The Nuance Thread

Good morning everybody,

Thought we could do with a “words that mean the same but have an annoying nuance or which are not well explained” thread around these parts.

I have always found that the words for invite are never explained particularly well in English.
Talking about 招待、招く、誘う.
招待 = the actual “invite” itself, this is the noun.
招く = this is when you invite someone to come to you. If you are hosting a party or something, or you are already at a place 彼女をパティに招いた < Your girlfriend will be coming to your party.
誘う = this is when you invite someone to come along with you. 彼女をパティに誘った << you will be attending a party together with your girlfriend.

Another set I find are not explained well are the 訪ねる、訪れる words.
The difference here is that 訪れる is actually just to visit a place whereas 訪ねる is to visit a place with purpose. I remember it in the sense that 訪ねる has the same reading as 尋ねる which is to “ask” someone something.
So 訪ねる > Going somewhere to ask something (with a purpose).

Closing, there is also 聞く・聴く and 見る・観る but I think most are familiar with these anyway.

Has anyone else noticed any nuances between similar words?


I think anyone who cleared up the meanings of each of employment, law and consent words would probably get a lot of likes.


Do you have the Japanese words in question?

@kylesama Thank you for your explanation, it’s very interesting! It made me think of something I learnt last week.

Making plans

予約 a booking or reservation.
約束 an agreement, promise of an agreed upon event.
予定 a plan, scheduled event (something you decide on). ???recurring

As you can tell, I’m not too sure on the exact meaning of 予定.

Corrections welcome!

予定 is basically just equivalent to a “plan” to do something.
“I’m planning to go to the beach.” Or “I’m planning to eat ice cream.” “I have plans to go to Osaka.”

There is a proper plan in place to do something and it feels somewhat “decided” on already.

If you break it down into kanji its 予 which is to be foretold or predicted and 定 which is to be decided upon. So I guess, you could think of it as “already decided”?

The equivalent would be つもり which is to have the intention to do something.
Whereas 予定 has been somewhat decided on (from the 定), つもり would be more like “I want to eat ice cream.”

So following this post. Hopefully will be able to contribute something in the future.

承知 - consent
承諾 - consent
許諾 - consent
納得 - consent
承る - to consent

就業 - employment
雇用 - employment
従業 - employment

There are actually not so many for law, I just tend to get them mixed up with natural law, rule and such which are all taught at the same level


I’m familiar with 納得 but I can’t express it very well.
But its less like consent and more like acceptance, I think.

I’m not familiar with the other words enough to offer any sort of suggestions though.

Particularly with the employment ones, Japanese employment is…a complicated place.

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Most of these just boil down to our English words having multiple definitions that we just don’t think about.

就業 is having a job, being employed
雇用 is employing people to do things
従業 is… well, I’m not sure I can explain how it’s different from the first one well, but it seems to be most commonly used in the compound 従業員, which means employee. I do not believe that 就業員 is a thing.

But when in doubt, I’ve heard that if you’re just mumbling to yourself, you can always just use 個 for anything in Japanese, so keep that in mind. :wink: </trolling kyle>


I’m always struggling to understand the differences between condition, condition,condition,condition and condition… as just one example.
I think I’ll have start to jot down everything that trips me up on Kaniwani when I enter the wrong almost-synonym, and then look up the exact meanings.

避ける (さける) => to avoid (a situation)
避ける (よける) => to avoid (physical contact/movement).


Also, we should create like a wiki here where we’d list all the explanations. This way, we can always come here to clarify the difference between words while avoiding asking the same questions.


誘う ー さそう
誘う ー いざなう

Who even needs different Kanji.

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By far the worst set of vocabulary there is. I only get them by sheer luck.

Edit: And I necro’d a thread. Yay me.


Snipping this from a Leebo post for the various versions of みる:

Hopefully is helpful for other people as I for one definitely encountered 観る and wasn’t sure how it differed in nuance from 見る.

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