Place vs Place? 所 vs 場所

Don’t know if someone wrote about this already but what is up with the double kanji words meaning the same thing as the single kanji ones? For example, 所 equals 場所? I’m just curious about how these would be used in the real world. I assume they’re both used in different grammatical situations but can’t figure out exactly what that would be. Since this seems to come up a lot with other words, I assume someone else is also curious.

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IME, ところ can be more abstract than ばしょ usually is. ところ is also often used in a temporal sense.

場所へ - towards that place
所へ - shortly thereafter

A good way to try and figure it out is to do a sentence search for each on Jisho.


Usually the one with one kanji came from Japanese originally and the one with two kanji came from Chinese originally. It’s no different from how we have Germanic and Latin origin words in English that mean generally the same thing, for instance. They just tend to get used differently.

As mentioned above, ところ has abstract uses, like you can say which ところ of something you like, meaning “which part or point” did you like, of a novel, presentation, etc. You can’t do the same with ばしょ. Using ばしょ would only refer to a physical place.

ところ can get even more abstract than that, since it can be used as a grammatical element.

Using [verb]ところ focuses in on that specific instant described by the verb, allowing you do express things that otherwise might be less clear.

出かけるところです - I am just about to leave.
電話するところだった - I was just about to call.
仕事が終わったところです - Work just finished.

Note that, generally speaking, when words get used abstractly they often don’t get written with their kanji.


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