3.2 Is X Y?: X は (wa) Y ですか (desu ka)

Now you are familiar with the sentence pattern ‘Xは (wa) Yです (desu)’, you will find it easy to transform it into a question. In this module, we will expand on the sentence pattern and introduce the question sentence structure.

One of the fascinating aspects of learning Japanese is the simplicity of transforming the ‘XはYです’ sentence structure into a question!

By simply adding the question particle か (ka) at the end, you can easily create a question:

X は Y です。(X is Y.)

X は Y です。(Is X Y?)

For example, to turn the following sentence into a question:


‘Haikyuu!!’ wa manga desu.

Haikyu!! is a manga (series).


You simply add か at the end and say:



‘Haikyuu!!’ wa manga desu ka.

Is Haikyu!! a manga (series)?


Keep in mind that the intonation and stress of the sentence also change when converting a statement to a question. Generally, when forming a question, the intonation rises at the end of the sentence.

The question particle か (ka) in Japanese serves as a question marker and often makes the use of a question mark (?) redundant. Therefore, when writing formally, it is recommended to use a full stop (。) instead of a question mark.

However, in casual writing, such as manga or text messages, Japanese speakers may use a question mark to convey a questioning tone of voice.

Exercise 1



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Japanese Introductory 1 Copyright © 2024 by Iori Hamada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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