さっぱり vs すっきり: Perfect Guide to Use for Beginners
I’d say one of the complicated words are さっぱり and すっきり which you feel similar, don’t you? However, they have subtle differences. I believe when you figure out these differences, your Japanese would be more natural. Let me introduce how you correctly use さっぱり and すっきり in daily conversations today!
さっぱり(sappari) / さっぱり___ない(sappari___nai)
Refresh / Completely, Absolutely
“さっぱり(sappari)” means “Refresh” and it has some meanings. The basic way to use it is “___がさっぱりしている。(___ is refreshing.)” for foods such as “このサラダはさっぱりしている。(This salad is refreshing.) “, however, “すっきり” can’t be used for foods. “このサラダはすっきりしている” is wrong. Secondly, when you use “さっぱり___ない” in negative sentences, that would mean “Not Completely/Absolutely” such as “さっぱり分からない。(I completely/absolutely don’t understand.)”, “さっぱり出来ない。(I completely/absolutely can’t do it.)”, etc which is used as an emphasizing word. Everyone could use “さっぱり” as casual, polite and formal such as “このサラダはさっぱりしてるね。(This salad is refreshing.) ” as casual, and “このサラダはさっぱりしていますね。(This salad is refreshing.) ” as polite and formal. Lastly, “さっぱり” is used as the meaning of “Refresh” because UNNECESSARY things are removed.
Refresh / Clear
“すっきり(sukkiri)” is “refresh and clear” and has been used as the meaning of something looks “ORDERLINESS”, unlike “さっぱり”. Most learners often get confused about these sentences that “頭がスッキリする and 頭がさっぱりする。”. Again “さっぱり” has the meaning of “UNNECESSARY things are removed.”, so “頭がさっぱりする。” means “I feel refreshed (because of having someone’s haircut.)”, whereas “頭がスッキリする。” means “It’s all clear./I feel refreshed.” because your thinking is organized. Furthermore, the difference between “さっぱりした部屋 and すっきりした部屋” is that さっぱりした部屋; there are no UNNECESSARY things in the room such as a TV, sofa, desk, etc. Whereas, すっきりした部屋; although there are a lot of things in the room which are a TV, sofa, table, chair, bed, bookshelf, etc looks well-organized so they are ORDERLINESS. Lastly, “髪を切ってさっぱりしました。” is used for your appearance and “髪を切ってすっきりしました。” is used for your feeling refreshed. Everyone could use “すっきり” as casual, polite and formal such as “これで頭がすっきりしたよ。(This helped clear my head.)” as polite and “これで頭がすっきりしました。(This helped clear my head.)” as polite and formal.