I'm studying N2 grammar and I was surprised by the meaning of ばかりか and のみか when I first came across them. E.g:


I can see these か forms are the same as ばかりでなく and のみならず (and だけでなく) so the か is clearly a negative marker in this context. When I first read the example sentences, I didn't immediately 'get' that the ばかりか bit was negative until I read the explanation.

What I'm wondering is are there other times when か is used as a negative in this way? Is this like a special negative form, or are these examples basically exceptions? Or is this more like the か in かどうか or something like that?

1 Answer 1


This か is a question marker, and it's used to form a rhetorical question in this construction. If I understand correctly, something like "is it (really) only...?" eventually changed to a strong "not only!" and became an integral part of these fixed constructions. I feel のみか/ばかりか is slightly more emphatic or dramatic than のみならず/ばかりでなく/etc.

A similar fixed phrase is あろうことか, which can be usually translated as "Unbelievably" or "To my surprise":


あろう is the volitional/inferential form of ある, so あろうことか originally means "(is this) something that is possible?" or "not sure if this can happen", but it's now a strong expression meaning "this sure is impossible/unbelievable (but...)".

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