Questions tagged [nuances]

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

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121
votes
9answers
22k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

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?
11
votes
2answers
484 views

Changing of diphthongs at the end of words to え in exclamations

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. ...
88
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

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'...
12
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
894 views

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 which would be my first choice; however, according to google, ...
23
votes
2answers
4k 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) ...
30
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k 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 where one ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
9k 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?
14
votes
2answers
598 views

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 ...
18
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
5k views

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 "verb+て+みる" and "...
24
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
419 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 ...
32
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k 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....
19
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
282 views

て form at end of phrase but not being used for requests

Sometimes I come upon phrases like this: 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 Where 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
515 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
410 views

Difference between だと vs と before 認める

I read the following sentence in a book 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 ...
49
votes
5answers
47k 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 ...
46
votes
6answers
8k 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,...
16
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
28
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
3k 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, ...
18
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
514 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。
13
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Difference between 家内、嫁、妻、奥さん、かみさん and other words meaning wife

I have seen and heard all these words being used before all to mean wife, but what is the differences between them? I know some, such as 家内, can only be used for your own wife, but which are which? ...
8
votes
2answers
498 views

Is 寝る a stative or active verb?

Looking at past questions I am still confused with 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
3k 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? ...
16
votes
1answer
552 views

Is there a difference between に伴う and を伴う?

In a report I handed in earlier this week, my professor corrected my sentence to 日本において、金融政策の目的に関する考え方が時間を伴い、変わってきた。 from 「に伴い」. Is there a practical difference between the two? ALC shows a bunch ...
16
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between ”conditional” いい and 方がいい for providing recommendations

I've noticed that there are multiple ways of providing or asking for a recommendation in Japanese. The sentence structures I'm talking about are as follows: したらいい すればいい したほうがいい In almost all ...
31
votes
4answers
108k views

When is it appropriate to use お疲れ様 (otsukaresama)?

I know the general meaning of using お疲れ様です/でした to express gratitude for some work, but I'm a bit fuzzy about appropriate times to use it. I know it is a common saying when leaving for the day, and I'...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Nuances of “give” - あげる/与える/授ける

Can someone give some good context and scenarios for using these? Not only when to use them, but when NOT to use them as well. I know あげる is kind of the most common, but I'm just not sure of the ...
18
votes
4answers
9k 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: 「...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Use of ~のか (~んですか) in questions not seeking a yes/no answer

I would like to know if there is a shift in nuance in questions such as these: 誰が参加したんですか。 vs. 誰が参加しましたか。 いつ着いたんですか。 vs. いつ着きましたか。 I wish to limit discussion to only non-yes/no questions (so ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of last “te” of saki ni itte te (先に行ってて)

I always hear people saying    先に行ってて which means 'go ahead' But I don't really understand the meaning of the last て. I know it's the abbreviation of いて but if I translate it to English, I always ...
8
votes
2answers
673 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

でありません(でない) vs ではありません(ではない) vs でもありません(でもない)

でありません (でない) ではありません (ではない) でもありません (でもない) Can anyone tell me the differences between these three? And in what kinds of context would people use these three?
8
votes
2answers
762 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),...