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Questions tagged [set-phrases]

成句. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, such as idioms. For questions about a particular idiom, please use the tag "idioms".

29
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 ...
31
votes
4answers
106k 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'...
22
votes
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
13k views

Difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で

What is the difference between 気{き}をつけて, お大事{だいじ}に and お元気{げんき}で. How and in which context(s) are they used?
12
votes
2answers
586 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
42
votes
5answers
10k views

Is it proper to thank waitstaff, cashiers, etc. for their service?

In my Japanese class we were taught that one does not need to thank a cashier when they check you out or a server when they bring you your meal, but I always feel awkward remaining silent. Was my ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is 「うそおっしゃい」 to be taken literally here?

In the video game Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, the protagonist Tingle meets a fortune teller who demonstrates her powers to him. She asks him, "You come from a far away town, right?" If ...
8
votes
1answer
478 views

Regarding は数あれど (or possibly just あれど )

The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。 あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

“Opposite” of `和製英語`

Is there an "opposite" of 和製英語 (meaning Japanese words/phrases invented by English speakers)? Maybe like {英・米・欧?}製日本語? Because I always see/hear Japanese words in English and they drive me nuts! ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

The という in things like 〜ということ・〜というの・〜という感じ・〜というわけ etc

I have been trying for ages to understand the reason という is used so frequently. In other words, what does it add to the sentence and what connotations does it have in Japanese? I understand the ...
18
votes
3answers
12k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
13
votes
1answer
459 views

Contraction of particle の to ん before nouns in colloquial Japanese

I am familiar with contraction of の to ん before です (and variants で, だ, でした etc) but I noticed that の is also contracted before 家 in spoken set-phrases like あたしんち and おれんち. Are there any other ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a Japanese equivalent of knock-knock jokes?

For those (non-natives, etc.) who maybe aren't familiar, knock-knock jokes are one of the lowest, most basic forms of American "comedy". They follow this format: A: Knock, knock B: Who's ...
9
votes
2answers
886 views

Significance of the kanji 茶 in the set phrase 滅茶滅茶{めちゃめちゃ} / 目茶目茶{めちゃめちゃ}

While having fun looking up random words in my dictionary software, I found out that the phrase "めちゃめちゃ", which is often used in colloquial sentences like "めちゃめちゃかわいい" has two kanji variants: 滅茶滅茶 ...
5
votes
2answers
16k views

When to use “どうぞよろしくお願{ねが}い致{いた}します。” in a greeting?

Once the context is that we are about to part ways, when I want to say "goodbye" to someone in maximum 敬語{けいご}, I say「どうぞよろしくお願い致します。それでは、失礼いたします。」. Is that usage of 「どうぞよろしくお願い致します」 correct? Is 「...
10
votes
1answer
623 views

Why is やりたい放題 used as opposed to やり放題?

A common word in Japanese, meaning "all-you-can-drink", is "飲み放題". It is "放題" - as much as you would like - appended to the verb-stem of "飲む". It is the same rule for instance, for: 食べ放題, 読み放題, (電話)...
9
votes
2answers
203 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
18
votes
3answers
21k views

What does よろしくおねがいします mean when departing?

When on business in Japan last year, a Japanese colleague said よろしくおねがいします to me as the group were leaving after dinner. I'm aware of its usage in initial greetings, as is usually taught in textbooks,...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does なんてね mean “Just kidding”?

I very often see なんてね or some similar phrase being translated to "Just kidding"? but why does it mean this and how does the grammar behind it work?
22
votes
3answers
34k views

What to say after someone dies

What is the proper response when someone tells you, for example, that their mother has died? Relatedly, what should you do to express your sympathy? Do you send a card? flowers? bake a casserole?
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between 「はじめてのX」 {hajimete no X} and 「はじめのX」 {hajime no X}?

There is a song with title {hajimete no asa} and another song with title {hajime no hi}. There is also a manga title {hajimete no aku}, and not to forget the popular boxing manga {hajime no ippo}. So ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a polite saying like “May I?”

Looking for a phrase that has the same meaning as "May I?" in English. One that would work in situations that would indicate I would like to try to solve a problem at hand, or receive control over ...
8
votes
2answers
10k views

“Hey Bro!” how to call out friends

There is a variety of words such as ”友” ”相棒” ”仲間”, etc. to describe a person as a friend or partner. Is there a casual way to call out your friend in Japanese, instead of having to call his/her name ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

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
10
votes
3answers
848 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...
10
votes
5answers
683 views

Why “お食事の際は、…” instead of “ご飯を食べる際は、…”?

In the following, my textbook says that #1 is the correct choice. (1) お食事の 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 (2) ご飯を食べる 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 I think that both are grammatically correct and have the same ...
10
votes
2answers
435 views

The role of と particle in 「二度としない」

What is the role of と particle in 「二度としない」? Is it quotative, adverbialisation, change of state or supposition? Also, what extra nuances does it contribute to the expression compared to if も is used ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Thank you for X: ~をありがとうございます

I've often heard this pattern, particularly in things like メッセージ/メール を ありがとうございます。 Since ありがとうございます is an adjective, why is it acceptable to use を in this situation? That seems about as ...
7
votes
1answer
380 views

Function of に in 怒るに怒れない [duplicate]

In the book I'm reading, I came across the following sentence: あたしは[怒]{おこ}るに[怒]{おこ}れなくなった。 (furigana added by me) My translation is something like "I couldn't stay angry [at him]". ("My anger ...
7
votes
3answers
882 views

What does “声が出る” mean?

When somebody uses 声が出る, what is the significance of saying it this way as opposed to using 言う? Is this used commonly and does it have some sort of special nuance I'm not aware of?
12
votes
2answers
422 views

What exactly is 「だらし」?

WWWJDIC states that 「だらしない」 can be written with kanji as 「だらし無い」, which suggests that the phrase is a negative construction that uses 「無い」, unlike words like 「すくない」 and 「あぶない」. Furthermore, 「だらしが無い」 ...
8
votes
1answer
321 views

Where's the missing い in ありがた迷惑【ありがた めいわく】?

One of the most useful turns of phrase in Japanese is ありがた迷惑{めいわく}, which is that of being helpful in a way that is not helpful. It can cover situations where one is being helpful to semi-...
6
votes
2answers
592 views

What does the phrase らしいと言えばらしい mean?

I am reading a book where one character describes another's reading habits, and the person she is talking to says 「らしいと言えばらしいな」. From context, he seems to be saying that her reading habits are ...
6
votes
1answer
716 views

What is な-particle doing in `ってなわけで`?

I noticed that ってなわけで is commonly used as a substitute for というわけで in colloquial speeches, but what exactly is the purpose of the な-particle in that phrase? Does it make the context that the phrase ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there any phrase similar to “may he rest in peace”?

George Michael just passed away... is there any phrase analogous to "may he rest in peace"? To me at least, that English phrase is emotionally tinged. I mean, I really do feel sad. But of course, I'd ...
3
votes
2answers
324 views

Meaning of “何もそこまで”

ものすごく酸っぱい梅干しを食べたみたいに顏をしかめて、猛烈に残念がった友蔵{ともぞう}に、「何もそこまで」とおかあさんが、みんなの気持ちを代表して、ボンっとつぶやいた。 Mum, representing everyone's feelings, muttered 何もそこまで to Tomozou who was acting as though it (what he'd just ...
3
votes
2answers
504 views

Farewell message - 悔しさをバネに

On my last day my co-worker told me this. I'm not sure what バネに means. I tried looking it up but didn't get anywhere. ここでの悔しさをバネに、次のとこでもがんばってくださいね
2
votes
1answer
642 views

Is there a difference between ことがある and ものがある?

This has been split from this question.. So what are differences between two? Are there times where they can be interchangeable or can they only be used in certain situations? I saw this about ...
2
votes
1answer
914 views

The の in のに and なのに

I've heard that the の in のに and なのに is the general-noun の (I don't remember the word for it.). So why, in that light, does the meaning of the two make sense?
0
votes
1answer
231 views

Why do I hear ますから (masukara) so often at the end of sentences?

Yesteday, I was watching this anime. One of the characters said ますから (I'm not very sure, it sounded like "mascara") twice in the same scene. Google Translate translates the phrase as "Because it is."...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What is that thing yelled in Japanese when starting something?

When starting some activity, I've heard something like 'Se..inou... ' (I'm not sure what are the specific words for this). The context for this word I'd think is pretty much the same as when saying 1,...
10
votes
1answer
326 views

What's the difference between 電光石火【でんこうせっか】 and 疾風迅雷【しっぷうじんらい】

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
9
votes
1answer
280 views

Understanding the particle や in the phrase “今や”

(Moved from Insertion of "y" sound between vowels since it appeared to be unrelated.) In the following quote: 私の世界へようこそ。 今やこの世界をコントロールできる唯一の人間だ。 What is the function of the particle や ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

When is it appropriate to use ごくろうさま?

I've seen お疲れさま and ご[苦労]{くろう}さま used to say "Thank you" after some had done work of some type. After reading the お疲れさま thread, I realize that the two are not interchangeable. So when do you use ご[苦労]{...
7
votes
2answers
414 views

“なし” used for both animate and inanimate things?

I was so surprised to read: 孝行をしたい時分に親はなし。 (paraphrase) When one finally wants to truly fulfill the obligation to his/her parents, they often have already passed away. (note): I would have said ...
7
votes
2answers
759 views

“Grammatically-correct” particle-less phrases/sayings

I know that within an informal/familiar setting, people often leave out particles. Whether or not this is grammatically correct I'm not positive, but for the sake of this question, I'll say that it's ...
7
votes
0answers
4k views

What is the difference between お元気に、お元気で、気をつけて? [duplicate]

I want to say hello to a friend I haven't seen for a long time, and end my message with "take care". All of お元気{げんき}に, お元気{げんき}で and 気{き}をつけて mean "take care", so which one suits my case? How should I ...
6
votes
1answer
242 views

Does もあれば have set phrases?

I came across a sentence using もあれば where there wasn't a conditional. あれば got translated as sometimes: 名詞から動詞が派生していることもあれば、その逆のこともある。 Sometimes a verb is derived from a noun and sometimes it is ...
6
votes
1answer
310 views

How would you express the sentiment of “Happy New Era” [duplicate]

Something like 良いお時代を。? Or would you specifically say 令和? If not that, what would be a literal English translation?
5
votes
1answer
131 views

Is “~の方が格上だ” a set phrase of sorts?

I've never come across "の方が格上" before, I'm wondering if it's a set phrase that would describe someone being "out of your league" in terms of power/strength so the implication is that one cannot hope ...