I noticed that particles are sometimes omitted after 何か. Is there a grammatical rule that dictates omission of a particle after 何か or this is just a conversational contraction?
E.g., are the following sentences equivalent?


  • I don't think a particle is even possible with 何か in this particular sentence.
    – Angelos
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 3:56
  • @AeonAkechi I think 何かの匂い is fine
    – Ringil
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 4:28
  • 4
    @Akechi, 「何かが焦げる」☜ いいと思いますけど。。「何かがおかしい。」「今夜、何かが起こる!」とかも言いますし
    – chocolate
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 6:12
  • @Chocolate あ、すみません。「何かいい考えありますか」みたいだと思ったんです。
    – Angelos
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 8:30

1 Answer 1




These two sentences mean different things and the difference is not a very small one at least in a place like this, if not anywhere else.

In the first sentence, 「何か」 is used as an adverb meaning "somehow", "for some reason", etc. You could not attach a particle to it even if you wanted to.

"There is somehow a burning smell." or

"For some reason, there is a burning smell (around here)."

In the second, 「何か」 is used as a pronoun meaning "something". To a noun or pronoun, you can, of course attach a particle.

"I smell something burning."

One more thing -- the pronunciation.

「何か」 in the first sentence, as an adverb that is, would often be pronounced 「なか」 whereas 「何か」 in the second sentence would generally be pronounced 「なか」 even in informal speech at least by the more careful speakers.

Suggested readings:

I warn you, however, that the author of the "best" answer in the second Q&A above does not appear to be familiar with the adverbial usage of "question word + か" words.

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