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I know that people often ask [兄弟]{きょうだい}いますか but does this mean "do you have siblings?" or just "do you have brothers?".

Since the answer would be different in either case:

(Has a sister) "No, but I have a sister" or would it be "Yes, I have a sister" (Has a brother) "Yes I do"

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

When you say 兄弟いますか, it normally means "Do you have siblings?" (You'd say like お兄さんか弟(さん)いますか/いる? to mean "Do you have brothers?") I think 兄弟(は)いますか?/兄弟(は)いる(の)? will normally be responded with



You'll say "No" when you're the only child:


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What about 兄弟姉妹 for asking about siblings? – istrasci Jan 16 '14 at 16:17
..and what about 姉妹 for asking for sisters? – Earthliŋ Jan 16 '14 at 17:07
I think 兄弟(か)姉妹はいますか is seen in formal situations or in the written style (eg. 相続, 法律関係...). When asking for sisters, I think you'd say like 「[女]{おんな}(の)[兄弟]{きょうだい}はいますか。」「お姉ちゃんか妹いる?」 in conversation. – user1016 Jan 17 '14 at 5:39
As a side note, I've seen きょうだい (in hiragana) used to refer to 兄と妹 in the newspaper. I've also seen [兄妹]{きょうだい} and [姉弟]{きょうだい} (probably in a novel? essay? or newspaper). – user1016 Jan 17 '14 at 5:44

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