situations/conditions: 状況, 状態, 事情, 情勢

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by adexx, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. adexx

    adexx Senior Member

    Hey guys,

    What are the differences between there words, which all mean "situations/conditions": 状況、状態、事情、情勢
    I'm always confused and don't know which to use in which case.

    Tks in advance.
  2. Tonky Senior Member

    I can say that 事情 is an odd one out, it basically means "reason" or "circumstance" rather than "situation/condition", or "the reason based on the situation/condition the target is facing".

    In short, 状態 in general is said to be talking about a target as a thing/item/モノ(物/者). 状況 is said to be talking about how the target changes. The target can be モノ, コト(事), affairs, relationships and so on.

    患者の状態... the condition of the patient; how the patient is. (the speaker treats the patient as モノ, but not to disrespect, of course.)
    患者の状況... the situation of the patient; how the illness or recovery is going on.
    患者の事情... the reason of the patient. <e.g.> why he or she cannot pay, why he or she didn't come see the doctor sooner, why a surgery for the patient would be difficult (possibly because of the patient's situations/conditions, thus translated as "situations/conditions"), etc. would need context to decide anyways.

    情勢 is talking about the state of affairs; how the situation/状況 has been changing or will change, but in respect of much longer time frame than 状況. It is mainly used in politics, such as 社会情勢、国際情勢、シリア情勢. 情勢's ”勢” is 勢力(power, faction)’s "勢".

    I think it would be much better and easier for both you and us if you can provide some example sentences you have in mind, so people here can start explaining more easily and tell you which one should be used in each case.
    (To be completely honest, I really cannot tell the difference of conditions, situations and some others in English either :p If you could provide that, then we may be able to compare them with Japanese definitions as well.)
  3. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    状況 is good for mentioning a situation or sb's situation. 状態 covers a wider range than other three, such as sb's health condition and scientific topics. You can ask: 彼の状態はどうですか?This is when you ask about his condition. But see 水の状態、回路の状態..they're roughly conditions or statuses.
    事情、情勢 are more circumstance or affair. Do you know the journal called Foreign Affairs? 事情、情勢 are closer to this one. But 事情 suggests more a personal case, I think, and I feel 'sb's background', too.

    Yup it's confusing as well when we choose situation, condition, circumstance, or affair. And mine is a rough if you all have any better information;)
  4. adexx

    adexx Senior Member

    Thank you both, I think I somewhat get the idea.

    So, let me try (correct me if I'm wrong):
    - "How's the situation of the project?" (what's going on, is it going well etc.) -> project の状況?
    - Does he know about your situation (that you're very poor and cannot pay back his loan)? -> 彼は君の事情わかるの?
    - How's the condition of your phone after you dropped it yesterday? -> 携帯の状態?
    For 情勢, I cannot think of anything right now... Could you guys give some examples?

    And what about "In this situation/condition, I think it'll be very difficult for us to win the negotiation" -> which word to use here?

  5. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    All very nice, perfect! If I humbly suggest you and tiny info: 事情 includes 'a cause/obstacle disturbing sb', as you said 'you're very poor and cannot pay back his loan'.
    情勢? We often say 世界情勢. 世界の情勢は変わりつつある。 This is really like the journal 'Foreign Affairs'.

    あはは・・むずかしいなあ。The most common would be 「この状況では、I think it'll be..」. But you can select この状態では, too. Not so weird. If you say 「この事情では、I think it'll be..」, this sounds that there's a difficult background or obstacle, giving a negative suggestion a bit.
  6. Tonky Senior Member

    わかってるの? instead of わかるの? should match here because わかるの would be read as a future tense, like "Will he understand ~?"
    (otherwise, it looks perfectly fine.)

    The hottest examples would be found with "中東情勢(situations in the middle-east)" right now.中東情勢
    But it is not a common word you use for daily conversations, unless you talk a lot about politics with your friends. As I said it was related to 勢力, it often talks about faction maps and histories/events, as in, who had the power, what happened, how it changed, who has what kind of power now and so on.

    As for the last question, as frequency said, it depends on the content of the said situation/condition, I think.
    In business talk, I often hear 現状では instead though. 現状=現在の状況/状態
    Please note that 状態 is always talking about the target at the certain(limited) moment the speaker chose; you see what it is like at the chosen moment but not about the past or future, while 状況 is usually referring to the changes; how it was, how it is, and how it will be, but not in a long time frame.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  7. adexx

    adexx Senior Member

    Thank you both very much! I get it now (I think).

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