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?

  • 1
    What is so feminine about 「の」? Mar 28 '18 at 23:18
  • I'm not entirely sure. This is what is said in my grammar dictionary.
    – nehry
    Mar 28 '18 at 23:38
  • 1
    @nehry The grammar book likely said that explanatory の sounds feminine, while questioning の is gender-neutral.
    – kroki
    Mar 28 '18 at 23:46
  • 「今行くんだい?」 <-- It's weird.. Is the example from your book?・・ You might say 「行くんだい!」(childlike, tokyo/edo dialect) "I'm going!"... or 「行くのかい?」, 「 どこに行くんだい? (an interrogative + だい?)」とか・・
    – Chocolate
    Mar 29 '18 at 0:31
  • @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 '18 at 0:37

"今行くんだい?" looks highly unnatural to me regardless of gender/situation. Sentence-end だい in questions appear mainly by a male person 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?" nor "誰か?" in conversations, right?)

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

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