All of my studies so far have suggested that i-adjectives never take だ (です can be used to make the sentence polite). Then I came across this sentence:


I'm the greatest in the world??

I'm not really comfortable with what the って is doing at the end here and I don't understand why だ is needed. How does this grammar work and how does the nuance differ from


1 Answer 1


There is nothing incorrect or ungrammatical about the sentence:


because this is different from saying:

「私が世界で一番偉い。」, which is ungrammatical.

「だって」 in the sentence in question is placed after a quote, is it not?

私が世界で一番偉いだって?? =

『私が世界で一番偉い。』だって?? (私 = listener)

Depending on the context, it may be:

私が『世界で一番偉い』だって?? (私 = speaker)

This 「だって」 expresses one's surprise, criticism, etc. toward the statement that is being quoted.

The fact that the quoted statement happens to end in an i-adjective has no effect on the validity of 「だって」. People can utter phrases and sentences that end in all kinds of parts of speech, and since you are basically quoting them word for word right in front of this 「だって」, you can and should expect to encounter 「~~だだって」、「~~ですだって」、「~~だっただって」、「~~ねだって」、「~~だろうだって」, etc. 

Since that is a valid usage, you can find it in dictionaries, too. (Not sure about bilingual dictionaries as I almost never use them.)

See definition 三 here:


「私が世界で一番偉いか??」 feels very different because it is a plain yes-no question and it does not express the surprise or criticism that I mentioned above which 「だって」 as a sentence-ender expresses.

I think I should mention this before I go. This 「だって」 is pronounced VERY differently than 「だって」 that means "because" as in 「だって女の子だもん!」.

Sentence-ender: Accent on the 「て」

"Because": Accent on the 「だ」


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