Lesson 3. Forming Questions in Japanese using か (Ka) and ね (Ne)
The particles か (ka) and ね (ne) can be used to form questions in Japanese. Let’s learn the usage of these two particles now!
The Exceptional か (ka)
Most of Japanese sentences can be turned into questions by simply adding the particle か (ka) at the end of the sentence. In this case, the particle か (ka) is equivalent to a question mark (?). Read: か (ka) as the conjunction OR
For example, the following statement is a positive sentence.
Soto wa atsui desu.
It is hot outside.
The above positive statement will turn into a question with the additional か (ka) at the end of the sentence.
Soto wa atsui desu ka?
Is it hot outside?
Kimu-san wa kankokujin desu.
Mr. Kim is a Korean.
Kimu-san wa kankokujin desu ka?
Is Mr. Kim a Korean?
Here are a few things to take note:
- Just like most of the languages, the questions end with a rising intonation at the word か (ka).
- In formal Japanese, questions can end in the Japanese full stop (。).
- You do not need to change the word order, which is a basic asking question rule in English. Notice the English ‘is’ and ‘it’.
The Confirmation ね (ne)
ね (ne) is a common ending particle in Japanese sentence. It is commonly used to ask for confirmation – just as in n’est-ce pas [French] or isn’t it [English]. Examples:
ii tenki desu ne.
It is a nice weather, isn’t it?
Tsuki ga kirei desu ne.
The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?
The appropriate response would be:
Sō desu ne.
That’s right, (isn’t it?)
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