6.3 Closed-Ended Questions: ますか (masu ka)

Like the ‘XはYです’ sentence pattern, it is easy to form questions with the ます-form. Let’s explore this further!

ます-Form questions

To form a question in the ます-form, simply add か to the end of the sentence, exactly in the same way as we do to form questions in the です-form!

For example, to make the sentence ‘まんがを読(よ)みます’ (manga o yomi masu) into a question, you would say:


Manga o yomi masu ka.

Do you read manga?


Affirmative response

To answer this question affirmatively, you can say politely:


Hai, yomi masu.

Yes, I do [literally, Yes, I read].


Here, you simply use the key verb 読みます, and there is usually no need to repeat the object まんが and the object particle を. This avoids redundancy, as the context is clear.


Negative response

Now, how would you say ‘No, I don’t’?

While you could simply say いいえ (iie) for ‘no’, it is considered more polite to use a complete sentence by employing the negative form of 読みます, which is 読みません (nomi masen). To create the negative version of the ます-form, you merely replace ます with ません.

So, you can reply that you don’t read manga like this:


Iie, yomi masen.

No, I don’t [literally, No, I don’t read].


We will delve deeper into the usage of ません in Chapter 7.


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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