Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 8: 1/23


Such as, Things like, Emphasis

Notice that なんか generally follows nouns


Verb + なんて
[い]Adjective + なんて
[な]Adjective + なんて
Noun + なんて(1)

(1) なんか


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About なんか・なんて

なんか is an expression in Japanese that is frequently associated with the adverbial particle など. They are thought to have overlapping meanings in many circumstances, and なんか itself may be considered an adverbial particle. なんて is an extension of this, and may be considered an abbreviation of などという 'to say something like'.
Both なんか and なんて are used in the same way as など, having translations like 'such as', and 'things like' in English. The primary difference between なんか and なんて is that なんて is far more common after 用言(ようげん) (conjugatable words). This includes verbs, い-Adjectives, and な-Adjectives. On the other hand, なんか is almost exclusively used after 体言(たいげん) (unconjugatable words). In other words, nouns.
  • こんな(あらし)(なか)(はし)なんて(あたま)おかしいんじゃない
    You are going to do something like run in the storm? You must be crazy.
  • 北海道(ほっかいどう)こんな(さむ)なんておもわなかった
    I didn't think Hokkaido would be this cold or anything.
  • 心配(しんぱい)なんてている場合(ばあい)じゃない。
    This is no time for things such as worrying.
  • テレビなんか(たた)けばだいたい(なお)るだろ。
    Things like TV's will be fixed most of the time if you hit them, right?
Despite the 体言(たいげん) and 用言(ようげん) tendency, most native speakers will not consider it incorrect to use either なんか or なんて with any type of word.
Fun Fact
Both なんか and なんて are often used to show a low evaluation of the word that they follow. This can come across as humility when used in relation to oneself, or as an insult when used in relation to others.
  • (わたし)なんか5年間(ねんかん)スペイン()勉強(べんきょう)ているのにまだ全然(ぜんぜん)会話(かいわ)できないです。 (Humility)
    I have studied Spanish for 5 years, but I can't speak it at all yet.
  • (まえ)なんてどうせ、(いえ)ゴロゴロしているだけだろ。 (Insult)
    Someone like you probably just loafs around the house, don't you?
Don't let this point stop you from using なんか or なんて though, as many native speakers use it simply to fill the silence in modern Japanese.
  • (ひど)いこと()った()かるんだけどなんか情熱的(じょうねつてき)になって()っちゃった。
    I am aware that I said something mean, but, you know, I said it because I got emotional.




    Things like winning against that good team didn't even cross my mind.


    I don't need things like referrals. I can find my own lover.


    Don't say things like I am fat.


    I would never do something like lie to you. Trust me.


    Now is not the time to give in to something like rain.

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なんか・なんて – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

  • mrnoone




    Maggie sensei is right, while など and なんて are used with verbs and adjectives なんか is generally used with nouns and なadjectives (that also work as nouns).

    I have fixed the grammar point accordingly. Sorry for the problem and thank you for noticing the error!

    By the way, なんか is also used with て form of the verb in てなんかいない construction which is used for emphasis:

    I am not doing something like crying! It’s just my eyes sweating.

    Also, it is more common for なんか to be used with particles like に than なんて.

    I won’t lose to something like rain!

  • narfi


    It might also be good to capture in the readings that this is covered in DAJG, page 339.

  • mrnoone


    Hey and welcome on the community forums!

    Thanks for the feedback!

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