Different kanji, same English

Hi all,

I keep running into kanji which look different, but their English readings are identical, so I’m struggling to make them stick.

里 and 村
所 and 場
事 and 物

Kanji are tricky little things.

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Do you mean their “meanings”, not readings? Because these ones have very different readings.

Also, 事 and 物 are 2 very different Kanji if you learn the difference. They both mean “things”, but 事「こと」 refers to intangible things, like thoughts or actions, but 物「もの」 refers to tangible things, like animals or shoes. It also helps if you learn some of the grammar involving こと to refer to actions as nouns.


I only know 事 and 物
the first one is an abstract thing (like “work” 仕事) the other one is an actual thing (like “food” 食べ物)


As @girakacheezer said.

I would also add - 里 and 村 - hometown vs village - different meanings?


I usually find that, even if they share the same English word, they usually still refer to a different meaning of that word. But perhaps it helps that English is my second language and I always have another language to fall back on to separate the meaning of words.

If you’re really struggling with identical words you could perhaps try adding synonyms if that helps to keep them apart in your mind?

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I know the difference between the other 2 but this one still trips me up.


Sometimes it’s just semantics. One means place the other means location. Maybe you’d use it different in a sentence?

How about the one that is the exact same word but can mean avenue or to pass through?

By the way the word is: 通り。There is no visible way to tell the difference in the reviews.

通り is a noun version of the verb 通る and since it doesn’t make sense to say “a pass through” it makes more sense to talk about something you pass through, like an avenue.


Well to be fair, even in English there are different words that share the same basic meaning, yeah?

Whether something is hidden, or concealed, or even obfuscated. Sometimes things are totally equivalent, sometimes they have different nuance.

In Japanese you could say 着く for “to arrive” or 到着する. Former is more casual, latter is more formal.

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If I remember correctly, in a few levels you’ll start getting assaulted by 2-4 words with the same English meaning but different kanji and nuance (usually not explained) each level. Good luck.


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