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What's the difference between ね and な as tag questions? For example: そうですね vs そうだな

Is there any difference in level of politeness? Does one sound more masculine than the other?

Edit: The examples above are pretty vague (or even just plain wrong in terms of actually being tag questions). The more concrete example from Amanda S better illustrates my question: パーティは明日だな? (The party is tomorrow, right?) vs あの子はたけしですね? (That child is Takeshi, right?)

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I think the examples you give in this question make it unclear. そうですね is more often used idiomatically to indicate agreement ("Yes, that is true") than as a tag question ("That's true, isn't it?"). Something more concrete, like 会議は今日だ + ね/な might help clarify your question and get you better answers. –  Amanda S Jun 2 '11 at 0:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The particles ね and な have several different uses, but one is to turn a statement into a tag question. For example:

  • あの子はたけしです (That child is Takeshi) / あの子はたけしですね? (That child is Takeshi, right?)
  • パーティは明日だ (The party is tomorrow) / パーティは明日だな? (The party is tomorrow, right?)

For this usage:

  • ね is more formal and more feminine
  • な is more informal and more masculine
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Thanks. Answers the questions I was trying to ask. –  Shane Jun 3 '11 at 4:23
    
@Pacerier There can be, but there isn't usually. It's like the difference between saying "The party is tomorrow, right?" and "The party is tomorrow...right?" –  Amanda S Jun 21 '11 at 5:21

I think that there's some confusion in the types of そう in your sentences. In the first one (そうですね) the meaning is "It is so" or "I agree with you". It's used like this:

A: さむいですね。(It's cold, isn't it?)
B: そうですね。 (It is, isn't it.)

In the second one, the そうだな (or そうだなぁ with a rising tone) can be used to mean "That looks/appears to be..."

A: さむそうだな。 (It looks cold)
B: そうですね。 (It does, doesn't it)

I might be wrong, but I think you can also answer this with "そうだな", which is agreeing in the same way as そうだね.

As for the other questions, な does sound more masculine, and not polite.

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+1 closest thing to a correct answer :) –  repecmps Jun 2 '11 at 1:17

な by itself does not indicate a tag question; it is used to add emotional emphasis to a sentence. However, it can be combined with か. 〜かな can generally be translated as "I wonder if ...".

There's also the other, unrelated form of 〜な which forms a casual command to not do something. For example, 心配するな means "Don't worry".

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ねcan also be appended to か e.g. そうかね? or そうですかね –  syockit Jun 1 '11 at 22:51
    
+1 for ~するな (しないで) –  repecmps Jun 2 '11 at 1:19
    
Can you clarify what you mean by な adding "emotional emphasis" to a sentence? If we consider the examples of 明日は無理だ。 and 明日は無理だな。, the な actually seems to subtract from the emphasis and make the sentence a bit softer. –  Derek Schaab Jun 2 '11 at 21:19
    
I understand the unrelated "command to not do something" usage, but I'm unclear on the "emotional emphasis" usage. Can you give an example and explain how it's different from a tag question? –  Shane Jun 3 '11 at 4:52

I don't know what you mean by tag question, but your example is a usage of emotional emphasis as explained by sartak.

In that case, ですね is implicitly more polite than だな, but that's more due to the copula used (ですvsだ). Usage of な is seen more often in masculine speech; even when casually speaking, feminine speech tend to end with ね (i.e. そうだね). な can also be used with です although it's mostly seen in older men. Some males with 僕 personality (as opposed to 俺) tend to use ね instead, though I'm only speaking from experience about this one.

EDIT: after being given the wikipedia link by @Amanda, I can safely say the same rule applies for tag questions too. E.g. あなたはまだ契約していないのですね is more formal than あなたはまだ契約してないんだな

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_question –  Amanda S Jun 1 '11 at 23:02

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