difference between 速い and 早い
  • Hi, i was wondering what the difference is between 速い and 早い. In the Denshi jisho dictionary they have EXACTLY the same meanings and pronunciations, like, word-for-word. So is one used more so for compounds than the other? can both be used adverbially? arggh, so confusing...
    ANY help greatly appreciated.
  • They are theoretically interchangeable but '速い' is used more for speed, while '早い' is used more for time. I often follow the external link to Yahoo Jisho for more information.

    速い = http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&p=速い&dtype=3&dname=2na&stype=0&pagenum=1&index=03518000

    早い = http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&p=早い&stype=0&dtype=3
  • Thanks for clarifying that Richard, I am now at peace with myself, haha. And the Yahoo Jisho link is really helpful :)
  • This is true for tons of other words as well.

    聞く - Used for when you hear something from someone or just randomly come to hear something.
    聴く - Used when you actively listen to something, for example someones story.
    訊く - Used when you ask someone a question.

    All of them are used for the word きく and at least most of them are interchangable, but that is the most common usages.
  • a little bit example from me:

    電車が速いです (Densha ga hayai desu) --> The word 'HAYAI' cannot use the kanji 早い

    起きるのが早い --> the word 'HAYAI' this time uses the kanji 早い because it is related with time.

    hope everybody can cope up with my humble explanation
  • Posted By: Kenny
    [p]a little bit example from me:[/p][p]電車が速いです (Densha ga hayai desu) --> The word 'HAYAI' cannot use the kanji 早い[/p][p]起きるのが早い --> the word 'HAYAI' this time uses the kanji 早い because it is related with time.[/p][p]hope everybody can cope up with my humble explanation[/p]

    I know what you're trying to say, but your example only applies when talking about the speed of the train.
    If someone is referring to the early arrival or departure of the train, then 早い can be used.

    I don't expect people to just take my word for it, though, so I Googled it and found an example:
    「早い電車」は、出発時間の早い電車(始発など)。 HAYAI DENSHA [an early train] is a train with an early departure time (e.g. the first train).
     「速い電車」は、スピードの速い電車(特急など)。HAYAI DENSHA [a fast train] is a train with a high speed (e.g. a limited express).
  • and in this case : 早口 (hayakuchi)?
    this is not about the time right?
    please...someone help meeee!!
  • Denshi Jisho gives it with a choice of either kanji, although it only gives 早口言葉 for はやくちことば (tongue twister):


    You're right, it's not about time, it's about trying to say phrases quickly.

    I'm sorry I can't explain why that kanji is used for it, though.
  • its really complicated isn´t ?(^_^)"
    but thank you ^^
  • I did search on yahoo for the difference in meaning in between 速い and 早い, as seemed to me, that I know it really well, but I found I do know it not completely. And then found this forum. I can't just leave this discussion not finished.

    So, as you know, basically and mostly, "速" means speed like "fast", "quick" and "早" means time, timing like "early".

    There are some exceptions, as "早口", when it looks like, means about talking speed,
    but the same time it has meaning of talk speedy and "finish earlier the same sentence than usual" .

    As "早" has the meaning of "timing" "early", in this case, I guess it written with "早".

    These words in Japanese are one of those, which are not strictly defined its usage,
    so, I think you should keep basic definition of 速い and 早い,
    and then if you face the exceptions, flexibly adopt the exceptions as they are.
    (some exceptions are just happen without logics and exsist as they are.)

    Nowadays, unfortunately, Japanese people know mother language not really well,
    and you may face them using absolutely wrong way.
    It's quite critical situation.

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