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Questions tagged [word-choice]

使い分け. The differences between two or more words or phrases and how to select the best one for a given situation.

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79 votes
3 answers
38k views

Difference between -ていく and -てくる

Can someone explain the differences between v-ていく and v-てくる for me. I know that they both express some kind of ongoing action (like a place getting crowded). For example, what's the difference between ...
nevan king's user avatar
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140 votes
9 answers
35k 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 ...
Derek Schaab's user avatar
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41 votes
2 answers
20k views

けど at the end of the sentence?

According to dictionaries, 「けど」 means ‘but’, ‘although’, ‘however’. However, it seems to have slightly another meaning at the end of the sentence. For example, here are few example sentences with ...
Anton Strogonoff's user avatar
31 votes
2 answers
11k 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 "...
quantum231's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
6k 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'...
Wolfpack'08's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can たい and たがる be used for a 1st/2nd/3rd person's desire?

もし生まれ変わっても見たい映画は あなたにありますか? When I saw the the above sentence, I started to wonder. Is it an over simplification to say that たい can only be used for your own desires? However the sentence above might ...
blutorange's user avatar
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109 votes
11 answers
21k 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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75 votes
4 answers
40k views

Is じゃないです equally correct as じゃありません?

Text books normally teach that the negative of です is じゃありません. However it seems very common to hear native Japanese use じゃないです. Is this slang or somehow less correct than じゃありません? Would it be marked ...
Niall Murphy's user avatar
30 votes
3 answers
3k views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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38 votes
3 answers
17k views

Contrasting っぽい、らしい、みたい

For example, the following 3: 女っぽい (おんなっぽい) 女らしい (おんならしい) 女みたい (おんなみたい) In what situations would you use っぽい over らしい? Does っぽい have negative connotations? Are 女らしい and 女みたい interchangeable as in ...
phirru's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
40k views

The many ways to say "and" in Japanese

In English, we just have one word for the conjunction and which works just fine for many categories, but in Japanese, there are separate words: と joins nouns together in a closed list や joins nouns ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
44k views

Differences between くれます, もらいます and いただきます

I have been taught that they are used when receiving something (or a favor) from someone. But how exactly do they differ? I've searched the web for an answer and One site suggests that くれます is ...
Mel's user avatar
  • 970
69 votes
4 answers
132k views

How to choose between "よん" (yon) vs "し" (shi) for "四" (4) and "しち" (shichi) vs "なな" (nana) for "七" (7)?

Two numbers in Japanese have two pronunciation alternatives. 四 / 4 can be pronounced either "よん" (yon) or "し" (shi) 七 / 7 can be pronounced either "しち" (shichi) or "なな" (nana) I know that "し" (shi) ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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28 votes
6 answers
8k views

How should I select what first-person pronoun to use?

I've always had trouble choosing which first person pronoun to use - 私 (watashi), 僕 (boku), or 俺 (おれ). What kind of factors should I keep in mind when choosing between these? Is it common to vary one'...
bdonlan's user avatar
  • 3,239
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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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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25 votes
1 answer
83k views

When is "na" used at the end of a sentence?

When is "na" used at the end of a sentence, is it like "ne" or "yo" and has no meaning really? For example: Mata Nihon ni ikitai na. また、日本に行きたいな。
Oskar K.'s user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
3k views

When writing for general public, is there a general guideline for selecting kanji?

After reading numerous publications, I've spotted a trend or custom on determining whether kanji is or is not used for certain words. The most obvious ones are: こと・事 …が実は犯人だったということがわかる。 (haven't ...
syockit's user avatar
  • 1,380
20 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why can't だ be used after an I-adjective?

I have been constantly told that だ can not be placed after an I-adjective. Why is that?
Herb's user avatar
  • 715
31 votes
3 answers
5k views

What's the difference between に and で when speaking of time of an action?

What's the difference between に and で when speaking of the time of an action? I know に is very specific about time, but I'm not sure when, or how to use で. Can で only be used in certain instances? ...
Miguel's user avatar
  • 2,438
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
  • 19.8k
23 votes
6 answers
21k views

Can somebody explain the various words and combinations thereof used for thanking?

To my knowledge there are three words which can be used in thanking and they seem to be usable together in some combinations: どうも (d­ōmo) どうもありがとう (dōmo arigatō) ありがとう (arigatō) ありがとうございます (arigatō ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 15.4k
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

Aren't がる and たがる the same thing?

In my JLPT practise book, it has two different entries, one to explain がる and one to explaining たがる. It offeres these example sentences to differentiate them: うちの子{こ}は新{あたら}しいものを見{み}ると、すぐほしがる。 ...
Questioner's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
17k views

How to use へ (-e), に (-ni), まで (made) and の方 (no-hō) with destination and direction?

It is common to ask the difference between just "へ" (-e) and "に" (-ni) but it seems to get even more complicated when you also mix in "まで" (made) and even "の方" (no-hō). When Japanese people ask me ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 15.4k
9 votes
1 answer
777 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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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
  • 627
26 votes
2 answers
18k views

When to use ~ので vs ~から

I was looking in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar when I saw something on page 329 which truly shocked me: "node cannot be used and kara must be used [... when ...] the main clause is a ...
dainichi's user avatar
  • 13.6k
26 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
Questioner's user avatar
  • 24.8k
25 votes
5 answers
22k views

What is the difference between 見える【みえる】/聞こえる【きこえる】 and 見られる【みられる】/聞ける【きける】?

In Japanese, there is a potential form to express that it's possible for something to be done. My own examples of potential form: 辛【から】い食【た】べ物【もの】が食【た】べられる。 (I can eat spicy foods.) ギターが弾【ひ】ける。 (I ...
atlantiza's user avatar
  • 3,457
20 votes
1 answer
5k views

Honorific prefixes: 「ご」 vs 「お」

Some nouns take the 「ご」 prefix: ご両親 {りょうしん} ご家族 {かぞく} ご無事 {ぶじ} ご安心 {あんしん} ご丁寧 {ていねい} While many others take the 「お」 prefix: お母さん お仕事 {しごと} お月 {つき}さま お家 {うち} お客 {きゃく} In general,...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.8k
13 votes
6 answers
1k views

Shouldn't this phrase using だけのこと mean "just for that"?

In a grammar textbook I have, there is this phrase: 幸{さいわ}い日本{にほん}で日本語{にほんご}を勉強{べんきょう}して、かなり話{はな}せるようになりました。日本{にほん}に行{い}っただけのことはありました。 The translation given is: Fortunately, I studied Japanese ...
Questioner's user avatar
  • 24.8k
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?

I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences: 息子は、自分の部屋に入ったきり出てこない。 母は入院している父をつきっきりで看病している。 電車が混んでいて、東京まで立ちっぱなしだった。 I ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 6,553
10 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
  • 1,533
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Meaning of 「これはこれで」, and the difference between it and 「それはそれとして」

I came across the following lines. ・・・俺としては、下駄箱の中に手紙が入っているみたいなほうが好みだった。でもこれはこれで、少なくとも相手が積極的だってことはわかる。 I am wondering about the meaning of 「これはこれで」 here. As one might expect, it does not have any ...
seafood258's user avatar
  • 1,979
46 votes
3 answers
11k views

What's the difference between 女性 and 女の人?

As far as I'm aware, both words translate into English as "woman". What's the difference in meaning between [女性]{じょせい} and [女の人]{おんなのひと}?
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 16.2k
21 votes
4 answers
14k 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
19 votes
4 answers
6k views

とっても versus とても

I've had a teacher flatly tell me that とっても is incorrect, but I do see it written here and there and I'm pretty sure I hear it as well. Is it just so informal relative to とても that I should never use ...
Garrett Albright's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why can some words be written with or without okurigana? How do the uses differ?

What is the difference for word compounds that can exist with 送り仮名 and without and still retain the same pronunciation? As an example: 巻き貝 と 巻貝 取り引き と 取引 If I'm correct, both of these are ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 6,553
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
  • 20k
10 votes
2 answers
522 views

恥知らず【はじしらず】 versus 厚顔無恥【こうがんむち】

The lack of examples makes me difficult to understand well the difference between 恥知らず and 厚顔無恥. Both seem to mean "shameless". For example, can I use both as follows? Are there any differences? ...
Display Name's user avatar
  • 7,489
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

How ~てある and ~ておいた differs?

晩ご飯が作ってある Dinner has been made. (intentional) 晩ご飯を作っておいた. (I) made dinner (so I can eat it). They seem quite the same. Btw what are some cases in which -てあった are used? I can't recreate one.
Dekiru's user avatar
  • 2,702
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Use of かける (N5 question)

An N5 vocabulary question I'm having trouble understanding: わたしの となりの (   ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 1 くつ   2 かぎ   3 めがね   4 でんわ The answer is 3: わたしの となりの ( めがね ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 Which I ...
rhyaeris's user avatar
  • 2,686
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the difference between 護る and 守る?

Is there any difference in meaning between 護{まも}る and 守{まも}る? When there are multiple kanji for a particular reading (like 暑{あつ}い/熱{あつ}い or 初{はじ}め/始{はじ}め), they are frequently used in different ...
purplecat's user avatar
  • 379
53 votes
5 answers
69k 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
  • 15.4k
41 votes
3 answers
5k views

How indistinguishable is blue from green really?

青 ao seems to be used very much interchangeably for both blue and green. Why is that so, and how does 緑 midori play into this?
deceze's user avatar
  • 5,685
31 votes
4 answers
8k views

不 and 非 and 無 and 未 usage difference/rule

Is there any rules that govern when to use 不 and 非 and 無 and 未 in regards to the meaning of "not" or "un-" for instance 非表示, 不満
Mark Hosang's user avatar
  • 7,051
29 votes
4 answers
6k views

Are there words so bad that they aren't allowed on television?

Warning: We're all adults here, but just in case, this question may contain words, in both Japanese and English, that some may not like to read. A long time ago, when I was working with a translator, ...
Questioner's user avatar
  • 24.8k
22 votes
4 answers
25k 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?
Philip Seyfi's user avatar
  • 1,517
18 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the *proper* differentiation between 来る and 行く?

In many beginning Japanese classes, 来る【くる】 and 行く【いく】 are presented as "to come" and "to go," respectively. Dictionaries generally also define them this way. However, every once in a while in more ...
rintaun's user avatar
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