If you are a beginner and you know the question words, adding the か and も suffixes will greatly increase your working vocabulary.


Question Words

First, let's review the core question words:

Japanese

English

なに

what

どこ

where

いつ

when

だれ

who

Need help? Click here for more on asking questions in Japanese.


か and も suffixes

If you know the question words above, let's give your vocabulary a boost with:

- か -

"some-"; adds uncertainty


- も -

"no -"; shows absence



か "some" Suffix in Japanese

The か suffix indicates "uncertainty": "some-"

Let's take the question words you know and see what happens when we add a か:

Question Words + か

Meaning

なに

something

どこ

somewhere

いつ

someday

だれ

someone

Do you see the pattern? Adding か creates uncertainty: some


Example Sentences

Let's look at a few example sentences:

なにか something


(なに)()べましょうか?

nanika tabemashou ka?
something | eat | let's
Shall we get something to eat?


どこか somewhere


先生(せんせい)どこか()りませんか?

sensei wa dokoka shirimasen ka?
teacher | as for | somewhere | do you know?
Do you know where the teacher is?


いつか someday


いつ日本にほんにいきたい。

itsuka nihon ni ikitai.
someday | Japan | to | want to go
I want to go to Japan someday.



だれか someone

だれか(たす)けて!

dareka tasukete!
someone | help (me)
Someone help me!



も "no" Suffix in Japanese


The も suffix adds the "no" meaning.

Now, let's take the question words you know and see what happens when we add a も:

Question Words + か

Meaning

なに

nothing

どこにも*

nowhere

いつ

always**

だれ

no one

* The に indicates "at": "at no where"

** the いつも seems to be an exception to the rule, but really, if you think about it, "always" is "not any day." いつも can mean "never" with a negative verb.



Example Sentences

Let's look at a few example sentences:

なにも nothing

(わたし)は、(なに)わからない。

watashi wa, nanimo wakaranai.
I | as for (me) | nothing | understand
I don't understand anything.


どこにも no where

こどもは、どこにもいない。

kodomo wa, doko ni mo inai.
children | as for | no where | not
There aren't any children around.


いつも always


いつありがとう。

itsumo arigatou.
always | thank you
Thank you always.



だれも no one

パーティーにだれも()ませんでした。

pa-ti- ni daremo kimasen deshita.
party | to | no one | didn't come
No one came to the party.


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