Adding ka (か) and mo (も) to Japanese interrogatives to create new expressions 2017-08-21T21:36:35+00:00
Adding ka and mo (か and も) to Japanese interrogatives to create new expressions

Learn Japanese Grammar – KA and MO (か and も)

 In Japanese we can change the meaning of an interrogative word by adding (ka) or (mo).  We can make similar changes to interrogative words in English:

Indefinite expressions Void expressions Full expressions
something nothing everything
somewhere nowhere everywhere
someone no one everyone
sometime never always

 

 

Add か (ka) to an interrogative word to change it to an indefinite expression.

 
なに
nani
(what)
+
ka
なにか
nanika

(something)
あなたはなにかみます
anata wa nanika nomimasu ka
are you going to drink something?
anata wa nanika nomimasu ka
 
           
どこ
doko
(where)
+
ka
どこか
dokoka
(somewhere)
あしたはどこかいきます
ashita wa dokoka e ikimasu ka
are you going somewhere tomorrow?
ashita wa dokoka e ikimasu ka
 
           
だれ
dare
(who)
+
ka
だれか
dareka
(someone)
いえのなかにだれかいます
ie no naka ni dareka imasu ka
is there someone in the house?
ie no naka ni dareka imasu ka
 
 
いつ
itsu
(when)
+
ka
いつか
itsuka
(sometime)
えいがにいつかいきましょう
eiga ni itsuka ikimashou
Let’s go to a movie sometime.
eiga ni itsuka ikimashou

 

Add も (mo) to an interrogative word to change it to void expression (negative) or full expression (positive).

The only exception is “nani” which needs “mo kamo” added to it to create a full expression.
  negative context positive context
なに
nani
(what)
+
mo
なにも
nanimo
(nothing)
なにもしません
nanimo
shimasen.

I will do nothing.
nanimo shimasen
なにもかも
nanimo kamo

(everything)
なにもかもします
nanimo kamo
 shimasu
I will do everything!
nanimo kamo
ぜんぶ (zenbu) is more common!
        negative context positive context
どこ
doko
(where)
+
mo
どこも
dokomo
(nowhere)
どこもいきたくない
dokomo ikitakunai
I don’t want to go anywhere
dokomo ikitakunai
どこも
dokomo
(everywhere)
どこもいそがしい
dokomo isogashii
it’s busy everywhere!
dokomo
        negative context positive context
だれ
dare
(who)
+
mo
だれもdaremo
(no one)
だれもいません
daremo imasen
there is no one
daremo imasen
だれも
daremo
(everyone)
だれもかれしっている
Daremo ga kare o shitteiru
everyone knows him
Daremo ga kare o shitteiru
みんな (minna) is more common!
        negative context positive context
いつ
itsu
(when)
+
mo
いつもitsumo
(never)
 いつもきません
itsumo kimasen
he never comes
itsumo kimasen
いつも
itsumo
(always)
かのじょはいつもいそがしい
Kanojo wa itsumo isogashii
she is always busy.
itsumo
 
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