If you want to ask someone "What did you hear" in Japanese do you say なんと聞きましたか? or 何を聞きましたか?

1 Answer 1


Basically it depends on the context.

(Edited as per the comments)

Generally, if "what did you hear" is asking about the sounds the listener heard, you may want to use 何が聞こえましたか. In this case, the asker has little idea what the listener heard. 何を聞きましたか? would be more natural about e.g. music.

More specifically:

  • 何{なに}聞こえましたか if you are sure the listener heard some sound.
  • 何{なに}聞こえましたか if you aren't sure the listener heard in the first place
  • 何{なに}聞きましたか if you ask about specifically what the listener heard/listened to (E.g., I went to a concert yesterday / what did you hear?, though hear may not be exactly right here.)

On the other hand, if you know that the listener heard something from somebody, then 何{なん}と聞きましたか is better. In this case, the asker has some idea what the listener heard (opinion, directions, etc.), and "what did you hear" should be close to "what did they say?" As suggested in the comment, なんて聞きましたか is also possible (and probably more colloquial).

FYI what did they say? is なんて(と)言ってましたか.

  • 1
    It might be nice to add a mention of 何て as a substitute for 何と in the second case.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 27, 2022 at 23:43
  • 1
    +1. Furigana on the 何 would probably helpful for many Oct 28, 2022 at 6:38

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