I'm wondering what the function of か is when it's not put in the end of the sentence. I'm fairly a beginner. I haven't learned how this work when's it followed by an を. Found this example here wherein 2 men fight.




From my little experience, this goes like.

I can't stop now that I started.

He knows what will wound him.

I know what will put me in pain.

On a sidenote, is my understanding of どうすれば here correct?

  • I think 相手 is just supposed to be a general "opponent". Jun 8, 2019 at 8:17

1 Answer 1


As a basic answer, か is used in this case to mark a "sub-question" that is being talked about. In English you can say "I know who ate the apple." A question word is used here even though a question is not being asked. In Japanese, a question word as well as the particle か is used to signify the sub-question.

Same is true in Japanese, 「だれがりんごを食べたか知っている」would be the translation. In cases like these where a question phrase is used in place of an "answer", the particle か is typically used and replaces が、を、は I believe. Not sure what differences are introduced if かを are both used

As for どうすれば I would say that translation would lean toward "how" versus "what", like "I know how I will be put in pain"

  • Thanks. Also, I forgot to ask. I didn't confuse the subjects in the 2nd line, did I? It's not supposed to be "I know what will wound him"? Jun 7, 2019 at 7:29
  • Well, that is a little more context based. To start off the direct object of 傷つける would usually take the particle を, so if I am interpreting right then its more like "(?) know(s) he will hurt (??)". The question marks are left in bc they are not explicitly stated and need to be implied. If all three of these are in a row as an internal monologue of one of the two men in the fight, I would say it is "I know how he will hurt me."
    – katatahito
    Jun 7, 2019 at 7:46

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