The Meaning of Nani in Japanese

Learn Japanese Words and Phrases

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The word Nani in Japanese means "what." And depending on the situation, "nan" may also be used for the word "what" in the Japanese language.

Using Nani in a Sentence

Nani wo suru tsumori desu ka?
This translates as: What do you intend to do?

Nani is the more formal and polite term to use when asking a question. In other, more casual situations it be fine to use nan. As a general rule, if the following word begins with a syllable from the t, n, and d groups, nan is used

How Is Nan Used?

Nan is used before particles, such as: /の, /で and verb da/desu.

Nani is used before: /か and /に,

You need to be careful when you use nan because, for example, if nan was used before ka/か, it would sound like the word nanka, which means "things like."

Another example is if nan was used in the case of ni/に, it would be nanni なんに. This sounds very much like nannimo なんにも, which translates as "nothing at all."

Pronunciation of Nani

You can hear the word's pronunciation in this audio file: "nani."

Japanese Characters for Nani:

何 (なに)

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Abe, Namiko. "The Meaning of Nani in Japanese." ThoughtCo, Nov. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/nani-in-japanese-2028328. Abe, Namiko. (2017, November 20). The Meaning of Nani in Japanese. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/nani-in-japanese-2028328 Abe, Namiko. "The Meaning of Nani in Japanese." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/nani-in-japanese-2028328 (accessed November 21, 2017).