How can you ask Japanese people?
In this article, I’m going to teach you the 5 Ws: What, Who, When, Where, Why.
When we ask “what”, we use “なに”.
Let’s take a closer look at an example.
In this case, you want to ask objective, so we put なに before verb.
Let’s see the second example.
When you ask what it is, we say なんですか.
なに changes to なん.
What is ”これ”?
Please check my another article.
Let’s see the other example of changing to なん.
When we ask numbers, なに changes なん.
When we ask “who”, we use “だれ”.
When we ask subject, we say だれが.
When we ask whose thing, we say だれの○○.
Let’s see the example.
Note： どなた is more polite than だれ.
When we ask “when”, we use “いつ”.
Let’s see the example sentence.
We use “when” as a conjunction, right?
(ex) When I was a child, I often swam in the river.
However, we don’t say いつ in this case.
we say “とき”.
(ex) わたしが こどもだったとき、かわで よく あそんだ ものだ。
When we ask “where”, we use ”どこ”.
When we ask “why”, we say ”なぜ”, ”どうして” or ”なんで”.
These are the same meaning and it’s hard to explain the differences.
Which words we use depends on the situation.
Therefore, I’m going to roughly teach you the differences.
Let’s see each phrase.
どうして is more of a feeling word.
It focuses on the speaker’s feeling rather than the reason they want to know.
Let’s see the examples.
In this case, he (or she) didn’t come to the party and the questioner is angry (or surprised).
It focuses on the speaker’s feeling.
Like どうして, なんで focuses on speaker’s feeling.
I guess the speaker doesn’t want to go to school.
なんで emphasizes the feeling.
In addition, なんで is more used in casual conversation.
Therefore, I don’t recommend saying なんで to older people.
なぜ is rational.
When we say なぜ, we are asking a reason and there is no speaker’s feeling.
Moreover, なぜ is more for writing.
We rarely use なぜ in conversation.
Let’s see the example.
He (or she) just wants to know the reason why the person didn’t come to the party.
These example would change depending on situation and you need to understand context.
① （1. ）と えいがに いきましたか。
② きのうは （2. ）を たべましたか。
③ きのうは （3. ）に いきましたか。
④ (4. )、そらは あおいの ですか。
⑤ (5. )、きますか。
→Who did you go to movie with?
→What did you eat yesterday?
→Where did you go yesterday?
→Why is the sky blue?
→When are you coming?
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