What's the difference between these synonyms?
  • So I'll probably be coming back to this topic to post questions over a period of time, because I constantly have questions about the difference between synonyms. I know the meaning, but I tend to lose sight of the nuances.
    So, first pair:
    盗む and 奪う
    Is it the same thing to say X ga nusumareta vs X ga ubawareta?

    Another pair:
    寝る vs 眠る

  • The best thing for these is usually to look at example sentences or J-J dictionaries with more specific definitions (I use the interface at http://dic.yahoo.co.jp ).

    Anyway, for the act of stealing something (like a bag or car):
    盗む = to secretively take something that's not yours (e.g. a pickpocket)
    奪う = to with force take something that's not yours (e.g. a mugger)

    盗む is also used when talking about the theft of ideas (plagiarism)
    奪う is also used to talk about depriving people of something (e.g. 命が奪われた, 権利を奪われた)
    Also in forms like 心を奪われる (I don't think this has the negative nuance other uses of 奪う does).

    寝る = to lie down/go to bed (also for "sleeping with" someone).
    眠る = to close your eyes/sleep (also sometimes a metaphor for death) (easier to remember the difference if you know 眠い)

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