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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25
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4answers
21k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
559 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 ...
12
votes
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
votes
4answers
819 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
votes
4answers
770 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
479 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 ...
10
votes
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
votes
2answers
340 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
335 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
652 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
250 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
495 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
9k 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
905 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
votes
3answers
256 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
334 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
5answers
2k views

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
3answers
364 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
320 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
votes
1answer
246 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
156 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
2answers
423 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
342 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
186 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
296 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
121 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
289 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
887 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
votes
1answer
301 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
155 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
votes
1answer
1k 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: ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views
3
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
3answers
876 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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
votes
1answer
490 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
1answer
384 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
153 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
votes
1answer
868 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
votes
1answer
47 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
376 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
1k 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
1answer
137 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
190 views

Using と to mark a question

I've been working on listening practice again. This time, I'm watching the first episode of an anime series called スケッチブック 〜full color's〜. In the first episode, a certain character asks three ...
3
votes
1answer
357 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
240 views

どこでも vs. どこにでも vs. どこも

What is the the difference between どこでも vs. どこにでも vs. どこも? I though どこでも was anywhere, どこにでも was everywhere, and どこも was also everywhere... but then I didn't know what the difference would be between ...
2
votes
3answers
135 views

Omitting ようだ at the end of a sentence

父はデジタルカメラの講習を受けに行ったが、あまりの難しさにびっくりしたようだ。 So this sentence is saying, "my dad went to take a short course on digital cameras, but it was difficult to the point of surprising him." Could you say ...
2
votes
1answer
513 views

“How to say this in Japanese?”

これは日本語で言い方ですか kore ha nihongo de iikata desu ka Is this correct? I want to point to something and ask how do you say that in Japanese. Base 2 + かた means how to.