I found the following sentence in tangorin.com,


And it is translated as

Who's responsible for this mess in the kitchen?

Is it really a question or just a statement? Do we always need to translate it and end with a question mark (?)?

  • Is that your translation or part of some book you're reading?
    – Pleiades
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:07
  • @Pleiades: I am reading that sentence from tangorin.com. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 15:43
  • I looked for the [rhetorical question] use of だ。 in the Web dictionaries, and couldn't find it. Maybe i should have looked for 誰だ。
    – HizHa
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 2:24
  • 2
    Is a sentence ending with 誰だ but without か a question? -> そうですね、例えば「あれは誰だ!」とか「あの人、誰よ!」とか「犯人は誰だ!知っているなら言え!」なんかも statement ではなく question ですね・・
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 3:18

5 Answers 5


"誰" makes it a question. It's similar to "何処(どこ)", "どれ" or "何時(いつ)". For example, "ここは何処だ。", "正しいのはどれだ。", "飯は何時だ。", all of them are questions. It may be a rhetorical question but can't be a statement. So yes, you need "?".

In Enno Shioji's example, even when both parties know the answer, it's still considered as a rhetorical question and it should be translated as such.


It can be a question, or a statement. E.g. consider

A: ものがいっぱいありすぎて全然料理するスペースがないよ。  
B: 台所をこんなに散らかしたのは誰だ。

B can say this when both know it's A who littered the kitchen. It's also spoken without the question intonation if it's used that way. When it's a question, it's pronounced as a question.


To me it seems like forceful attempt at finding out who made the mess. Asking using "誰ですか" almost makes it seem like I'm being inquisitive and asking a question rather than demanding an answer by using a statement using 誰だ。

  • Is it really a question or just a statement?
    It is a question, it is not a statement.
    Formally you should say 誰ですか, but informally you can say 誰だ.

  • Do we always need to translate it and end with a question mark (?)?
    Since it is a question, the translation needs to end with a question mark.


You don't need a question mark ? or a particle to make a question, there are things written, such as dialogs, that are intended to be red with a conversational context, in such context, just as in English, you can deduct things based on speaking tones. The person in the sentence is saying the line with an inquisitive tone(maybe he or she cleaned the kitchen just a while ago and got disgusted because of the newfound mess), also you can say that it's being somewhat demanding and even maybe talking to somebody with equal/lower status because of the informality of the sentence end.

Give a try reading it imagining the past moments, as if it was an English dialog of a comic or the kind.

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