Son & Toku

損する そんする to lose
得する とくする to make a profit

A friend used the first term, そんする, when she was talking about going to the supermarket to find it closed and having to go back later. So rather than ‘lose’, perhaps ‘lost out’ or ‘wasted time’ would be a better translation?

とくする can be used, for example, when you feel like you’ve got something for a good price; when you pick up a cheap bargain. Maybe in this case it would be similar to かちがある – value for money?


  1. 微妙ですね!
    Japanese is such that there are subtle nuances between each type of seemingly similar verbs and nouns and adjectives that it is difficult for a native to explain.

  2. Tell me about it!

  3. wow talk about native confusion… i read what you wrote, darren: “tell me about it!”…
    and at first i thought you were saying to saffonsaris-san “please tell me more about which you just said you cannot explain”… which seemed weird.
    when actually you were saying colloquially: “i know what you mean”
    now, i’m a native english speaker, and i got that confused!

  4. Heather, too much time in Japan, perhaps… Well, I know the feeling.

  5. またまた通りすがりの日本人です。
    I cannot chose one english word for it, but if i would explain it,
    そんする is not to get something you have expected though you have spent time/money/effort for it, especially when all the process have come out in vain, which disappoints you or makes you feel unlucky.
    とくする is to get something good you haven’t expected or more than you have expected, which makes you feel lucky.
    so your idea seems very close and I’m afraid this may not be helpful anymore, but just in case you are still wondering about it.