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I wanted to ask my language partner what he ate for breakfast. However, I was unsure whether what I said was correct despite him telling me that it's good - I would just like some verification.

I said:

朝ご飯は何を食べましたか。

I'm unsure whether this is "correct" as in is this how one would normally ask another person what they ate for breakfast?

The Google-translated equivalent is:

(あなたは)朝食に何を食べたのですか?

I don't like to rely heavily on Google-translated sentences to verify if what I mean/say is correct. What is the difference (if any) between these two sentences and is what I said grammatically correct?

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    I'm sure Google took the "for" and translated it to に.
    – istrasci
    Dec 19, 2014 at 23:34

1 Answer 1

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朝ご飯は何を食べましたか。

This is correct. You're literally saying, "As for breakfast, what did you eat?"

朝食に何を食べたのですか?

Google is using the particle に to indicate at in a similar manner to that of 今週末に (this weekend), however, に is usually omitted for relative times. They're both grammatically correct. "At breakfast, what did you eat?"

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  • Thank you for your answer, it helped me better understand this. I just have to ask , what is the common way (formally) of asking what did you have for breakfast?
    – Nubcake
    Dec 20, 2014 at 0:00
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    I think both に and は forms are common. I might use は myself. Aside from that, usually using 熟語{じゅくご} are more formal than not. So in that case, using 朝食{ちょうしょく}.
    – user224579
    Dec 20, 2014 at 0:22
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    @user224579 I agree. In this case に is "for" or "as", the only particle to fit in this sentence. は is omission (contraction?) of には. Dec 20, 2014 at 6:31
  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/17784/9831
    – Chocolate
    Mar 14, 2019 at 9:07

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