The confusing point of this sentence is the part, 何という名前.

Why is 名前 in the last position? Why is いう not 言う? I considered the following sentences.

  • この犬は 何名前という ですか。 Looks it's wrong.
  • この犬は 何名前 ですか。 I don't know whether it's right, but the meaning is different.
  • この犬を 何名前と言いますか。I also don't know whether it's right, but the meaning is different.

The meaning of "この犬は何という名前ですか。" seems the combination of "What name you call this dog?" and "What's the dog's name?".

Could you please show an insight about this sentence?


1 Answer 1


Think of 何 as an "unknown", suposed to be replaced with some other information. It's a placeholder to ask a question.

  • この犬はポチという名前です。 (almost the same sentence as the question's title)

This is how you would tell someone its name. So to make it a question, you replace the name with 何 and add the か particle at the end. All the other forms suggested by you result in ungrammatical ways to tell its name:

  • この犬はポチ名前といいます。
  • この犬はポチ名前です。
  • この犬をポチ名前と言います。

(the three above are wrong)

Both いう and 言う are correct. You found an example with hiraganas because not everything that can be written in kanji is written so.

Please note that the expression 「〇〇という××」 is the usual way we say "X that is called Y" (where 〇〇 corresponds to the Y), and this is why 名前 comes last.

I hope this helps. Add a comment if you have any further questions.

  • 1
    Yet many people don't realize their language complicates this simple task of turning a sentence into a question much more and complain Japanese is hard.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 31 at 15:41

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