In English, there's an expression, 'What kind of ~~~ is/am/are he/she/it/they/you/I?' used as a rhetorical question meaning the thing in question is not a very good example of a ~~~. I'd like to know if there's a similar use in Japanese. (A literal translation might be どんな~~~なの・なんだ・なんですか・なんです, but I don't think that works.)

  • I think どんな actually does work fine.
    – Blavius
    Aug 19, 2015 at 14:11
  • It's a good question, though maybe it would be easier for people (especially non-native speakers) to get the exact meaning if you gave a concrete example.
    – user1478
    Aug 19, 2015 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


The phrase that immediately comes to my mind is どのような~~~ + question ending.

Based on EDICT:

どの: (adj-pn) which, what (way)
様(よう): (n-suf, n) appearance, form, style, design, method, similar to, like
どの様: (na-adj) what sort, what kind

  • So, as Blavius said, どんな is fine (being basically a synonym of どのような).
    – Angelos
    Aug 19, 2015 at 20:14
  • Yep. Now I'm curious as to how closely related those two terms are, it seems like どんな could have originated as a contraction of どのような (and the same for そんな and こんな).
    – Darcinon
    Aug 19, 2015 at 20:29
  • 1
    @Darcinon Yes, that's right, these words come from contractions, although they're not quite the same thing anymore. Sometimes speakers use the seemingly redundant そんなような when they wouldn't say そのようなような, and of course people say そんなに but not そのようなに. And so on…
    – user1478
    Aug 20, 2015 at 1:53

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