年内 vs 年中 Help!

こにちいは!

I’ve just had these two vocab in my lessons, and I know I’m going to get these mixed up. To look at them both seem to basically mean, inside the year.

  • 年内 means ‘by the end of the year’
  • 年中 means ‘year round’

The readings are ok, I’m getting plenty of practice at せん , ない is one I’ve never had trouble with and while the ちゅう/じゅう rendaku is a bit weird I reckon it is weird enough to be memorable!

So any tips? Would it help if I tried to figure out the difference between 内 and 中 ? Is there something I can use in the mnemonics to fix the difference between these?

ありがとう。

This is probably gonna be one of my rare short answers:

  • 年内: ‘within the year’
  • 年中: ‘throughout the year’

You’ll find that both of these line up with other uses of 内 and 中, including in similar compounds.

If that’s not enough because you haven’t been exposed to much Japanese yet, and you need an extra boost, then try this: I said ‘throughout’, right? Doesn’t the central stroke in 中 go through it? No such thing for 内, but I mean, you could say that the 人 is within the 冂. I hope that helps.

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A lot of the time, the reading じゅう is used when 中 means throughout (not just in a temporary sense, but also a spatial one like 世界中 which means all throughout the world) and ちゅう when it means something happened at one point of a time interval but not throughout the whole thing

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I’ve resolved myself to continuously mess these up lol. One day I’ll learn. After many rounds of SRS…

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内 specifically means inside of something, and not outside of it. The meaning is strictly exclusive.

  • 年内 a timeframe in this year but no more than that - “within the year”

中 just means inside of or during without necessarily making that extra distinction explicitly. When used as a suffix to describe time, it translates very well as “during”, so translating the morphemes literally and into nouns:

  • 年中 year duration, a time spanning a year; implying the whole year, since there’s no other reason for 年 to be in this word if it meant less than a year, but not excluding other years because 中 isn’t inherently exclusive - “year-round”

A more efficient way to conceptualize this is to simply associate 内 with “within” and 中 with “in/at” for space and “during” for time.

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I think the presence or absence of particles like に after 中 might be equally important for determining the meaning of a ‘[time period]+中’ phrase, and there are definitely exceptions to this rule, but I’d like to say that I certainly find the じゅう reading very common for ‘throughout’, even if I’m not that sure about when the other one is most commonly used. (I actually wanted to say so in my first reply, but I thought I might end up muddying the waters since exceptions exist.)

My personal suggestion is to learn if it’s ちゅう or じゅう on a case-by-case basis. Still, there are some general patterns, and there’s definitely no harm in knowing them! :slight_smile:

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TBH, I use the shape of the 中 as a mnemonic - the box goes all the way ‘around’ the year - thus ‘year round’, instead of ‘inside (by the end of) the year’.

You have more linguistically useful answers above, but thought I’d throw the tip in

It’s just a spelling convention. This would be ぢゅう and it would sound the same as じゅう, so they just merged the spellings so you don’t need to remember if something is じゅう or ぢゅう, it’s just always じゅう.

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This is exactly what I do too! After getting it wrong a couple of times, I’ve started to just look to see which one is “round” (has the box, round for “year round”) and then answer accordingly.

I also use the “within the year” for 年内 for exactly the same reason as Jonapedia.

Because you’re just learning the kanji, the meaning you understand from them is pretty limited. But it’ll expand. As you learn more words that contain that kanji, the understanding of the meaning of that kanji will get more accurate. Kinda like when you’re learning English and you find out that “deep” and “heavy” are not interchangeable words in all contexts you can find them in, after you’ve been taught they can both mean “important”. To say that the kanji means “middle/inside” is a simplification. But it’s a place to start.

I think the way out of confusion is to attempt to expand understanding of at least one of them. Some of the other comments help take care of that!

I can’t believe my eyes :laughing:

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Might help to think of 年内 as a deadline.
Must be done by the end of the year. We use this at work a lot for goal setting.
年内に終わらせる。

Think of it like this:
If you don’t get it done by the end of the year (年内) there is no opportunity (ない) to finish it after that.

に終わらさないと、もうやるチャンスがないよ。

Not sure if that helps.

ありがとうございます!

Some really helpful replies so quickly. It is true I’m pretty early in my learning, so I’ve not had the chance for patterns to emerge organically, so it is really useful to know that the 中/内 distinction is going to come up later. I’ve had a quick look at the vocabulary listed under the respective kanji, and spotted some more examples of this, especially where 内 vocab mean something ‘within’ or in some way excluding the outside. Combined with the suggestion to use the shapes of the kanji I think that will stick with me.

The reading tips are helpful, it is good to know that じゅう will be making future appearances.

All in all I’m glad I asked the question here, as I would have really struggled to brute force memorise the distinction.

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