549's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
931 views

Changing of vowels at the end of words to え

I've observed that in many cases where people are speaking informally and want to make an impact especially in exclamations, the speakers will change diphthongs at the end of words to an elongated え. ...
A_User's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
1k views

"Te-form" versus "masu-stem + して" (消しているうちに versus 消ししているうちに)

Is there any difference between 消して and 消しして in the following sentences? For example, A: 手紙を書いては消し、書いては消ししているうちに、朝になってしまった。 B: 手紙を書いては消し、書いては消しているうちに、朝になってしまった。
Display Name's user avatar
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31 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference between "verb+て+みる" and "verb+(よ)う+とする"?

In Japanese there are words which mean "to try something or attempt at doing something", e.g. 試す, 試みる and つとめる. However, at the same time we also have two grammatical constructions "...
quantum231's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
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を vs が with use against 好き?

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb. and Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? are noted as possible duplicates; however, I haven'...
Wolfpack'08's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Difference between だと vs と before 認める

そのため、税務上の課税所得の計算は、「一般に公正妥当と認められる企業の基準」に基づく収益・費用の認識を原則としながらも、一定の調整を加えることとなっています。 I'm wondering what the difference is between 公正妥当と認められる and 公正妥当だと認められる
doru's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
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Why does 「電話は切れた」 sound more adversarial than 「電話が切れた」?

I noticed that while 「…、電話が切れた」 sounds just like a neutral phrase ("... and the call got cut off."), 「…、電話は切れた」 sounds more like you were negatively affected / that the person on the other side ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Difference between 完成させる and 完成する (transitive usage only)

Again, I am not referring to the intransitive usage of 完成する. Examples 文を完成させなさい。 文を完成しなさい。 夢を実現させた。 夢を実現した。 From my understanding of the grammar, させる implies that you could be making other people ...
user10937's user avatar
  • 111
108 votes
10 answers
20k views

How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる?

Both 知る and わかる get used for "know", "understand", "learn", "find out", and various other concepts. How do you know which to use when? Are there any rules to help you decide? Additionally, both of ...
Derek Schaab's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
4k views

Stative verbs: ~ている vs ~てある vs ~(ら)れる

I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly, but I want to know the nuances of these "stative" type verb forms that act kind of like adjectives. For example, you could describe an open window with any ...
istrasci's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
4k views

What does it mean for the 'feel' of a sentence / text when it's written in all hiragana?

When a Japanese-language sentence is written out in all katakana, it's supposed to be either stilted, robot-like speech or something to simulate ALL CAPS. How is that with hiragana? Does it make te ...
Bakabaka's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
6k views

<adv> versus <adv>+と versus <adv>+に

I often see adverbs used in one of three ways: 1) Adverb appears in isolation in a sentence: あまり 好きじゃないんですが。 2) Adverb is followed by に 別々に お願いします。 1970年代後半、多くの罪もない日本の一般市民が 次々に 失踪した。 3) ...
Zach's user avatar
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23 votes
3 answers
6k views

When describing time span, are 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} interchangeable?

Both 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} can be used to describe time span relative to specific situations, similar to "while" in English. But are they interchangeable all the time? Are there any scenarios ...
Lukman's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

How is と used in these sentences?

I have some sentences that involve the usage of と that I still don't understand: 1. This is from another user's post 私はあなたがいつも忙しいと分かっています。 2. My previous question いつもと変えてたまに外で食事しよう。 At the very ...
shade549's user avatar
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38 votes
1 answer
20k views

Must do : ~なければならない vs ~なくてはいけない

What are the differences when using ~なければならない and ~なくてはいけない, or their colloquial contracted forms ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ when saying "must do"? For example, what is the difference in the nuance and usage of ...
Lukman's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
4k views

Confusion about "Seemingly not ~"

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": ~なさそう ~そうにない ~そうもない ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in my Japanese classes, and it was ...
istrasci's user avatar
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35 votes
3 answers
22k views

What connotation does なんだ add?

Specifically, in the expression 好きなんだ (I love you) why not just say 好きだ or 好きです ?
Goku's user avatar
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30 votes
5 answers
44k views

Difference between そうです、 ようです and らしいです.

Here are the example sentences. デイビットは料理が上手そうです。 デイビットは料理が上手なようです。 デイビットは料理が上手らしいです。 Firstly, what does デイビット mean as based on reading alone its sounds like 'debit' to me which is a strange name ...
Mononoke's user avatar
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57 votes
6 answers
13k views

i-adjectives used as na-adjectives: is there a difference? (e.g. 大きい versus 大きな)

There are at the very least several i-adjectives can be used as na-adjectives by dropping the final い and adding な in its place. The most common examples of this, as far as I am aware, are 大きい and 小さい,...
rintaun's user avatar
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29 votes
3 answers
21k views

Love in the air: 愛x恋 {あい vs こい}

From WWWJDIC: 愛 【あい】 (n,n-suf) (See 愛する) love; affection; 恋 【こい】 (n) love; tender passion; My understanding on affection, love and tender passion is like the following: affection < love < ...
Lukman's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
4k views

ねば in 食べねば; relation between ねば and なければ

I would like to know a bit more about the "ねば" grammatical construction. Every now and then, I hear people say sentences like 東京に行かねばならぬ 粘々丼を食べねば倒れる なんとかせねばいい It's quite clear that ねば ...
Axioplase's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it?

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it? Examples: の only: 普通、大勢 な or の: 初心、特別、特殊 Is there a way for us to tell if a 形容動詞 needs a の or な particle after it....
Pacerier's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
772 views

How interchangeable are の/である/なる/たる when qualifying nouns?

So we know that we can qualify/equate two things with a の. 友達のジョン → My friend John 先生の山田さん → A/My teacher Ms. Yamada 勝利者の亀さん → The winner: the turtle (as opposed to the hare) It seems ...
istrasci's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
604 views

「〜がする」 the extended use of する (to do)

I'm going through some basic grammar and this one website teaches the "extended" use of the word する. There is a confusing example which looks like: 波の音 がする The translation is: "(I) hear the sound ...
chlenix's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
6k views

上手ではありません or 上手じゃありません

I've read somewhere that to say you are not good at something say for example Japanese language, you use: 日本語は上手ではありません but can I also use: 日本語は上手じゃありません Is there anything wrong with this? ...
Kennethzzz's user avatar
48 votes
1 answer
12k views

ひらく / とじる vs. あける / しめる

The verbs ひらく and あける both mean to open, and とじる and しめる both mean to close. I understand that ひらく and とじる are antonym pairs, as are あける and しめる, but have never been clear on the difference between ...
rurouniwallace's user avatar
29 votes
3 answers
17k views

Differences between 勉強する、習う、学ぶ and 学習する?

What is the difference between 勉強する, 習う, 学ぶ, and 学習する? I've read some explanations in another question but it's still not clear enough to me how they are different.
Nhu's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
45k views

What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

What is the meaning of のか in the following sentences? Does it have the same meaning as のですか? 漢字はどう正しく書くのか、どう正しく読むのか、彼らは時々迷います。 参加するのか、参加しないのか、ここではっきり返事しなさい。 Also, I have found sentences of the same ...
Misaka's user avatar
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23 votes
3 answers
12k views

Differences in usage between する and やる

On the surface, many Japanese-English dictionaries define both する and やる as "to do", with little extra context. Offhand, I know the following: やる and する are not interchangeable when it comes to する ...
Kaji's user avatar
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23 votes
1 answer
6k views

What does どうした mean and how does it differ from 何をした?

I've never really understood how どうした works and hope someone can explain or point me towards further reading. For example, in my textbook, the following question is asked in relation to a short ...
pyrmont's user avatar
  • 475
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Understand the difference between [dictionary/ない + ようとする] and [volitional + にする]

I have come across a couple of concepts that seem relatively similar, but I would like an understanding on their differences, if any. The first is the dictionary/ない form + ようとする. And the other is the ...
Naruto's user avatar
  • 293
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

What does the "~ておく" mean in "任せておく"?

Good afternoon all, From what I understand, "~ておく" basically has 4 meanings: to do something for a purpose / reason used as a softener (source) to do.. for now or for the time being (source, source),...
Pacerier's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
4k views

What are the differences between 女子{じょし}, 娘子{じょうし} and 女{おんな}の子{こ}?

Apparently there are many ways to say "girl / young woman" in Japanese. I've learned the differences between 女の子, 少女 and 乙女 from other question in this SE, where 女の子 seems to be the most common way ...
Pedro A's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
410 views

Nuance when the subject is moved to the end of the phrase

I've been plugging away on novel translations for years now and figure I should ask more questions about it around here, since the freelance life does not make it easy to network with people. My ...
Andrew Prowse's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
10k views

Particle と with へ; ~へと

Consider ~へと in these cases: ~へと下がる : (of some quantity) to fall to ~ ~へと先送りされる : to be postponed to ~ ~へと旅立つ : to make a trip to ~ ~へと広がる : to spread to ~ へと seems to be equivalent to ...
Flaw's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
17k views

What is 〜からです and when is it used? How does it differ from 〜ですから and 〜んです?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
rurouniwallace's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
13k views

What's the difference between せっかく and わざわざ?

せっかく and わざわざ seem to be pretty close in meaning/usage, but is there ever a time you would use one and not the other? Or is there a small nuance there? Just to give some example sentences: 「...
cosmiccircus's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

When the agent takes を in the causative form

I've seen a few sets of terminology when referring to the causative form, so for the basic case, I will use the following: instigator が agent に 〇〇 を v-させる。 In its most basic, text-book form, we have ...
Nathan Ellenfield's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
4k views

「どこでもある」と「どこにもある」の使い分け

I have come across this sentence: 一九七0年頃までは、どこでも銭湯がありましたが、今は、少なくなりました。 Why does it say どこでも X がある instead of どこにも X がある I understand that で and に are very similar as they have ties in the past, ...
Nathan's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Difference between 一段 imperatives ~よ・~ろ

一段 verbs may be conjugated to form imperative forms of ~よ or ~ろ. For example: 見る forms either 見よ or 見ろ 食べる forms either 食べよ or 食べろ How did the two forms come about? What is the difference in ...
Flaw's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Confusion with に、を、と particles used with verbs like 感じる

Consider this sentence: 私は試験のために勉強しなかったことが残念に感じる。I feel regret that I didn't study for the exam. 1.Why is the に particle used instead of と? I have read the answer to this post which considers how ...
shade549's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
1k views

~を出る vs. ~から出る: Grammar rule not consistent

In 初級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック (pg. 24), an attempt is made to distinguish between ~を出る and ~から出る (also applied to 出発する or other "leaving" verbs), but the description seems inconsistent: 「を」vs.「から」 ...
Hikonyan's user avatar
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53 votes
5 answers
68k views

Usage of すみません (sumimasen) versus ごめんなさい (gomen'nasai)

There are several situations in which one of these words (phrases?) should be used but there's not usually a 1:1 mapping between any two languages. Get somebody's permission. English: "excuse me", "I ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
37k views

What's the difference between でしょうか and ですか at the end of a question?

I am having a little trouble understanding the nuance of でしょうか in comparison to ですか. People say it makes it more hesitant and polite, but that doesn't explain the nuance enough for me. Why would you ...
Nathan's user avatar
  • 2,692
17 votes
1 answer
7k views

Meaning behind adding 'め' after someone's name?

I've come across this once or twice where people will say someone's name and then add 'め' in an irritable/victorious tone [e.g: ヒカルめ, マコトめ, etc.], but I've yet to find a textbook example explaining ...
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