Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 9: 17/23

(なに)

Or something, Or something like that

Pronounced as なんか in casual situations

Structure

Noun + (なに)

Details

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    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About か何か

(なに) is a structure in Japanese used for expressing uncertainty about a specific thing. Being a construction of か, the substitute noun (なに), and か, the common translations of 'or something', and 'or something like (A)' are quite close to the more literal meaning which is just '(A), or whatever it is'.
(なに) will follow directly after the noun that it is describing as being something uncertain.
  • すみません、お(ちゃ)(なに)ありませんか?
    Excuse me, do you have tea or something?
  • (まわ)りさん!あそこにナイフ(なに)()った(あや)しい(ひと)がいました。
    Officer! There was a suspicious person over there holding a knife or something.
(なに) will also often be used in questions, or when offering someone something. This is primarily when more than (A) is available as a choice, but the speaker isn't specifying a list just yet. In these situations, (A) just indicates a general category to which 'or something else' would be a part of.
  • (なん)でもいいんで、(みず)(なに)をください。
    Please give me water or something. Anything would be fine.
  • 紅茶(こうちゃ)(なに)()みませんか?
    Do you want to drink tea or something?

Examples

--:--

  • バーテンダーのひとみさん:「お()(もの)はいかが?」
    顧客(こきゃく)のにったさん:「ビール(なに)がほしいな。」

    Hitomi, the bartender: 'How about a drink?'.
    Nitta, the customer: 'I'd like a beer or something'.

    • 警察官(けいさつかん):「泥棒(どろぼう)はバール(なに)使(つか)って、(まど)()けたと(おも)います。」

      Policeman: 'I think that the thief opened the window using a crowbar or something.'

      • A:「(かれ)どうしたの?3時間(じかん)(おく)れるなんて...」
        B:「バス()はずだから交通(こうつう)渋滞(じゅうたい)(なに)ような()する。」

        A: 'Where could he be? He's like three hours late now…'
        B: 'He should be coming by bus, so I have a feeling that he is stuck in traffic or something.'

        • A:「これ手品(てじな)じゃなくて、魔法(まほう)だよ!」
          スケプティクさん:「そう(おも)わないね。本当(ほんとう)科学(かがく)(なに)このことは説明(せつめい)できるでしょう。」

          A: 'This is not a magic trick, it is MAGIC!'
          Mr. Skeptic: 'I don't think so. You probably can explain it with science or something.'

          • (おく)さん:「コーヒー(なに)()みませんか?」
            (きゃく)さん:「結構(けっこう)です。」

            Wife: 'Would you like coffee or something to drink?'
            Guest: 'No, I'm fine.'

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