疑問文. Concerning the asking of questions in the Japanese language as opposed to making plain statements. Includes the various words and particles used in questions.

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4answers
24k views

What exactly is “なの” (nano)?

I asked a female Japanese friend to translate a sentence for me and it ends in "nano" which I took to be either an alternative question particle to -ne or -ka; or possibly two particles I don't know ...
21
votes
2answers
9k views

Is ending question sentences with の really feminine?

In What differences should I look out for between male vs female speech?, a lot of answers explicitly mention that ending question sentences with の is feminine. However, this makes very little sense ...
18
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4answers
617 views

Questions with ~か or without: how to choose?

Studying Japanese on my own, I've learned that in order to make a question, you usually add the particle "~か", like this: 今何時ですか。 It's also true that a question can be asked without it, using ...
17
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2answers
7k views

When asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'?

As per the title, when asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'? For example, we are taught this: おしごとは。 'What is your job?' But I don't understand why it ...
12
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2answers
495 views

Can だ ever be used in a question?

I learned in Tae Kim's Grammar Guide that だ cannot be used when asking a question. But in the book Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication by Taeko Kamiya, I found several example ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What does どうした mean and how does it differ from 何をした?

I've never really understood how どうした works and hope someone can explain or point me towards further reading. For example, in my textbook, the following question is asked in relation to a short ...
12
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4answers
865 views

To not have: 持っていません or ありません?

Whenever I go to the Life supermarket near my house, they ask me at the check out: ライフカードを持っていますか? (Do you have a Life [members] card?) I always respond with something like: いいえ、持っていません。 ...
12
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4answers
801 views

Use of ~のか (~んですか) in questions not seeking a yes/no answer

I would like to know if there is a shift in nuance in questions such as these: 誰が参加したんですか。 vs. 誰が参加しましたか。 いつ着いたんですか。 vs. いつ着きましたか。 I wish to limit discussion to only non-yes/no questions ...
10
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3answers
3k views

In what situation can I use ~かい (for interrogative question)?

One day, I asked my japanese friend how I could invite some friends to eat. He said "一緒に食べに行くかい?" I know that we could also say: 行きましょうか(行こうか)? 行きませんか(行かない)? 行きますか(行くの)? but I got interested ...
10
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2answers
371 views

What's the difference between なんと and どう

I'm having a lot of trouble working out the difference between なんと and どう。 どう is "How" e.g. これはどう書きますか "How do you write this?" and is easy for me to understand. The problem is なんと、the dictionaries ...
9
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2answers
379 views

どうしますか vs 何をしますか

I always interpreted 何 as "what" and "どう" as more of a "How or How about?" and thus was under the impression that if one wanted to ask "What will you do?" or "What did you do?" you would say 何をしますか ...
8
votes
2answers
715 views

Is it grammatical to have more than one “WH question” words in a sentence?

In English it would be strange to have more than one "WH question" word in a sentence, For example: Tomorrow, where are we meeting, at what time and to do what ? It sounds like it's grammatical ...
8
votes
1answer
271 views

When to use Dono or Nan?

I am learning Japanese using "learn Japanese in the car". It has the following sentences: Which seat is it? / Dono seki desu ka. Which train car is it? / Nan gosha desu ka. Why does one use Dono ...
7
votes
3answers
583 views

The difference between [noun phrase]+[?・なの?・ですか?・なんですか?]

Prompted by a comment thread, I was curious if my understanding of the semantic differences between [nominal phrase]? [nominal phrase]なの? [nominal phrase]ですか? [nominal phrase]なんですか? is ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

How many Kanji characters are there?

I have been searching around, but all the sources give completely different answers ranging from 2,000 to 50,000. So my question is how many Kanji characters that have ever existed since the dawn of ...
6
votes
2answers
921 views

How to ask “Do you want to be …?” question?

I'm going through my elementary Japanese learning book and another question came to mind. So, 欲しい{ほしい} means "want" and 居る{いる} means "to be", "to have" or "to exist" How does one combine the two to ...
6
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3answers
259 views

Why is it that the っけ suffix can only be attached to a question-sentence

Why is it that the っけ suffix / け particle (indicating that the speaker is trying to recall some information) can only be attached to a sentence when the sentence itself is a question-sentence? ...
6
votes
3answers
346 views

What does で mean when asked as a question?

I've come across several instances in manga where the simple question of "で?" is used. What could it mean? I'm guessing it means something like "Is that so?," but I'm not sure.
6
votes
2answers
678 views

Asking a question with “da” and “datta”

We use "desu" and "deshita" to make the polite form and "ka" to make it a question, for example: Tokyo ga suki desu ka? (Do you like Tokyo?) Tokyo ga suki deshita ka? (Did you like Tokyo?) How can ...
6
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5answers
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What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

What is the meaning of のか in the following sentences? Does it have the same meaning as のですか? 漢字はどう正しく書くのか、どう正しく読むのか、彼らは時々迷います。 参加するのか、参加しないのか、ここではっきり返事しなさい。 Also, I have found sentences of ...
6
votes
2answers
479 views

“Also…” interjection in Japanese; appending an additional request or afterthought

In Japanese, how would one go about appending an additional request or afterthought? For example: 1: お水【みず】をお願【ねが】いします。 "Water please." 2: あっ、(・・・)、氷【こおり】を入【い】れていただけませんか。 "..Ah also, ...
6
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3answers
384 views

Expressing a mild preference

I'm wondering how to express a very mild preference towards an option when being offered several choices in a conversation (e.g. when arranging a meeting time with a colleague). I am familiar with ...
6
votes
1answer
357 views

Asking somebody of higher social status whether they made a mistake

I am exchanging an email with someone of higher social status than me after noticing a possible mistake on their part. I want to say I'm wondering if a mistake has been made My first thought ...
6
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1answer
253 views

Use of question particles in plain speech

I'm becoming increasingly confused about the correct way to form questions in informal speech. I originally learned that I should replace か with の. Then I learned that that was a bit girly. Then I ...
6
votes
1answer
159 views

Interrogative for only two choices?

This is a quick one. I read in the dictionary that どれ is only supposed to be used when there are three or more choices. What word should I use if I have only two choices?
5
votes
1answer
203 views

Meaning of “でも” in “食事でもどうですか?”

I've found this sentence on alc.co.jp 食事でもどうですか and I am puzzled as to meaning this でも conveys. How does it differ from 食事はどうですか which would be my first choice; however, according to ...
5
votes
1answer
311 views

Why does どれだけ seem to mean the opposite of どれ + だけ?

The other day I read the word どれだけ which means how long; how much; to what extent. I've read several example sentences, and I that's all well and good, but I cannot shake the feeling that it's really ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

Strange question/answer pattern

The other day I overheard a question/reply pattern that confused me a bit. This is the scenario: something weird just happened in the street, and person A came up to a police officer. It went ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Meaning of のだろう?

I'm not sure when should I use particle の in front of だろう/でしょう? Is のだろう used when the speaker wonders about something to himself? For example, what would be the translation of these sentences: ...
5
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1answer
128 views

Embedded question followed by と

What is the grammar behind the use of the quote marker と in this sentence? 雨がいつ降るかと大変楽しみにしていましたが、なかなか雨が降りません。 He was looking forward to when the rain would come, but... Can I also write ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the difference between でしょうか and ですか at the end of a question?

I am having a little trouble understanding the nuance of でしょうか in comparison to ですか. People say it makes it more hesitant and polite, but that doesn't explain the nuance enough for me. Why would you ...
4
votes
3answers
304 views

Meaning of trailing の in a question

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?
4
votes
2answers
903 views

Casually asking for a person's name, more natural than 名前は何ですか。

I just learnt that 「名前は何ですか。」 sounds non-native. What would sound more natural? Let's say I am addressing a friend of a friend, same age, after a futsal game where we talked together without being ...
4
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1answer
460 views

chart for interrogative words

I have been looking for a comprehensive chart for interrogative words and their altered forms. But unfortunately I haven't been able to find one yet. So I thought maybe someone may have already come ...
4
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2answers
131 views

Comparison of 4 different ways to ask something

I'd like to understand the nuance differences between the following three ways to ask a question. Let's say I am with a friend and thinking of going of the beach. I can ask the following 4 ways. ...
4
votes
1answer
308 views

Origin of the phrase ほんや(Not 本屋)

A while back in high school my classes watched "My Boss My Hero," in which the main character says ほんや, it was translated as "What?" (I think.) In any case, I've never heard anything stylistically ...
4
votes
4answers
181 views

〜のです(か) in email

A friend has sent me an email with questions scattered throughout ending in 〜のですか, should I have 〜のです at the end of all sentences that address/answer those questions in my reply? (EDIT: Because I've ...
4
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1answer
156 views
4
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1answer
455 views

Asking someone to sing a song with me

I would like to say "Ryura! Would you like to sing 'Isshin Furan' with me and a friend?" This is what I have so far... Ryuraさん!「一心不乱」を私と一緒に歌えませんか? Please help me make it sound more fluid if ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How to ask someone to do something for you

I'd like to know how to politely ask someone (as a question, not a statement) to do something for me in Japanese. I'm already aware of the basic "___をください" and "___をおねがいします" patterns, but I don't want ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

How to say “Should we [do something]?”

I recently started talking with a Japanese "pen friend" on Skype, and I'd like to ask her "Should we speak in Japanese or English?" If I said: わたしたちは 日本語を はなしますか。 英語を はなしますか。 does that convey ...
3
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3answers
2k views

Asking “have you tried X” or “have you ever Y”?

This has always been a problem for me, so I'm hoping you guys can answer it once and for all. Often, I want to ask somebody if they've ever done something before. For example, in an email yesterday I ...
3
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1answer
3k views

Usage of nan desu?

In a few songs I've heard recently I've noticed that nan desu (without the か) has been used in what seems to be maybe a declarative or emphatic sense (not really sure), is this possible? I'm not ...
3
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1answer
544 views

Politely asking to stay at someone's home? お邪魔させてもらう、泊めてもらう、or 滞在させてもらう?

Which of the following is the most polite? Is any of them incorrect? Is there a more standard way to ask someone if you could stay with them while in town? ~ 8日から9日まで、あなたのお宅にお邪魔させてもらえませんか。 ~ ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

Negated questions

I am not sure what the response to the following question would be. 今のオリンピックは勝ち負けを気にするあまり、スポーツマンシップという大切なものをなくしているのではないか。 I am thinking it might be はい、なくしている。 but then again with the ...
3
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1answer
117 views

Questions with 辞書形 and raising tone and 辞書形+の?

I was tonight with japanese friends and I noticed they rather used a simple 辞書形 form along with a raising tone to ask a question, although we learned in class that "non-polite" questions were formed ...
3
votes
1answer
979 views

What's the difference between どうして and どうやって?

I've read on Stack Exchange that どうやって can be used to mean "what did you do in order to x" どうやってお医者になったか? — What did you do in order to become a doctor? This definition makes a lot of sense to ...
3
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1answer
49 views

What is the function of both of the のか's in this sentence

What is the function of both of the のか's in this sentence? 現代の私達にとって古代エジプトが一体どんな関係があるのか、突き詰めて言えば考古学というのが一体役に立つのか、というふうに思っている方がいるかもしれません。 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xs-XWk_oQA 0:28 ...
3
votes
1answer
650 views

When to use the particle 'ga' in questions?

I found these sentences in a book: Kaigi wa itsu arimasu ka? Kore wa nan desu ka? Could anyone please tell me why it's ..itsu desu.. and not ..itsu ga desu..Similarly, why it's ..nan desu.. ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

The meaning of 「気が合わない人といっしょに生活するぐらいなら、このまま独身でいたい。」

I would like to clarify my understanding of the following sentence. 気【き】が合【あ】わない人【ひと】といっしょに生活【せいかつ】するぐらいなら、このまま独身【どくしん】でいたい。 I believe it means something along the lines of, "if I am going to be ...