Indirect Question

sentence pattern
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On this page, you can learn how to make an indirect question in Japanese.

Indirect Question

Indirect questions are used many times when you read and write. Examples of Indirect Question are as follows:

Indirect Question: Type 1

  • I don’t know when my father died.
  • I want to know how much the car is.
  • I don’t know where my mother is.

Indirect Question: Type 2

  • I don’t know if my father died.
  • Let me know if you can come.
  • I am not sure if the answer is correct.
What is the difference between direct questions and indirect questions?
Direct questions are often used amongst friends and somebody close to you such as people in your family.

Indirect Question Type 1

Sentence pattern

English: Sentence A + Question word + Sentence B

Japanese: Sentence B (with Question word after a subject marking particle) + のか + Sentence A

Example

I don’t know when my father died.

父がいつしんだのか私は知りません。

Sentence A: I don’t know
Sentence B: my father died

Note

  • のか can be replaced with か.
  • Sentence B needs to finish with Plain Form.
  • が is used as a subject marker in Sentence B. (most of the time)

Exercise

Task: Change into Japanese.

  • I know where my teacher lives.
  • I don’t know how my mother saved money.
  • I want to know how much apples are.
  • I want to know what kind of person you like.
  • I don’t understand why Japanese people like to eat raw fish.

Task: Change into English.

  • 父が何時に来るのか私はわかりません。
  • 兄がどうしてはたらかないのか私はわかりません。
  • しけんがいつはじまるのかおしえてください
  • 母がどうやってすしを作ったのか私は知っています。
  • スマホがいくらなのか私は知りたいです。
  • ロンドンがどんな町なのか父はスマホでしらべています。
わかりません can be ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I am not sure’.

Answer

Indirect Question Type 2

Sentence pattern

English: Sentence A + if + Sentence B

Japanese: Sentence B + かどうか + Sentence A

Example

I don’t know if my father died.

父がしんだかどうか私は知りません。

Sentence A: I don’t know
Sentence B: my father died

Note

  • かどうか can be replaced with か.
  • Sentence B needs to finish with Plain Form.
  • が is used as a subject marker in Sentence B. (most of the time)

Exercise

Task: Change into Japanese.

  • I know if the teacher is kind.
  • I am not sure if I should go to Tokyo by car.
  • I want to know if I should study Japanese at university.
  • I am not sure if the man is a Japanese person.
  • Please ask if Ken likes pork.

Task: Change into English.

  • 週まつえいがに行くかどうかわかりません。
  • 妹が正しいかどうかわかりません。
  • 弟が魚を食べることができるかどうかわかりません。
  • パーティに来れるかどうか明日までにおしえてください
  • ひ行きのチケットのお金をはらったかどうかわすれました。
わかりません can be ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I am not sure’.

Answer