Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 5: 14/20

何(なん) + (Counter) + か
some, several, a few

Structure
+ Counter +
いく + Counter +
いくつ
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
The expression なん + counter + in Japanese is a way of highlighting an uncertain number of something, and comes across similarly to ‘some’, ‘several’, or ‘a few’ in English. Literally, the meaning is much closer to ‘what + counter + I wonder?’, as it shows the speaker's uncertainty about the number.
  • そこ何(なん)回(かい)行(い)ったことがあると思(おも)う
    I think I have been there several times.
  • ごめん、紙(かみ)何(なん)枚(まい)ちょうだい。
    Sorry, may I have some paper?
In addition to なん; いく, from the kanji 幾(いく) (how many/much) may be used as part of this construction. While both are fairly common, 幾(いく) is more common as part of set expressions, like 幾(いく)ら (how much) and 幾(いく)つ (how many/old), while なん is more common for counting specific things, like people.
  • この車(くるま)いくらです
    How much is this car?
  • マリちゃん幾(いく)つになっ
    How old did Mari-chan turn?
Both 何(なん) and 幾(いく) are regularly seen in plain hiragana and their kanji forms, so it is worth remembering both.
Caution
Despite having the same kanji as 何(なに), なん will almost always be used to count things, while なに will be used to identify things.
  • いらない本(ほん)何冊(なんさつ)か妹(いもうと)にあげた。
    I gave several books that I didn't need to my sister.
  • お前(まえ)何者(なにもの)
    Who are you! (What kind of person are you)
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選手(せんしゅ)何人(なんにん)か負傷(ふしょう)した
Some athletes were wounded.
いく人か is also acceptable
何冊(なんさつ)か本(ほん)山(やま)のように床(ゆか)積(つ)まれていた
Some books were piled on the floor like a mountain.
何本(なんぼん)か高級(こうきゅう)木(き)幹(みき)製材所(せいざいしょ)届(とど)け
I sent some high grade tree trunks to the sawmill.
Books
Tobira
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