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".

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8
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1answer
324 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-...
8
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1answer
2k views

Is それが人生{じんせい} , 仕様{しよう}が無{な}い, or something else the most natural equivalent to “that's life”, “c'est la vie”, etc?

For years I have been saying それが人生{じんせい} in Japanese to mean "such is life" / "c'est la vie". In fact English has a few other ways to express the same thing, and so do the other European languages I ...
8
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between 見てない and 見たことがない?

The title says it all, what's the difference between 見てない and 見たことがない? Lately, I've seen japanese people using 見てない to express that they have never seen something, eg: この映画は見てない。 But I thought ...
8
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3answers
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How often is だが used in everyday conversation?

I hear often in anime and is translated as "but". And normally, it's at the beginning of the sentence. But I wonder if it used outside of the TV/movie world. For instance, きみ, I hear very often in ...
8
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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]{...
8
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1answer
356 views

Is it OK to keep saying ありがとう

I was asking a Japanese person for some help and noticed that I kept saying ありがとうございます over and over as they helped me more. Culturally, is it OK to keep saying it multiple times in Japanese? Would it ...
8
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1answer
969 views

Usage and nuance of あまりに vs あまりにも

WWWJDIC lists both あまりに and あまりにも to mean "too much; excessively; too" but are they exactly the same in term of usage and nuance? あまりに 《余りに》 (adv) (uk) too much; excessively; too Ex: ...
7
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3answers
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A formal/informal way to say I don't want anything

I was told that is ok to use 何でもないが欲しいです。 in an informal setting for "I don't want anything." Is this correct? And what is an expression I can use in a formal situation?
7
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3answers
402 views

To test appliance before buying

First, I would like to let you know that I'm aware of a few topics already made regarding "try" here: • Saying "try" in Japanese • Different ways to "try" But after reading ...
7
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2answers
695 views

What kind of grammar is it in 調査に調査を重ねて?

I did not find any resources explaining the following grammar. N に N を V For example, 調査に調査を重ねて事故の原因を究明した。 What kind of grammar is it? What does it mean?
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What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
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2answers
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Is it ok to say 問題ない instead of 問題じゃない? Why?

問題ない vs 問題じゃない From what I understand the negative form of a noun is created with じゃない and not ない however my textbook uses 問題ない in an example (translated as "no problem"). Looking elsewhere on the ...
7
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3answers
887 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?
7
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3answers
298 views

“fancy meeting you here”

Is there a phrase that Japanese people use to express amusement when seeing each other unexpectedly? For example, if you just said goodbye and then ran into each other somewhere else?
7
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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 ...
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1answer
1k views

How do you write “translation mine” in Japanese for academic writing?

When you translate a quoted citation, how do you write "translation mine" in Japanese to let the reader know that it is your own translation rather than an official one (or, to contrast yours to the ...
7
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1answer
438 views

How to parse the proverb [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす?

I found this particular proverb on WWWJDIC when I looked up for なんじ : [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす. It is translated into English as: Hardship makes the man. How do we parse the proverb? I know 艱難 {...
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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
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2answers
172 views

Why is there 丼 {どんぶり} in 丼勘定 {どんぶりかんじょう}?

How does 丼勘定 {どんぶりかんじょう} (sloppy accounting) related to 丼 {どんぶり} (bowl of rice with toppings)? I mean, why どんぶり of all foods and things? Was there special history for the origin of this set phrase?
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Why does Siri say 座布団1枚お願いします when I told him he is an interesting person?

I use Siri to practice my Japanese. I basically say random things to him and see how he responds. (I know this is not even close to effective, don't judge me...) Today I said to Siri that he is an ...
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2answers
204 views

Is “俎板の上の鯉” related to the Vietnamese phrase “như cá nằm trên thớt”?

Is the Japanese phrase "俎板の上の鯉" - a carp laid on a chopping block related to the Vietnamese phrase "như cá nằm trên thớt" - like a fish on cutting board, either because Japanese got the phrase from ...
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4answers
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Significance of ところ in set phrases ところで and ところが

In two conjunctions 「ところで」 and 「ところが」 that mean "by the way / incidentally" and "however / nevertheless" respectively, what is the significance of the word 「ところ」? How does ところ + で give the nuance of ...
7
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1answer
102 views

Can お[邪魔]{じゃま}します be used in cases of long-term stay?

So I need to write an email for an assignment where I am an exchange student who is going to Japan and staying at someone's house for a period of time. I want to begin with "thank you very much for ...
7
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1answer
984 views

translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”?

After I've say watched a film with some friends (or read a fable or something) and learned something from it, i want to say "It [the teachings of this fable/film] serves as a good reminder for me". I'...
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1answer
383 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 ...
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2answers
763 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 ...
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0answers
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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
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2answers
261 views

How does the までに work in ご参考までに

I know it means roughly "for your reference", but I can't really grasp why it means that based on my understanding of までに (which I consider roughly as 'before' or 'by'). I can't really come to any ...
6
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1answer
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“But it is true that…” in japanese

I am trying to translate a sentence from English to Japanese in order to include it in an email, but I can't really find a satisfying equivalent in the target language. The sentence goes as : But ...
6
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2answers
454 views

What does 形から入る mean?

What does 形から入る mean? What contexts may it be used in? I can't find the phrase in my dictionary. I ran across this in an anime. Transcription of the relevant parts: [麻]{ま}[音]{おん}の父さん 「本当にこの子は『...
6
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2answers
191 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が[三筋]{みすじ}足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it mean muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
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1answer
2k views

How to say “Little did I/he/she/they know”?

I found a few examples at ALC, but still not sure about the best way to say it.
6
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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 ...
6
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2answers
13k views

What is an equivalent phrase to the colloquial “I know, right!?”

What are the Japanese equivalent phrases for the phrase "I know, right?!" The scenario is my friend said 「PS4には最高だね」, and I'd like to respond with something akin to "I know, right?!" 「でしょ!?」 comes to ...
6
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1answer
218 views

What does 勝つべくして勝った mean?

I came across this phrase while looking at the meaning for べく: 勝つべくして勝った It seems to be a set phrase, but I'm not 100% on the meaning. To win in order to win? To try really hard to win? To be ...
6
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1answer
720 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
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2answers
6k 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 ...
6
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1answer
163 views

Meaning and usage of 運のツキ

何さ、いやな人たちだね。こんな家に生まれてきたのが運のツキだよ。 What!? I'm an unpleasant person am I? To be born in a house such as this ... Bit confused by the part in bold. 運 means "luck" and ツキ can also mean "luck". So is ...
6
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2answers
597 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
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2answers
154 views

What is 願ったりだと?

The protagonist of the story is a taxi driver who picks up a girl. She asks him to bring her to Isezaki and then the author writes: それは願ったりだと乗せて夜の道を走った。 What kind of form is the one in bold?
6
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2answers
219 views

Anti-causal/Non-causal relationship

How do I form a sentence of these patterns "X does not arise from Y", "X not due to Y", "X not because of Y", "There are other reasons for X". Since obviously I cannot simply slap ない onto から or ので to ...
6
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1answer
216 views

Meaning of 「かくや(という)」

A quote from 80日間世界一周: 巨大な湖が凍ったらかくやという景色だった。 It seemed like a vast frozen lake. I'm guessing the 「かく」 is this one, but I don't understand how the 「や」 works. Could this be a set phrase?
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1answer
2k views

How to express “more than something”?

I was wondering if there is a form I can use to express "more than X". For example, "reading more than 200 pages a day is a challenge". Or maybe something like, "reading as much as 200 pages a day ...
6
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1answer
243 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Regarding どういたしまして usage

Japanese textbooks teach us to reply どういたしまして。 when people say ありがとうございます。So generally it means "You're welcome~" But I read that a lot of people saying that when we say どういたしまして。 it somewhat looks "...
6
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1answer
389 views

Can I say 行ってきます if I don't plan to come back?

When can I safely say 「行ってきます」when leaving home or another place? How loosely can this phrase be used? Can you use it even if you don't plan to come back until a day/week/month later? If it is going ...
6
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1answer
217 views

ご無沙汰いたしました — OK for electronic communications?

In a recent comment exchange on ELU.SE, a Japanese man (my senior in years, and a "guest" in the forum whose questions I had answered regularly for some time, but not much lately as I have been ...
6
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1answer
316 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
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3answers
467 views

Can 全部 be used like 「全部の月は忙しいですか?」

全部の月は忙しいですか? What that is supposed to say is: Will you be busy all month? But I feel that using 全部 in this way might mean all of the months in the year. So first, when talking about the entirely of ...
5
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2answers
607 views

How to make comparisons using “like” in japanese?

So take the following (contrived) example in english. A: What does 'plane' mean? B: Which 'plane'? 'Plane' like 'the thing in the sky'? 'Plain' like 'hills on the ground'? Or 'plane' like 'a ...