What is the difference between 大した & 大切 ?

are they interchangeable or are they used for different things.

Thanks in advance

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Well, for one thing, 大切 can mean “precious” while 大した can’t.

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大した – “(1)程度がはなはだしいさまをいう。非常な。たいへんな。ふつうはよい意味に用いられるが,時に悪い意味にも用いられることがある。”

Esssentially, it’s about something going to a very large degree. Often used positively, but it can work negatively too. It’s sort of a more neutral, large amount sort of thing.

大切 --(1)重要であるさま。肝要。大事。「―な点」「―な役目」
(2)価値が高いさま。貴重。大事。「―な品」「―な命」「―な資源」

All of these definitions relate more to something being important, valuable, precious, etc. There’s a baked in value judgment.

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Firstly, they’re different parts of speech:

  • 大した is what EDICT calls a “pre-noun adjectival”, which means it needs to be in front of a noun and modifies it, eg たいした問題 a big problem; 大した人出 a huge crowd.
  • 大切 is a na-adjective, which means that it can modify a noun with a na, like 大切なもの “important/valuable things”, and you can also use it at the end of a sentence as a predicate, like 柔道では力より技のほうが大切である。 “In judo, technique is more important than strength”, and also as an adverb: 私は古い本を大切に保存している。 “I keep old books with care”.

The meanings are also different, as @trunklayer says and as maybe you can gather from the examples. 大した is more “there’s a lot of it, it’s extreme, it’s a big deal”; 大切 is more “it’s important, it’s valuable, it’s significant”.

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