yo so I was wondering when to use certain meanings of words that have similar meanings. For example, shiteisuru (sorry dont have keyboard yet lol) which means to appoint. It also means to specify, to assign, and to designate. How do I tell which meaning is being used? Is it up to me to decide or is to appoint the one used most and generally considered to be the one being used?

To me that’s more of the fact that the Japanese meaning corresponds to many possible English expressions, as opposed to there being many different Japanese meanings.

指定する usually means

But in English you can say “assign a role” (役割を指定する), or “specify a time” (時間を指定する) or “designate a leader” (リーダーを指定する) and they all mean what is described in that Japanese definition (何々を特にそれとさして決める). So, the English glosses don’t necessarily indicate that there are many meanings you have to remember.

In this case, they are there because it would be unfair to answer with something that is applicable and have it be marked wrong.

There are certainly other words where the English glosses do represent totally different Japanese meanings though. In those cases, checking the monolingual dictionary entries probably will be best for establishing what is what.


ah ok this makes sense a little. So i should i think of it more as corresponding to English sentences with words that often go together (designate a leader, etc.)?

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Yeah, it’s just that the idea of “which should I use” is a reflection on English, not Japanese. For the purposes of the Japanese, these are all one expression.