Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 8: 17/18

かい

Question marker

strongly masculine

Structure

Verb + () + かい
[い]Adjective + () + かい
Noun + (なの) + かい
[な]Adjective + (なの) + かい

Details

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    Casual

  • 使用域

    タメ語

About かい

The sentence ending particle かい is a grammar structure that is used in Japanese to highlight a question. Despite commonly being thought of as one word, it is actually the combination of (the sentence-ending particle) and い, another sentence-ending particle that is primarily used by men (in a similar way to and ).
かい will usually be used directly after the word/phrase that it is highlighting. In the case of verbs and い-Adjectives, may be inserted before かい. For な-Adjectives and nouns, なの may be inserted directly before it. However, (or なの) are frequently omitted, due to how casual かい is.
  • このドーナッツ()たいかい
    Do you want to eat this donut?
  • このおもちゃ()しいかい
    Do you want this toy?
  • 彼女(かのじょ)綺麗(きれい)なのかい
    Is your girlfriend pretty?
  • (かれ)いい(ひと)なのかい?
    Is he a good person?
When it is not omitted, (or なの) may be shortened to ん (or なん). This is in the same way that and なの would behave in the のです and なのです grammar structures.
  • (まえ)一緒(いっしょ)()たいかい
    Do you also want to come with me?
  • 大学生(だいがくせい)なんかい中学生(ちゅうがくせい)(おも)
    You are a college student? I thought you were a middle schooler.
Although there are some exceptions, かい will almost always be used to ask simple yes/no questions.
  • 勉強(べんきょう)てるかい
    Are you studying?
Caution
Because かい is very casual, and quite direct, it often sounds like an accusation. Due to this, care should be taken with your tone of voice, so as not to be taken the wrong way.
  • また(かぎ)なくしかい
    You lost your keys again, didn't you?
Fun Fact
Outside of かい, the sentence ending particle い is not commonly used in modern Japanese, and therefore will only appear in a few very specific structures (like だい). Despite being similar to , い is considered to be fairly ぞんざい 'rough', and should only be used with people that you are very familiar with, and never to someone above you.

Examples

  • 本当(ほんとう)()きたいかい

    Do you really want to go?

  • これだけで十分(じゅうぶん)なのかい

    Is just this enough?

  • その帽子(ぼうし)(かぶ)って()かい

    Are you really going to go wearing that hat?

  • どうしたの?()ずかしいかい

    What's wrong? Are you embarrassed?

  • この番組(ばんぐみ)()たくないかい

    You don't want to watch this TV program?

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かい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (5 in total)

  • Johnathan-Weir

    Johnathan-Weir

    About 3 years ago

    かい is often discussed in conjunction with だい as masculine question markers. Are there any plans to add だい to this grammar point or have one of it’s own?

  • mrnoone

    mrnoone

    About 3 years ago

    @Johnathan-Weir Of course it is in plans

  • motiyuki

    motiyuki

    About 2 years ago

    Hi all!

    When after a noun or na-adjective, would contracting …なのかい? to …なんかい? be correct, in the same way that …なのだ can be contracted to …なんだ in casual speech?

    (Last time I checked, …なんかい wasn’t accepted by Bunpro - not sure about now)

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