View topic - comparing words
Same pronounciation; different meaning
1. Hanasu (話す) = to speak: Watashi wa sensei to hanashimasu = I talk with (the) teacher.
2. Hanasu (放す) = to let go: Watashi wa neko wo hanashimashita = I let the cat go.
3. Hanasu (離す) = to separate: Watashi wa kenka shiteiru gakusei wo hanashimashita = I separated the students who were fighting.
Same meaning, different context
1. Wakaru (分かる): Sensei, shitsumon ga wakarimasen = Teacher, I don't understand the question.
2. Rikaisuru (理解する): Jinsei no mokuteki wo rikai shitai desu = I want to understand the purpose of life.
3. Benkyousuru (勉強する): Raishuu, shiken ga aru node, kore wo benkyou shinakereba narimasen = I have to study these topics because of the coming test next week.
4. Manabu (学ぶ): Yume no tame ni, iro iro no koto wo manabanakereba narimasen = In order to achieve my dream, I have to study a lot of things.
Note: Manabu also means "to learn" which is different from "narau (習う)" and "osowaru (教わる)". Sorry, I couldn't explain them.
Similar meaning, different situation
1. Youyaku (ようやく): At last, I can watch Japanese drama without relying on the subtitles.
2. Yatto (やっと): After searching every single corner of the house for hours, I finally found the lost key.
3. Tsuini (ついに): After a while, he finally came.
4. Iyoiyo (いよいよ): Finally, it's time to return these textbooks.
5. Toutou (とうとう): The research of so many years is finally completed.
6. Kekkyouku (結局): In the end, a dream is just a dream.
*at last/finally, etc.
Also, I haven't read much myself but I think this book (Kodansha's Effective Japanese Usage Dictionary) should elaborate the usages more for the second and the third cases.
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