How to answer questions in Japanese

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

How to answer questions in Japanese

When you complete a listening task, you may need to answer some 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;
  • remove か at the end of a sentence.

Example

You have a question below and the answer is ‘えき(station)’.

Where does Ken intend to meet his father?

ケンはどこでお父さんとあうつもりです

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。

A why question

If a question has a question word ‘why’, you can’t apply the first rule. You have to:

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

Example

You have a question below and the answer is ‘Because Ken drank beer’.

Why did Ken’s mother tell off Ken?

どうしてケンのお母さんはケンをおこりましたか。

The question is a why question, so you have to make your own sentence to give a reason. The reason is ‘Ken drank beer’, which is followed by からです.

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:

Because Ken drank beer.

ケンはビールをのんだからです

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.

Example

You have a question below and the answer is ‘No, Ken did not go to a party’.

Did Ken go to a party?

ケンはパーティに行きましたか。

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. Click here for more details on verb forms.

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。