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I know that か is the 'question marker particle', and can use it confidently in formal sentences.

However, when it comes to casual speech and very short sentences, what is it's usage?

For example, if you wanted to ask 'Why?' - 'なぜ' - leaving the subject of the sentence assumed - would you need to add 'か' at the end to mark that it's a question, or is an intonation in pitch enough?

Or, say, you're communing in Japanese and you don't know the meaning of a word spoken - 'みず', for example. Would repeating the word as if it were a question, without adding 'か' be correct?

TL;DR can you ask short questions without using 'か' if it can be assumed that the word is a question anyway?

If 'か' IS needed in these circumstances, please specify if it's an issue of being correct or being polite.

Thanks!

  • What does TL;DR mean? – KyloRen Jun 5 '16 at 9:50
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    TLDR stands for "Too Long, Didn't Read". It is often used to label a quick summary. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 5 '16 at 9:52
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The OP is looking for options in "Casual speech"

In the spoken language you don't need 「か」.

With this you make a rise in intonation at the end of the sentence to indicate that it is a question.
All of these examples below translate as "Do you want this?"

これを欲{ほ}しい?

This can also be used:

これを欲{ほ}しいの?

Of course someone just learning would be better to stick to using the polite form such as this:

これを欲{ほ}しいんですか?

Using something like the below example can come across as being rather rude if not said correctly. Sticking to using 「ですか」 should be your goal until you know how to properly use it in a sentence.

これを欲{ほ}しいか?

So your example would be fine to say something like this:

彼がいつもあそこに立っているのはなぜ

Why does he always stand over there?

  • If I understand it correctly, in some cases using か in casual speech when it is not required can even give the question a "sharper" or even rude feel? I would love to see an answer address this aspect as well, as it is something I very much struggle with. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 5 '16 at 10:02
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    @WeirdlyCheezy, It would be pretty safe to say that in most cases just using か will come across as being very blunt. There is no real way to say when using it will not be blunt. – KyloRen Jun 5 '16 at 10:13
  • I am not the down-voter, but I would have a question. Do you have any reason for using を rather than が here? I would have gone with これ欲しい or これ欲しいの without anything or I would have inserted が in between これ and 欲しい. And since I have been told that ending questions with の may feel a bit feminine I would certainly have used これ欲しい?. If you don't have any particular reason other than "that's how I would have said it", I am fine too. – 永劫回帰 Jun 5 '16 at 19:32
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    @永劫回帰 The problem of の is not that if it's feminine or not. You use it when you confirm what you have judged from the situation. – user4092 Jun 5 '16 at 23:48
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    @KyloRen Thank you for your explanation. I am almost sure this question has already be addressed here but I just wanted to know the reason of your choice. I am satisfied, thanks. – 永劫回帰 Jun 6 '16 at 4:32

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