4 different ways to say “Why ?” in Japanese

You often say “Why ?” when you ask the reason to someone. Normally you can translate “Why ?” into “Naze ?”/「なぜ ?」in Japanese, but we have other ways to say it. So I will introduce them.

1. Naze/なぜ

When you use google translator, it translates “Why ?” into “Naze ?”/「なぜ ?」in Japanese. But in daily life we don’t often say it actually although of course we can understand the meaning. This is a casual expression. You can also say “Nazedesuka ?”/「なぜですか ?」as a polite expression, but we don’t often say and hear it either.

2. Nande/なんで

You can also say “Nande ?”/「なんで ?」. This is a casual expression and I very often say and hear it in daily life in Japan. You can also say “Nandedesuka ?”/「なんでですか ?」as a polite expression. Even if you say it to your bosses, elderly people or someone whom you don’t know in the workplace or private, they wouldn’t feel that impolite. I also often use this polite expression in daily life. If you travel to Japan, it’s better that you know this word.

3. Doshite/どうして

You can also say “Doshite ?”/「どうして ?」. This is a casual expression. Some Japanese people say it in daily life, but I don’t often say it. It’s a little soft expression. You can also say “Doshitedesuka ?”/「どうしてですか ?」as a polite expression.

4. Nannnotameni/何なんのために

You can also say “Nannnotameni ?”/「なんのために ?」. This is a casual expression and some people may feel it is a little harsh expression. I don’t use it usually. You can also say “Nannnotamenidesuka ?”/「なんのためにですか ?」as a polite expression. This has a little formal impression. You shouldn’t use it when you talk with your friends.

Summary

You can say “Naze ?”/「なぜ ?」, “Nande ?”/「なんで ?」or “Doshite ?”/「どうして ?」, but I very often say and hear “Nande ?”/「なんで ?」in daily life. So I recommend you should use “Nande ?”/「なんで ?」or “Nandedesuka ?”/「なんでですか ?」in Japan. These are natural expressions.

コメント

  1. kia says:

    hiii! i’ve been torn between using なんで or どうして but i think i’m gonna use なんで instead. thank you this is very useful!

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