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I've always had trouble understanding か (question particle) in casual speech. I read that in casual situations, か can be used to give the sentence an exasperated or sarcastic tone. Like in:

負けっかよ! As if I'd lose!

I think that I understand that usage reasonably well. What confuses me however is when か is used with a sentence that clearly should be a question (i.e. it has a question mark or a question word). For example:

やってみるか? Want to give it a try?

I believe I've read that か is unnecessary (and not used) in casual speech to ask a question and questions are simply conveyed through a rising intonation or the addition of の(だ). Could someone explain how is the above sentence different in terms of tone or nuance from the same sentence omitting か 「やってみる?」?

Furthermore, on a similar note I believe, the sentence final particle combination のか?! seems to occur frequently. I'm not really sure what to make of this one. I thought の might be the explanatory の but how can one both explain and ask a question? For example:

そんな嘘にオレがだまされっと思ってんのか!? Do you think I'd be taken in by a lie like that?! (I'm not confident of this translation)

How would that sentence's meaning be affected if it were instead: そんな嘘にオレがだまされっと思ってんの!? or そんな嘘にオレがだまされっと思ってんか!?

Thank you very much for reading my post to the end : ). I know this question isn't that specific but any and all help is appreciated. Thanks again!

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You are talking about two differents things. の and か have both specific meanings. Using both just add those meanings. –  oldergod Mar 21 '13 at 7:29

2 Answers 2

Your translation was correct in meaning.


I think the latter is the more colloquial version of the following:


So this:


has the same meaning with perhaps less inquisitive emphasis, while this:


sounds less natural to me. I think one could say the sentence in the last way, but it becomes very slangy, almost to a rarefied extent. (perhaps it would sound immature or "country" to a native listener, but I lack the expertise to say)

So in conclusion, yes, you can make a sentence a question simply by altering the tone of the words, but obviously adding か makes it a more "complete expression."


これ食べる? You eat this?

これを食べますか? Do you eat this?

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@chocolate, thank you. is this ungrammatical or non-existent:思ってんのですか ? –  yadokari Mar 23 '13 at 4:38
I don't think it's ungrammatical, but it sounds awkward... hmm. 思って(い)る"の"ですか normally changes to 思ってる"ん"ですか when we talk, and 思って"る"んですか is often shortened to 思ってんですか (dropping る) when talking casually or angrily, but 思って"る"のですか doesn't change to 思って"ん"のですか keeping the の. (なんでかな・・) –  Choko Mar 23 '13 at 22:25

I feel that やってみる (with rising intonation) is always a direct question directed towards someone else.

On the other hand, やってみるか is technically a question, but feels more like a rhetorical question, or a question that is directed towards yourself.

(However, sometimes a rising intonation doesn't work to mark a question, like in やってみよう. Then, か makes it a normal question, that is not necessarily directed to yourself.)

About the combination のか, I think that の is the nominalizer (which may have an explanatory function when used by itself). Then の strengthens the whole sentence and, when used with か, strengthens the question.

By the way,


is not quite the correct counterpart to the original sentence. The る in 思っとる gets shortened to ん, but only because の follows it. Omitting の, る does not contract to ん, i.e.


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