Questions tagged [phrases]

句. More than one word in a row. In linguistics, this term is used for a string of words that forms a syntactic constituent, generally with a head and zero or more dependents, above the word level but below the clause level. However, on this site, the tag is used with the simple definition non-linguists are more likely to be familiar with; linguists can understand this definition as "strings of more than one word".

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41
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2answers
4k views

How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

I've read that 日本人の知らない日本語 translates to: "Japanese (language) that Japanese (people) don't know". But I don't understand how or what the の does in that sentence. If I'm not mistaken 知らない日本語 could ...
23
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1answer
11k views

Getting your haircut in Japan

I have been living in Japan now for the last 3 months and my hair is starting to look like it needs a cut. But I have never been to a Japanese barbers before so as you can imagine I am a little ...
16
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5answers
4k views

My Japanese is rusty

While it sounds perfectly alright when said in English, as in "My English is rusty", is there an equivalent in Japanese language? I have used this line before when I said "私の日本語は錆びている" and "...
14
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4answers
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Counter for chopsticks

Just curious about this one. I'm never sure what to say when I ask for chopsticks in Japanese. I know that "by-the-book", you can count them with ~そろい (揃い) or ~ぜん (膳). So I always say 「お箸を 一揃い(...
14
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1answer
5k views

How would you say “x says hi” in Japanese?

I've given this some thought but due to both my lack of knowledge in Japanese (still studying atm, although in Japan for a year so that should improve) and just not being able to come up with anything ...
13
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2answers
924 views

Break down the phrase “[失礼]{しつれい}しなければならないんです”

I've just heard the phrase [失礼]{しつれい}しなければならないんです (shitsurei shinakereba naranaindesu) used as Excuse me, I have to leave. The explanation said it literally translates to If I don't leave, it won't ...
12
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1answer
13k views

What is the literal meaning of どういたしまして?

どういたしまして 【どう致しまして · 如何致しまして】 you are welcome;  don't mention it;  not at all;  my pleasure; —Usually written using kana alone. 「手伝ってくれてありがとう」「どういたしまして」 "Thank you for your help." "It's my ...
11
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2answers
969 views

“As in” in japanese

Just a quick question here, but somehow hard to find: How could I say "as in" in japanese ? For example : I learned the kanji 「評」as in 「評論」today. Here is my attempt, sorry for the lousy japanase ...
11
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3answers
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How to say “To clarify, …?” in Japanese?

How do I say, for example, the following sentence/question: "To clarify, breakfast is at 7:00am?" I know that 明らめる and 明らかにする both have the meaning "to clarify". But I do not know if there is a more ...
11
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4answers
899 views

Is it possible to distinguish between 'cannot'/'does not' and 'will not'?

As practice I have been alternately translating short bits of writing both from Japanese to English and from English to Japanese. When most recently attempting the latter, it occurred to me that I ...
11
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3answers
716 views

Can のほうが be omitted when answering a question?

So when people are doing comparisons, do you use のほうが colloquially or even in text? I've seen AとBとどちらのほうが速いですか? and also AとBとどちらが速いですか? And the answers be: AのほうがBより速いです。 AはBより速いです。 Aのほうが速いです。 ...
10
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2answers
254 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
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1answer
348 views

What is the meaning of: 「ばえていくけん」?

The complete phrase is: 「日本中で、ばえていくけん!」. With the けん at the end, I thought it might have been something from a Kyushu dialect, but the person who said this is from Tottori. The only part I'm really ...
9
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3answers
2k views

What does 今日という日 mean?

I'm trying to translate a song lyric that says 今日という日は 過去 前例のない 僕たちの誓い日和だよ And I get a dictionary result at Jisho for 今日という日 as something like every day; all day but that doesn't make any sense ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Japanese term for weight gained in a loving relationship?

I came across this phrase in reading a few weeks ago, and can't for the life of me find the note I made on it. It refers to plumpness in a positive sense, reaching a comfortable state of gained ...
9
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2answers
240 views

What is the meaning of かい and き in Google's Summer Solstice Doodle?

I was wondering what the meaning of かい and き is for the Google Summer Solstice Doodle pictured here: I'm guessing it has some relation to summer, but what?
9
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4answers
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Could you repeat that please?

I recently was on the phone with a Japanese customer service representative and I couldn't quite understand what she had said. I wanted her to repeat what she had said so I said something along the ...
8
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3answers
627 views

背中を押す Phrase Meaning

I encounter the phrase 「背中を押す」 in many Japanese songs, and I'm having the feeling that it is a phrase not having the obvious meaning of "to push one's back". What's the meaning of this phrase? ...
8
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2answers
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What could a phrase like アルコールはダメなんだ possibly mean?

The phrase アルコールはダメなんだ is from a manga I read, in which a guy responds to his friend when being asked if he wants a beer. He appears not to be into alcohol, even goes so far to say that "I don't like ...
8
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1answer
266 views

Are snowclones common in Japanese?

Are snowclones common in Japanese? A snowclone is a neologism for a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as "a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, ...
8
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2answers
5k views

What is the phrase for “getting to know” someone or something?

My question is how is the concept of "getting to know" or "knowing" someone conveyed? How do you invite someone to get to know you better? I was posting a message on mixi and could not figure out ...
7
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1answer
3k views

How to say “I fell on my ass”?

Is 「お尻には落ちた」 the correct way to say "I fell on my ass"?
7
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3answers
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What is the meaning of なめた口?

Google translate なめた口 as "Licking Mouth" but I was sure it was not a right translation. I also tried to search for it on weblio & alc but didn't get any results... I do found alternative writing ...
7
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2answers
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How do you say “I don't want to fail” in Japanese? The formal form of it?

I'm asking how do you say something like "I don't want to fail" in Japanese. Yes, in anime they say something like "makenai". But I want to say or write it like an actual Japanese sentence in the ...
7
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2answers
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meaning of “~しており、…”? isn't that 謙譲語{けんじょうご}?

The second line in the first paragraph of this Bloomberg news article reads as such: 「ロシア軍{ぐん}は既{すで}にウクライナのクリミア自治共和国{じちきょうわこく}の一部{いちぶ}の施設{しせつ}を占拠{せんきょ}しており、ウクライナ政府{せいふ}は軍事{ぐんじ}侵攻{しんこう}を受{う}けていると非難{ひなん}...
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2answers
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Understanding 'ありのままで'

I know that 'ありのままで' means something like 'as I am', but how would one go about understanding the bits and pieces of the phrase, such as 'あり' and what its function in the phrase is? Thank you for your ...
7
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1answer
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How to reply to 「いま、すごく幸せです?」

I have a colleague who is blessed with a girl child and I posted a greeting saying おめでとうございます In reply to this, he said  ありがとう。いま、すごく幸せです? I guess he is asking me about my well being. How ...
7
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3answers
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What is the Japanese equivalent of “to pick up a girl” or “to hit on girls”?

How do you say "to pick up girls" in Japanese? I would like to say: I'm going to go and pick up some girls! I tried: 女を持ちに行くぞ! But I don't think 持つ is the right verb to use here
7
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1answer
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How would you say “I changed my mind” in Japanese?

I get the feeling this question might have a whole lot answers with no one, true correct one, but I've been really itching to figure out how exactly to express this in Japanese as there have been ...
7
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1answer
703 views

Phrase translation: 何を言い出すかと思えば

I'm hoping to confirm (or receive corrections) on a guess I have about the meaning of a sentence. I'm reading a manga, and Character A stares at Character B for a long time with a serious expression. ...
7
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1answer
218 views

How does adding なる make this phrase more “natural”?

Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such: [多分]{たぶん}いいペットでしょうね! I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he ...
7
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1answer
494 views

Meaning of「悪いとは思うけれど」in this context

This is an excerpt from パン屋再襲撃 by 村上春樹. The main character and his wife are robbing a McDonald's. A girl who works there asks them a question. 「どうしてこんなことをしなくちゃいけないんですか?」と女の子が僕に向かって言った。「お金を持って逃げて、...
7
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1answer
363 views

What does the phrase “返す刀” mean?

I've tried looking this up in English--Japanese dictionaries with no luck. I did however get a few results in monolingual dictionaries but I still don't understand what it's supposed to mean and in ...
7
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1answer
277 views

What does 腕が光る mean?

I've tried Googling for Japanese/Japanese dictionary definitions of this phrase, but can only find usages so far, which haven't helped. More context: "俺たち職人の腕が光る" I think from context that the ...
7
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1answer
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Questions on the phrase 調子に乗る

A: Can we have a date tomorrow too? B: Don't get carried away! ^^; A: 明日もデートしてくれる? B: 調子{ちょうし}に乗{の}るなー! ^^; I just would like some clarification to see exactly how 調子に乗る works. I see it ...
7
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1answer
336 views

What does the phrase 「あんのかないのんか」 mean?

Here is a dialog relating to the phrase A: その たったひとつの自由すらうばわれてしまったら おれには なにが のこるっていうんだい。 B: どうしたい ジョー やる気があんのかないのんか! It is said by Kansai-speaking comic character. I'm not sure if it would mean ...
6
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5answers
341 views

What does 「歴史を刻め」 even mean?

I looked up some recipes in Japanese and I couldn't help but notice the phrase 「歴史を刻め」 virtually everywhere. I might be stupid but I can't seem to understand what "mincing history" means. What gives?
6
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1answer
730 views

Meaning of 舌の根の乾かぬうち

I think I got it, but I would like to confirm just to check if it is correct or if I am missing some subtlety that happens when I translate. What is the meaning of 「舌{した}の根{ね}の乾{かわ}かぬ内{うち}に」? From ...
6
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2answers
419 views

What's the rule for “にしている”?

The sentence that that I heard was 頼りにしている。 Google Translate tells me that means "I'm counting on you". My understanding of Japanese tells me "this doesn't compute". Is there a general rule for ...
6
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3answers
2k views

How to say “I like watching birds”

The title explains it all. I think that one would say (mind you I'm just starting out, so I will write everything in hiragana) わたしはとりがながめるのすきです。Would that be correct? Or am I totally wrong, and if so, ...
6
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2answers
4k views

How do I say “I understand much better than before.”?

Or "I understand much better now." If someone helped me with a translation and I responded with: どうもありがとうございます。前より上手に分かっています。 Would that be the correct way to express that in Japanese?
6
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2answers
353 views

What's the 日本語 equivalent of “Wipe them off the map”?

皆さん、こんばんは! What is the 日本語 equivalent of saying the semi-set-phrase(or whatever you call set-phrases with parts you can fill in) "Wipe them off the map"? Like when you say "North Korea knows that if ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of 今日も一日?

仕事を終えた労働者が、ダンジョンから無事戻ってきた冒険者達が、今日も一日の締めくくりとばかりに酒盛りに耽っている。 This is the first time I have come across this. What exactly does it mean and how would I use it? I've seen it in other sentences too like: ...
6
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2answers
238 views

In what contexts can 旗色が悪い be used?

According to コトバンク, 旗色が悪い can be used when there is some connotation of a battle, war or fight - which makes sense because it literally translates to something like the color of the national flag is ...
6
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1answer
291 views

How would you use the 'と思います' form to say what others are thinking?

'と思います' is usually used when saying what you think/your assumptions, that much I know, but is it possible to alter it so that you can say what others are thinking? For an example, how would you say, '...
6
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1answer
169 views

would 「なんとか」 be an acceptable replacement for “something”?

like as an example: if i forgot the name of a song but i remembered part of it, so i said "zenryoku something" (i say something because i don't know what comes after zenryoku), would 「全力」なんとか be an ...
6
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3answers
537 views

A question about the usage of なるべく

I'm currently studying on my Intermediate Japanese book and I stumbled upon the usage of なるべく, with the meaning of as ~ as possible. The book gives me two examples and with the first one there's no ...
6
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2answers
218 views

What does 箸にも棒にもかからない describe?

I think I understand when you would use 箸にも棒にもかからない, referring to someone who is hopeless - but what situation does the phrase describe? Is there a story behind it? What is happening with chopsticks ...
6
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “plain form + とき” and “ta-form + とき“?

According to the book I'm reading, both of these sentences translate to: “I bought a bag when I went back to my country”. 国へ帰るとき、かばんを買いました。 国へ帰ったとき、かばんを買いました。 Now the nuance, if I understand ...
6
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1answer
967 views

How to say: (one) month through (another) month

I'm working on my Japanese homework, and we're practicing describing weather. We're given charts on temperature to say things like: カイロは九月が一番あついです。Or, "In Cairo, September is the hottest month." ...

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