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Asking Questions in Japanese

There are many ways to ask questions in Japanese and it usually differs when we speak formally and casually. Check the list below to learn the words.

Asking Questions in Japanese

NumberFormalCasual
What何(なに)、

 

何(なん)ですか

Whyなぜ、どうしてどうして、なんで
Whereどこどこ
Whenいついつ
Howいかにして、どのように、どうしてどうして

As you can see, learning them can be a little more complicated than learning English. Let’s check the examples for each of the words.

What

        “What do you want to eat?” → 「何が食(た)べたいですか。」

        “What is your dream?” → 「あなたの夢(ゆめ)は何ですか。」

Note that 何ですか is used when we use the word what at the end of the sentence.

Why

       “Why are you wearing a jacket when it is so hot outside?”

       → 「こんなに外(そと)は暑(あつ)いのに なんで/どうして ジャケットを着(き)てるの?」

Where

       “Where are we meeting up tomorrow?” → 「明日(あした)はどこで会(あ)う?」

When

       “When is the library going to close?” → 「図書館(としょかん)はいつ閉(し)まるの?」

Remember that these words come after the subject (place, object, time) comes first.

These are example phrases for 5w1H

Oh!! What is this ?
これは何ですか?
[Korewa nandesuka]
When is your birthday?
誕生日はいつですか?
[Tanjyoubiwa itsudesuka]
Where is the bathroom?
トイレはどこですか?
[Toirewa dokodesuka]
Why do you study Japanese?
なぜ日本語を勉強するのですか?
[Naze nihongowo benkyou surunodesuka]
Why do you know?
どうして知ってるの?
[Doushite Shitteruno]
Which do you like Udon and Soba?
うどんとそばどっちが好き?
[Udon to Soba Docchigasuki]
Which do you like Sushi and Ramen?
すしと拉麺どっちが好き?
[Sushi to Ramen Docchigasuki]
Who is it ?
だれですか?
[Daredesuka]
What time will it start?
何時から?
[Nanjikara]
Could you tell me the way to Shinjuku station?
新宿駅までどうやっていけばいいですか?
[Shinjukuekimade douyatteikebaiidesuka]

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