What’s the difference between “Eto” and “Ano” in Japanese ?

Japanese people say “Eto”/「えーと」 or “Ano”/「あのー」 very often in daily conversation. You can translate them into “Umm” in English. We say them to keep the right to speak in a conversation. Is there difference between “Eto”/「えーと」 and “Ano”/「あのー」? In conclusion there is no big difference in daily conversation. Japanese people wouldn’t use them differently depending on the situation, but some people would say there is the following difference between “Eto”/「えーと」 and “Ano”/「あのー」.

1. Eto/「えーと」

Some people would say Japanese people use “Eto”/「えーと」when they fill in the gap in conversation, search memories, stories or words from the deep point in their brains and calculate something. I will introduce an example as follows.

Ex.)
A : Would you like to go to watch a movie next Saturday ?/「つぎ土曜日どようび映画えいがきませんか?」
B : Umm… yes, I can go next Saturday./「えーと、はい、つぎ土曜日どようびけますよ。」
In this case the person B tries to remember his plan next Saturday while saying “Eto”/「えーと」.

2. Ano/「あのー」

Some people would say Japanese people use “Ano”/「あのー」when they fill in the gap in conversation and look for expressions although they already decide what they would like to say. I will introduce an example as follows.

Ex.)
A : Would you like to go on a date with me next Saturday ?/「つぎ土曜日どようび、デートに行きませんか?」
B : Umm…. I’m sorry. I have an appointment next Saturday./「あのー、すみません。つぎ土曜日どようび予定よていがあります。」
In this case the person B already decided to reject that and he is thinking how to reject while saying “Ano”/「あのー」.

Summary

Some people would say there is a difference between “Eto”/「えーと」and “Ano”/「あのー」, but in daily conversation they have almost same meaning and Japanese people just say them to keep the right to speak.

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  1. Raya says:

    Yutaro’s blog is always very informative and written in a clear and interesting way! i enjoyed reading it 😊

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