窓を閉めて。

English Translation

Close the window.

is 窓を閉じて also a valid translation of the above English sentence?

and is there any difference between 閉じる and 閉める? like there is between 開(あ)ける and 開(ひら)く

2 Likes

@japaric
This is a very simple yet difficult question! I enjoyed reading the article about the difference between 開ける and 開く on Tofugu. I was particularly impressed with the illustration of the difference between あ〜 vs. ひら〜.

I don’t personally say 窓を閉じて (とじて) at all. I sometimes say ドアを閉じて but it’s less often thanドアを閉めて (しめて).

It’s probably because most of the windows in Japan are horizontally slid (i.e. non hinged windows.) As the illustration on Tofugu shows, the image of 開く and 閉じる is like unfolding and folding, which doesn’t fit the movement of horizontal sliding of a window.

I don’t know why but I say ドアを閉めて even for a hinged door (i.e. for a non-horizontal sliding door). And I feel ドアを閉めて is more natural than ドアを閉じて. So, the illustration on Tofugu is not applied to all cases.

Here is another exception: うるさいなぁ。口を閉じて。= Your rant is annoying. Shut your mouth up!

We never ever say 口を閉めて in this context. It’s not because of the difference in the physical movement.

The only cases I can imagine from the actual usage of 口を閉めて is to close a brown bag etc. with a string or to turn off a faucet.

Sorry for my messy answer. I may add my follow-on explanation later.

2 Likes