I'm a bit confused about how "しかい" is used in this sentence I came across while studying:

そこには私一人しかいなかった。 "I was the only one there."

My guess is that it is an ending to "一人", but I couldn't find any information supporting that.


It's actually the particle しか "nothing but/nobody but" plus いなかった, the negative past form of いる "to be/to exist" (animate). Your translation is right. It means "I was the only one there".

The particle しか is always paired with negative verbs like this. Taking an example from A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (p.401):

Nobody but Bob came. = Only Bob came.

The particle しか works the same way in your example.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.