I keep getting these words confused - any advice?

Hi everyone, I keep getting these words mixed up and endlessly recycling them through Guru - Apprentice:

予想 - Expectation, Anticipation, Prediction
予測 - Prediction
想定 - Hypothesis, Supposition, Assumption
仮定 - Assumption, Hypothesis
推定 - Estimate, Estimation, Assumption
推測 - Conjecture, Speculation, Guess

They all have similar (yet different) meanings as well as shared Kanji and I can’t get them to stick. I have come across a few of them when reading, but not often enough to truly remember them - I feel like I’m always guessing. Any advice? I’m so tired of seeing these words pop up in almost every review session.
Thank you!


Read more to come across the words in context, then they will stick.
If that’s not to your liking, you either make detailed mnemonics for all the kanji and connect them to their meaning or you can search up some example sentences for every word and try to get your context that way.
Last option would be to go through them again and again on WK without context, but I doubt they will ever really stick that way. :frowning_with_open_mouth:


For some of these, you can do a bit of juggling with the rough meanings of the underlying kanji.

予 - beforehand
想 - thought
測 - measure
When you think of how something is before you encounter it, that’s an expectation
When you have measurements, before you know something, you make a prediction

Though, it needs to be said, that some of these are wildly different in frequency.
These are the numbers I’m getting from an online list:
予想 - 1073.
予測 - 2295.
想定 - 2742.
仮定 - 5428.
推定 - 4874.
推測 - 4163.

Some of these are truly basically the same thing, except one of them is more scientific or exact or whatever.
Like 想定 and 仮定, they are very similar, both assumption, except 仮定 in the realm of things you expect (“Let’s assume he just chose the wrong door”) vs 想定 being stuff you don’t expect in practice, but it could be possible (“We’re doing training in case there’s a fire”).
Similar for 推定 and 推測, both estimate/guess, but 推測 is guess using previous experiences while 推定 is more using data or measurements or whatever.
I’d just take the easy way out and use the answer for them that are accepted for each problematic group, because knowing these in English almost certainly won’t help you with actual usage patterns.


Thank you, that’s very helpful!

Thank you! Yeah, I’ve tried brute forcing them on WK and it doesn’t work. I definitely need a different approach for these. :slight_smile:

With those kinds of words that are very similar, I usually don’t bother learning the specific WK definitions. I handle it with user synonyms. I’ll get the nuances eventually while consuming native content.