What’s the difference between ひらく and あける?

開(ひら)く and 開(あ)ける both mean “to open.”

閉(と)じる and 閉(し)める both  mean “to close.” 

So what’s the difference between each?

開(ひら)く is to open something that is shut or folded. 閉(と)じる is the opposite.

ex:

本(ほん)を開く/閉じる
open/close the book

門(もん)を開く/閉じる
open/close the gate

傘(かさ)を開く/閉じる
open/close the umbrella


開(あ)ける is to open something that is closed off. 閉(し)める is the opposite.

ex:

ドアを開ける/閉める
open/close the door

ふたを開ける/閉める
open/close the lid

店(みせ)を開ける/閉める
open/close the shop

There are some situations where both are correct. For example, “to open a window” can be:

窓(まど)を開(ひら)く

窓(まど)を開(あ)ける

Both are correct, but it depends on the type of window you are opening or the reason. When you open the window for fresh air, it would be 窓を開ける because you’re opening something that is closed off.

If you want to learn more opposite verbs, you can download the flashcards here, or watch the video here.

またね!
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *