Japanese Lesson 13 – Interrogative adverbs

I introduce interrogative adverbs in this page.
Please check the page of Lesson-12 about interrogative pronoun and how to make interrogative sentence.

Main interrogative adverbs are shown in the the lower half of below list.

jp-gimonshi

Interrogative adverb is a kind of common adverb.
Therefore, you can put it at the position of the red arrows in the below frames freely.

Unlike English, Interrogative adverb is often put in a sentence.
When it is put at the head of a sentence, we feel strong emphasis of the question.

jp-frame-Qadv

When

Japanese word equivalent to “when” in English is “itsu”.
It is the word that time and date are asked.
And “itsu” connecting a particle “kara” or “made” is able to make a question asking the start or end time of a period.

> itsu kara = from when (The start time of a period)
> itsu made = until what (The end time of a period)

(Ex.1) When do you go to Tokyo?

Anata wa itsu Tookyoo e iki masu ka?
jp-13-ex1

(Ex.2) When does he start to teach Japanese?

This question is the start time of the action.

Kare wa itsu kara Nihongo o oshie masu ka?
jp-13-ex2

(Ex.3) Until when do you stay in Japan?

The simplest Japanese of the verb “stay” is “iru”, and it changes to “i” before “masu”.
A country name “Japan” is translated as “Nihon” or “Nippon”. Both are used with approximately the same frequency.

Anata wa Nihon ni itsu made i masu ka?
jp-13-ex3

In Frame-B, it is OK that you put “itsu” at the part of complement.
It is used when you ask the time that the subject is done directly.

(Ex.4) When is the Tokyo Olympics?

Tookyoo Orinpikku wa itsu desu ka?
jp-13-ex4

Where

Japanese word equivalent to “where” in English is “doko”.
“Doko” is the word that you ask a place.
But it often connects particle such as “e” and “de” to ask a direction and a place the action is done.
And, it sometimes connects particle such as “kara” and “made” to ask a range of area.

> doko e = The destination of the action
> doko de = The place the action is done
> doko kara = The entrance place of extent
> doko made = The end point of extent

(Ex.5) Where do you go?

Anata wa doko e iki masu ka?
jp-13-ex5

(Ex.6) Where do we eat sushi?

I am hungry. So I encourage my friend to search a sushi bar by putting “doko” at the head of the sentence.

Doko de watashitachi wa sushi o tabe masu ka?
jp-13-ex6

(Ex.7) How far does that bus go?

Ano basu wa doko made iki masu ka?
jp-13-ex7

It is OK that you put “doko” at the part of complement in Frame-B.
It is used when you ask the place of the subject.

(Ex.8) Where is my book?

Watashi no hon wa doko desu ka?
jp-13-ex8

Why, how

“Why” and “how” in English are the interrogative adverbs asking the reason and the method respectively.

There are some Japanese words for English “why”.
Both “naze” and “dooshite” are OK.
As an additional word, colloquial “nande” is often used.

About Japanese word for English “how”, there are various words.
You need only be aware of “doo”, “dono yooni” and “doo yatte” in the list.
In the conversation, colloquial and long words such as “dooyuu fuu ni” and “dooyuu yoo ni” are often used.
These words are almost used in Frame-A.
But when we use these, it is more natural to change the Verb group a little.

(Changed verb) + “masu ka?”
⇒ (Base form of verb) + “no desu ka?”

This is complex grammatically, so you should learn this as an auxiliary pattern.

But it is equal to the Frame-B that particle “no” is added between verb and “desu ka?”.

jp-frame-Qadv2

Because the speaker want to ask the reason and method, the interrogative adverbs are often used at the head of the sentence.

(Ex.9) Why do you go to Tokyo?

Naze anata wa Tookyoo e iku no desu ka?
jp-13-ex9

(Ex.10) How do you eat sushi?

Anata wa sushi o doo yatte taberu no desu ka?
jp-13-ex10

This “no desu ka?” is also used when you use Frame-A for “when” and “where”.

(Ex.2) When does he start to teach Japanese?

Kare wa itsu kara Nihongo o oshieru no desu ka?
jp-13-ex2-1

(Ex.7) How far does that bus go?

Ano basu wa doko made iku no desu ka?
jp-13-ex7-1

How many, how much

“How many” and “how much” in English are the interrogative adverbs when we ask number.
The basic word is “ikutsu” in Japanese.

It is also used when you ask the hearer’s age.

When you ask the price, “ikura” is used.
Let’s memorize it so that you go shopping in Japan.

“Ikutsu” for age and “ikura” are almost put at the part of complement in Frame-B.

In Japanese, there are a variety of words for asking number. About them, I introduce in any page.

(Ex.11) How many sushis do you eat?

Anata wa sushi o ikutsu tabe masu ka?
jp-13-ex11

(Ex.12) How old is she?

Kanojo wa ikutsu desu ka?
jp-13-ex12

(Ex.13) How much is this book?

Kono hon wa ikura desu ka?
jp-13-ex13


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