What's the difference between these kanji?


What’s the difference?


These all mean “action.” Is there some nuance between all of them?


Welcome to the site!

As for 初めて vs 始めて

The adverb はじめて, meaning “for the first time” is usually written 初めて. With this meaning, it is a fossilized expression and not a verb form that can be altered.

The verb, はじめる, meaning “to begin something” is usually written 始める. This can be conjugated in a variety of ways, since it’s just a normal verb. So you can have 始めた, 始めよう, 始めない (among others), and of course 始めて. In this sense, 始めて is the て form of 始める, and it has no special meaning as an expression beyond just what the verb in the て form can mean.

Again, this is just how they usually are written, but you could tell from context if the adverb was written 始めて. The grammar would tell you what version it was.


Thanks for the warm welcome!
I’ve been learning Japanese grammar for several years now, but not kanji, so that explanation makes perfect sense. Thanks so much. :slight_smile:


for real… i still don’t understand all the actions :sob:

It’s always worth checking out the example sentences
仕草 - action in the sense of gesture, movement
活動 - activity, lively movement, makes sense
作用 - not sure how the action meaning comes into the picture ngl, even the example sentences use “effect” as in side effect
行動 - actions, as in your behaviour, your past action, etc etc

Edit: apparently 作用 is action in the sense, that you act upon something, or alternatively a reaction


Also, JP→JP dictionaries. They clarify a lot of confusion around what seem to be synonyms in English translation, but aren’t actually really synonyms at all.

And they can tell you other uses as well, like 仕草 also being used for the things actors do on stage, 活動 also being short for 活動写真, and 作用 also being a physics term.


Do you have any JP to JP dictionary apps you can recommend?

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JP→JP dictionaries in Yomichan are probably the easiest thing to use on the internet. I followed this guide and have monolingual dictionaries prioritised over JP→EN ones. I also set the grouping mode in Yomichan’s settings to “Group term-reading pairs” so the English definitions are easily available if I can’t make sense of the Japanese one (or I don’t want to spend the extra effort to parse the Japanese definition).

Otherwise, I tend to use https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/ or https://www.weblio.jp/ - Goo has a slightly more pleasant interface to use IMO, but Weblio tends to include more context and additional information (like slang usages and example sentences).


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