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 across one here, since there are a lot of people online.

I'm not sure if I see the whole picture clearly when it comes to interrogative words, mainly if we use their altered forms. Such as

何 - what...?

何か - something

何も - nothing

何でも - anything/everything

だれ - who...?

だれか - somebody

だれも - nobody だれでも - anybody/everybody

And in the case of だれでも, we can even say だれにでも, right? Which means "not to/for anybody" or "to/for everybody".

In addition, if I remember correctly if I use negative verb form with だれも, it means nobody; while if I have a positive verb form, だれも carries the meaning 'everybody'. Then if I say だれにも, its meaning can also differ according to that. Is it right or I am just confused?

So this topic seems to be very diversified. If somebody has a comprehensive chart for these words, I would be very grateful if I could see it, since there are so many interrogative words.


1 Answer 1


So in short, you're looking for the variations of the question words and what they mean, put into logical groupings. Is that on the mark?

Formatting literal tables is a bit of a pain here, so I'll provide bulleted lists for each of the words here to explain in more details instead of using table rows. The form will be as follows:

base - meaning

  • base + か - meaning
  • base + も - meaning
  • base + でも - meaning

For quick reference, the basic principle is that adding か is similar to the English prefix "some-", も is similar to the English "every-", and でも is similar to the English "any-". Whether it's positive or negative (e.g. "everyone" vs. "no one") is determined by the verb at the end of the sentence. These are general rules though, so skim the list below, as there are a couple of words that don't use some of these endings.

Unless otherwise noted, "the dictionary" will refer to the ウィズダム英和辞典 / ウィズダム和英辞典 when used below.

誰【だれ】 - who

  • 誰【だれ】か - someone
  • 誰【だれ】も - everyone
  • 誰【だれ】でも - anyone

どなた - polite form of who

どなた does not appear to take any particles. See also どちら further down.

何【なに】 - what

  • 何【なに】か - something
  • 何【なに】も - everything
  • 何【なん】でも - anything

The slightly less formal 何【なん】か is also in common use with the same meaning.

何【なに】 is also combined with a limited number of set words to create other interrogative words (e.g. 何者【なにもの】 who, 何故【なにゆえ】 why). I haven't found many examples documenting particles being added to these, but if they were to be added it would be after the full compound, not directly after 何【なに】.

どんな - what kind of

どんな does not appear to use any of the particles appended to the end.

いつ - when

  • いつか - sometime
  • いつも - every time, all the time
  • いつでも - any time

どこ - where

  • どこか - somewhere
  • どこも - everywhere
  • どこでも - anywhere

なぜ - why

  • なぜか - for some reason (dictionary also suggests なんとなく, which I've personally heard more often)

なぜも and なぜでも don't exist.

なぜ can be written in kanji as 何故 (similar to 何故【なにゆえ】 above), however the kana form is far more prevalent.

なんで - why

なんで doesn't usually take additional particles (I imagine to reduce confusion with なんでも, for example), however I have seen なんででも used a few times to mean "for whatever reason".

どう - how

  • どうか - somehow
  • どうも - somehow
  • どうでも - anyhow/however [it turns out]

The dictionary defines どうか and どうも as "somehow"; I'm not entirely clear on the specifics of when to use either.

どうして - how/by what means?

  • どうしても - somehow
  • どうしてでも - any way (may have seen this one once or twice, but it's comparatively rare. My usual dictionaries don't have it, but I did find it here.)

どうしてか doesn't exist. どうして is also sometimes translated as "why?".

いかが - how

I can't find any examples of いかが taking additional particles.

どの - which

I can't find any examples of particles being appended to どの. For meanings along those lines, see どれ below.

どれ - which one (of 3 or more choices)

  • どれか - something (from among the options available)
  • どれも - every one
  • どれでも - any one

どちら - which one

どちら is an amazingly flexible word. Its uses include:

  • which way?
  • polite form of どの・どれ
  • polite form of どこ
  • polite form of 誰【だれ】

In the context of "which one", I've found examples using 〜も and 〜でも, as follows:

  • どちらも - everything
  • どちらでも - anything

どちらか does not appear to exist. That said, 〜も and 〜でも appear to be usable following the general principles outlined at the top of the post.

どちら can also be shortened to the informal どっち, which likewise is commonly used with 〜も and 〜でも without any major shifts in meaning.

いくら - how much

  • いくらか - a little bit (少し【すこし】 is probably a more common alternative to this)
  • いくらも - a lot of
  • いくらでも - as much as one wants; unlimited

いくつ - how many

  • いくつか - a few
  • いくつも・いくつでも - as many as
  • どの is not limited to 2 choices (どの季節が一番好きですか?). You were probably thinking of どっち. 何故 is also (and I think more modernly) read as なぜ.
    – istrasci
    May 21, 2014 at 21:41
  • I'd deliberately left off 何故【なぜ】 as I didn't want to get trapped into providing all the obscure kanji that aren't seen often as well (e.g. 何処、何時), but I guess since 何故【なにゆえ】 is up there it should be clarified.
    – Kaji
    May 21, 2014 at 21:51
  • 1
    Curious about your statement that どなた doesn't take particles. Googling for "どなたでも" and "どなたも" each find literally millions of hits. Likewise for "どちらか". Apr 19, 2022 at 22:15
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi Long time no see! Hard to believe it's been 9 years since I posted this. Emphasis on "does not appear to" in the original answer; especially at the time I do not recall seeing any uses of it with も・でも, etc. As always, however, open to updating the answer as more complete information becomes available.
    – Kaji
    Apr 21, 2022 at 0:45
  • @Kaji, as the saying goes, "time flies like an arrow". Also, "fruit flies like a banana"! 😆 Cheers! Apr 21, 2022 at 0:47

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