Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 3: 12/18

I wonder

Sentence + かな
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Originally a mixture of the 終助詞(しゅうじょし) (sentence ending particles) , and な, かな evolved over time to become its own (singular) sentence ending particle, which roughly translates as ‘I wonder if (A)?’.
As it is a sentence ending particle, かな can be added to the end of almost any sentence.
  • あの人(ひと)道(みち)真(ま)ん中(なか)で倒(たお)れてるけど、大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)かな
    That person over there is laying collapsed in the middle of the street, but I wonder if they are okay.
  • このコンロこの魚(さかな)入(はい)かな
    I wonder if the fish will fit in this stove.
Combining the meanings and な, we can see where かな gets its original meaning. presents questions (usually to other people), while な shows that a statement is related purely to the speaker’s own thoughts/opinions. In this way, かな expresses that the speaker's own thoughts are being questioned.
Fun Fact
In the past, かな was thought of as being a fairly feminine way to express ‘I wonder’, and males tended to use phrases like だろうか to express the same type of statement. However, in modern day Japanese, かな is used by both men and women equally.
  • この通帳(つうちょう)お母(かあ)さんのだろうか
    I wonder if this is my mother's checkbook. (Slightly masculine)
  • あの人(ひと)本当(ほんとう)に弁護士(べんごし)なのかな
    I wonder if that person is really a lawyer. (Commonly used by anybody)
Slow Male
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I wonder if we will go eat soon...
I wonder, if I should exercise tomorrow...
I wonder if I can meet my friends this weekend...
Page 73
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
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Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 204
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 71