I'm going over the entry for のだ in my grammar dictionary, and I pretty much understand the meaning, but I'm unsure about casual question forms:

  • んだ (male) / の (female)    んだい? (male) / の? (female)

Two examples:



The female form I am okay with. But I have never heard だい before, and I remember being told that it's very uncommon. I think males might simply say


Am I correct? But I've read that this can sound too interrogative or accusatory if the intonation is not right, so how would I say it properly?

Finally, I've seen のか, what is the difference? Is it feminine?

  • 2
    What is so feminine about 「の」?
    – user4032
    Mar 28, 2018 at 23:18
  • I'm not entirely sure. This is what is said in my grammar dictionary.
    – nehry
    Mar 28, 2018 at 23:38
  • 1
    @nehry The grammar book likely said that explanatory の sounds feminine, while questioning の is gender-neutral.
    – kroki
    Mar 28, 2018 at 23:46
  • @kroki so I can't say 「今行くんだ?」but 「今行くの?」is ok? The grammar book did say that both explanatory の and question の is feminine, but in another entry it said that question の is used by both females and males.
    – nehry
    Mar 29, 2018 at 0:37
  • 1
    @nehry My guess is that you are reading Tae Kim's guide. This is a great book, but you should read it very carefully. For instance it also explained that you use かい for yes/no questions, and だい when you expect some explanation, as Choco-san pointed you.
    – kroki
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:17

3 Answers 3


"今行くんだい?" looks highly unnatural to me regardless of gender/situation. Sentence-end だい in questions appear mainly by males in fiction and always with an interrogative, e.g., "何故だい?" or "誰だい?" (This い is a sentence-end particle. You can say "行くか?", "行くのか?" and "誰だ?" but usually not "行くだ?" or "誰か?" in conversation, right?)

"今行くんだ?" is a natural and casual way of expressing surprise and saying "(Oh,) you're going now?" It's not particularly masculine in real-world conversation.


It is not necessarily rude to ask a question that ends in んだ or のだ (Both are the same, by the way). And, neither are gendered. The reason ん/のだ can sound interrogative is because it carries an air of presumption about what you're asking.

今行くの? = Are you going now?

今行くんだ? = So, you're going now?

Both are functionally the same, but the former is asking, up front, if the other person is going or not, while the second already assumes the person is leaving, and is merely checking.

As for のか, it is not gendered, either. In fact, のか can be pretty different from just か/ですか/の. I would read this thread here on it. But, assuming it is being used in a non wh-question, and does not appear in the middle of sentence (aka it is being used as a sentence-ending particle), the best way to describe it, I think, is to think of it as expressing doubt, while ですか or の are more neutral.

本当に面白いの? = is [it] actually funny? (neutral)

本当に面白いのか? = is [it] actually that funny? (doubting)


From Tae Kim's grammar guide:

かい and だい are strongly masculine sentence endings for asking questions. かい is used for yes/no questions while だい is used for open-ended questions.

I believe that guide covers everything you mentioned in your question.

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