Maybe I'm an idiot, but no matter how much I Google I can't seem to grasp the concept of か being used mid-sentence. I've already run into it a number of times. Like here:


I believe this roughly means...

Six countries within the Americas and Europe, thinking that perhaps Iran shouldn't be trying to create nuclear weapons, continued with economic sanctions.

From what I understand, か here indicates an embedded question. Like in English, "I know what you mean." It can also indicate uncertainty with the speaker in conversation. This comes from a news article though (admittedly for kids, haha), so I'm thinking I'm incorrect in assuming that last part.

Also, I've seen it here in this sentence:


My attempt is roughly...

Manatsu, who was told her name was perfect for summer how many times, was practicing ballet.

I guess what I'm asking is whether or not I have this thinking right. If I don't, please correct me and try to put it in super simple terms because I feel like I'm not going to get it otherwise. I've been struggling with this for awhile, hah.

  • 2
    related... japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/30560/…
    – chocolate
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 4:25
  • 2
    Your second Japanese sentence doesn't feel right. Could you make it sure that it's what the original source looks like? Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:57
  • 1
    @choco Thanks a ton! I'm glad I was on the right track. Phew. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:37
  • 3
    – chocolate
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 4:51
  • 1
    @choco Yeah, I thought the same, but then I realized I'm not a native speaker so I thought, "Hey, what do I know? This could be totally right!" 笑 Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


There are a few situations one would use か mid-sentence. For example:

1) 私は電車バスで行く。(I will go either by train or bus)

2) ぼくがだれ知ってるか。(Do you know who I am?)

In the first example, you can use か if you are deciding between two things. In the second example, in answer to part of your question, yes, you can use it as an embedded question.



As already mentioned in a comment, the exact sentence has already got detailed explanation. One point is, か doesn't stand as "question word" but represents the intention of question or doubt itself. Japanese "indirect" quote always follows the grammar of direct quote, so the most faithful translation would be like "thinking 'Isn't Iran going to make nuclear weapons?'"


This sentence is on the borderline of ungrokkableness. If I were asked if it's grammatical, the answer is definitely no. Don't write such kind of Japanese! :)

The most reasonable interpretation I can think of is the part before か is a monologue of 真夏 turned into narration. It doesn't seem to clearly modify anything in the rest, an extreme case of dangling modifier.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .