I'm looking through a book of go problems, and ran across the following sentence accompanied by the problem diagram:


A rough translation is relatively simple, along the lines of "Black's single stone in the corner is 1 move away from atari (technical term), what do you think about this position?" (By implication: how should black play to survive?)

The go problem is relatively simple. The bit that confused me was the か landing before the です in this question. What does this mean and how does it affect the sentence?

  • Note that I did receive an answer from TsuyohiIto in chat a few days ago.
    – jkerian
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 19:25

3 Answers 3


You know that you can use "koto" or "no" or "mono" to nominalize a proposition, don't you? Well, you can with "ka" as well, when the proposition is a question, direct or indirect.

For example:

  1. いつ行くか教えてください. "Tell me when you leave." (Which is nothing else than "Xを教えてください" but where you drop the を because of か.)
  2. ポイントは、いつ行くかです。"The point is when you leave." (Which is nothing else than "XはYです".)
  • You don't have to drop the を because of the か.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 15:18
  • @istrasci: actually, I think I remember being corrected and told to remove the を in similar sentences…
    – Axioplase
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 3:43

It's very common to say 「~するかだ」. It would be easier for you to get the meaning by inserting 「が重要/問題」 after .



The translation would be like "Regarding the black piece in the corner which becomes Atari in the next move, it is important how you think here."


I think this may be the normal use of か inside the sentence, where it then represents "set of answers to that question" (better explained here: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/question, section "「か」 used in relative clauses").

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