How to answer questions in Japanese

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quiz, test, task
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On this page, you can learn how to answer questions in Japanese.

A question with a question word (except why)

If a question has a question word, you need to:

  • replace the question word with the answer, then
  • remove か at the end of a sentence

Here is an example.

You have a question below and let’s say its answer is ‘えき(station)’.

ケンはどこでお父さんとあうつもりですか。(Where does Ken intend to meet his father?

How do you answer this question in Japanese?

  • First of all, the question word is どこ(where), so you need to replace it with the answer, えき(station).
  • Then, remove か at the end.

Therefore, the whole sentence to answer the question in Japanese is:

ケンはえきでお父さんとあうつもりです。(Ken intends to meet his father at the station.)

A why question

If a question has a question word ‘why’, you can’t apply the rule above.

You have to:

  • make your own sentence to answer the reason, then
  • place からです (Because) at the end of a sentence

Here is an example.

You have a question below and let’s say its answer is ‘Because Ken drank beer’.

どうしてケンのお母さんはケンをおこりましたか。(Why did Ken’s mother tell off Ken?

The question is a why question, so you have to;

  • Make your own sentence to give a reason, which is ‘Ken drank beer’
  • Then, place からです after the sentence
アシスタント
アシスタント

Remember, you have to have a plain form in front of からです. Click here for more details.

Therefore, the whole sentence to answer the question in Japanese is:

ケンはビールをのんだからです。(Because Ken drank beer.)

A question without a question word

If a question does not have a question word, you need to:

  • place はい(Yes) or いいえ(No) at the start of a sentence;
  • change a verb into its negative form if いいえ is needed;
  • remove か at the end of a sentence.

You have a question below and let’s say its answer is ‘No, Ken did not go to a party’.

ケンはパーティに行きましたか。(Did Ken go to a party?)

Firstly, the question is a yes-no question and the answer is ‘No, Ken did not go to a party’.

So you need to place いいえ at the start of a sentence.

Secondly, change ました into ませんでした, which is a negative form of ました.

せんせい
せんせい

Click here for more details on the verb form.

Lastly, remove か at the end.

Therefore, the whole sentence to answer the question in Japanese is:

いいえ、ケンはパーティに行きませんでした。(No, Ken did not go to a party)

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