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I've been running into this trailing の particle quite often and can't seem to understand what exactly it means. Is it replacing か, or does it mean something else?

For example:

まだ生{い}きているの?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Instead of 「か」, real questions in casual speech are usually asked with the explanatory の particle or nothing at all except for a rise in intonation"

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/question

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I know that's not your own comment, but I would say questions in casual speech are often asked with , but not usually. I guess it might depend on the region, though. –  istrasci Oct 17 '13 at 14:54
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To add to what 無色受想行識 said, の is regularly used in conjunction with interrogative words, such as in どこに行くの?or 何を食べるの? Often when no interrogative word is used, rising intonation will mark that the sentence is a question, such as in 明日、パーティに行く?

Additionally, の can be used to indicate surprise or disbelief. For example,

A: 明日、パーティに行くよ。
B: 行くの? 

In this instance, B probably thought A wasn't going to the party, and is surprised to learn that he is.

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The last part about surprise is correct depending on the context BUT I just want to add that the question の and the surprise の are pronounced differently by us native speakers. The latter is pronounced more like のお compared with a short の in asking questions. –  Tokyo Nagoya Oct 20 '13 at 2:04
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