Interrogative: what (nani)

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目次 (Mokuji) Table of contents
Summary
Nani
なに/何
what
nani
This time, we will go over the use of what = “nani” in Japanese.

As you can imagine, what (nani) is one of the most frequently used expressions in Japanese.
Learning how to use it would help a tutor to enhance lesson quality especially when you teach beginner level students.

Nani (sometimes can be nan, still both are written in the same Kanji character: 何) means, but not limited to, “what”in English. It can be tricky as it might mean different notion such as “how many,” “how many times,” “what time,” and so on.

Should you ever have any trouble translating JP ⇔ EN, our dictionary might help.

このページのみかた
How to read this page
あOriginal Japanese expression
EEnglish translation
吹き出しのアイコン15 (2)Pronunciation
クエスチョンマーク (2)Notes

Also, if ever you have trouble understanding Japanese expressions or words in this content, kindly visit our site: weblio dictionary.

Now lets begin!
それではさっそく見てみましょう!

Explanation
What do you do?
何をしますか?
What do you do?
nani wo shimasu ka?

What is that?
それは何ですか?
What is that?
sore ha nan desuka?
sore = that (closer)
are = that (further)
kore = this

How many people?
何人ですか?
How many people (are there)?
nan nin desu ka?
nin = 人 = human/people

What time?
何時ですか?
What time (is it now)?
nan ji desu ka?
ji = 時 = time

How many?
何個ですか?
How many (are there)?
nan ko desu ka?
ko = number of item/s

How many times?
何回ですか?
How many times (do you~)?
nan kai desu ka?
kai = times of action/s

Dialogue Examples
Asking a plan for tomorrow
講師:明日は何をしますか?
生徒:学校に行きます。
Tutor: What are you going to do tomorrow?
Student: I’m going to go to my school.
Tutor: ashita ha nani wo shimasu ka?
Student: gakkou ni ikimasu.
ashita = tomorrow
gakkou = school

Asking your student’s hobby
講師:趣味は何ですか?
生徒:野球です。
Tutor: What is your hobby?
Student: My hobby is playing baseball.
Tutor: shumi ha nan desu ka?
Student: yakyuu desu
shumi = hobby
yakyuu = baseball

Asking how many family members your student has
講師:家族は何人ですか?
生徒:6人です。
Tutor: How many family members do you have?
Student: I have 6 of them.
Tutor: kazoku ha nan nin desu ka?
Student: roku nin desu.
kazoku = family/family members
roku = 6

Asking time
講師:今何時ですか?
生徒:12時です。
Tutor: What time is it now?
Student: It is 12 o’clock.
Tutor: ima nan ji desu ka?
Student: juuni ji desu
ima = now
juuni = 12
juu = 10
ni = 2

Asking a number of items.
講師:何個欲しいですか?
生徒:3個下さい。
Tutor: How many of them do you want?
Student: Give me 3 please.
Tutor: nan ko hoshii desu ka?
Student: san ko kudasai
hoshii = want
san = 3
kudasai = please

Asking experience
講師:何回映画を見ましたか?
生徒:7回見ました。
Tutor: How many times have you watched movies?
Student: I have watched them 7 times.
Tutor: nan kai eiga wo mimashita ka?
Student: 7 kai mimashita.
eiga = movie
mimashita = a form of “watch”

さて、今回のコンテンツはどうでしたか?
Well, how did you like the contents this time?

There are Japanese students who are willing to study English just like you want to study Japanese.
もっと日本語に関わりたい!もっと日本について知りたい!と思ったら、weblioで英会話講師に挑戦しませんか?
If you want to know more about Japan or Japanese, why don’t you try English tutoring in Weblio?
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