A Japanese person that was born in Nagoya wrote on instagram a very short sentence: 年賀状に使えるな that I'm not able to translate. Different online translators give opposite results. The TanoshiJapanese dictionary doesn't help me distinguish between meanings 1) and 3).

  • How would you interprete the "な" at the end of the sentence?

1 Answer 1


To break it down:

年賀状 "new years card"
に "as, for, for the purpose of"
使える "can use" "be usable" -- potential form of 使う
な -- sentence ending particle (終助詞) for 詠嘆, 推量, 納得, etc.


The な here can indicate light exclamation, conjecture, or maybe conviction. So it can mean something like:

"It can be used as a new years card(, I think/suppose)."
"(I think / I'm sure) I can use it as a new years card."

A few examples of this な:

かわいいな。 Oh that's cute.
いい天気だな。 What a nice day.
お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いたな。 I feel hungry.
明日は晴れるな。 (I think) it'll be sunny tomorrow.

It cannot be negative imperative ("Don't ~~!") in your example since 使える is the potential form.

使いな。 -- light command
使うな。 -- negative imperative

  • Thanks. You answer helped me to understand the difference between the two verbs I mixed up 使う to use (godan, transitive) 使える to be usefull (ichidan, intransitive)
    – Harro K
    Oct 8, 2020 at 21:42

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