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  5. "What is your name?"

"What is your name?"


March 30, 2018



For everyone just beginning to learn japanese, this is how the sentence works; If you were to write it in full, it would look like this: あなたの名前は何ですか。  (あなたのなまえはなんですか。) But because we are asking a question, it is obvious that we are talking to them (also its a little impolite to use あなた(you)(の is used to show possesion by the way, so its their name)) so its condensed to just お名前は何ですか。 The お is used to show respect, and is an 'honourific'. This basically means that the sentence is more polite. 名前 means name. は (pronounced wa not ha because it is a particle) is used to show that you are talking about their name. I learnt it as 'speaking of X...'. In this case it would be 'speaking of your name...' Because their name is the topic. は is always used to mark the topic, and particles always come after the word they are related to. 何 means what. です is not strictly nessacary, but makes the sentence more polite (and if you are asking someone what their name is you obviously arent particularly close so politeness is advised.). です has no true translation i believe, it just makes the sentence more polite. か is the question particle and is used so that the listener knows that you were asking a question.

And if it helps, the order of the sentence basically is: Speaking of your name, what is it?

Hope this helps :) if you've got any questions just comment and I'll try awnser.


Whilst a lot of what you said is correct I must point out that です should almost always be used in this case (especially for beginners). ですis known as the copula and it is the verb 'to be' and its usage does imply formality in some cases. There are certainly other occasions where you can drop this (if ending the sentence with an alternative verb, or conjugating adjective or in conversation with close friends and family members.) However, as you stated the implication of asking someone's name is that you are not familiar with them. I know (as a foreigner) you are excused from some aspects of the language and no-one would misunderstand you if you asked 'お名前は?' but if you are just starting out in Japanese then you should get in the habit of using です as it truly is ubiquitous in its usage. The Japanese language tends to hang on the ending of the sentence, for example the negative of ですis ではありません (deh(w)a arimasen). There are numerous occasions where I have seen someone pause in thought when I speak to them because I accidentally ommited the です. I will give you a basic example 'アメリカ人ですか?(Are you an American Person?' ’イギリス人…(British person...)’ Japanese is a very contextual language but many times you can visibly see the confusion on someones face when you do not include the ending because the setence could equally be 'イギリス人です (I AM a British person)' or ’イギリス人ではありません(I am NOT a British person)' or even 'イギリス人でした (I WAS a British person).' I hope my rambling is understandable, of course if anyone has more input or disagreements please reply and I will try and get back to you!


Thank you so much. This was very helpful.




That makes sense. ( Cant help but saying i LOVE you profile picture. I've watched death note)


Very good. 何 is also not strictly necessary; neither is 前 in 名前. Thus, お名前は何ですか can be shortened to, 名は? (なは) or perhaps even simply 名 (though that is not recommended). The simple 名は? form doesn't lose meaning, it just drops formal conventions of communication and assumes the other person will understand you. Name?


Great advice, from a native probably, thanks!


It is very clearly. Thank you so much.


Why SOMETIMES they use お


In Japanese お can be added as an honorific. It is essentially to make things more polite. In the case of names you say お名前 when referring to someone else's name. It would be seen as strange to add an honorific for yourself so you dont add it. お名前何ですか。What is your name? 私の名前は... My name is


You are so helpful!


Eyy we have the same profile


, and you both lost your streaks.


Dem silly gooses.

(And yes, I know it is geese.)


It's a humble prefix, i.e. makes the noun more polite. The non-polite version of this sentence would be 名前は何?Though you wouldn't really use that since you have to use polite speech when talking to someone you don't know.


You are equally helpful. I love that they have these posts. Helps me so much!


Yes! If you said "what's your name?" To someone without the "oh" beforehand, you would sound a bit gruff, or maybe like you're trying to get information out of them rather than politely ask


お prefix = formal


It's meant to be polite.


it's rude to address someone as «君» unless you are their superior in a work environment.


Nani or nan?


"Nan" in this case, though 何 can be also pronunced "nani" in different context.


なん in this case as you are asking for an explanation

[deactivated user]

    Careful guys as 何 in this context would be pronounced NAN, not NANI. :D


    So お is honorific, 名前 is name, 何 is what, です is is, か means question right? What is the は for?


    Instead of scaring you with a messy wikipedia page of various japanese particles, just know that は can be understood as topic marker and が is the subject marker. 私は猫が好きです=I like cats. I(私) am the topic and cats (猫) are the subject. Sometimes it not this clear but you'll begin to understand where and when to use these particles as you progress through lessons.


    Mwahahaha. Welcome to the world of Japanese particles https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_particles


    Can someone explain how my answer is still correct when I omitted [か] at the end?


    か is a question particle; like a question mark, except you actually pronounce it. It's completely omittable, though.


    Could I get away with simply saying 名前ですか?


    That would be “Is it a name?”.


    Is there something wrong with "何が名前ですか?"


    That sentence sounds like you are saying " 'What' is your name? ". In the same way that if someone said their name was Greg and you were worried you had misheard so you clarified 'Greg" is your name? Also, remember お名前。That お is important whent alking about someone elses name!


    こんにちは! Another option is acceptable: おなまえは. Please, correct me if I am wrong.


    Omitting the «何ですか» is fine, however it can cause unnecessary ambiguity in conversation. It would be good practice for new learners to say the whole phrase.


    I've just written 'Namae nani desu ka', and it's wright. Isn't there an error ? Or is it really possible to omit the 'o' and the 'ha' ?


    Yes, that's possible, though slightly less polite. It's "nandesuka" however, not "nanidesuka".


    Why was the answer 何ですか instead of なんですか?


    何, pronounced なに or なん, depending on the context, translates to 'what'. I believe that since the lesson taught the kanji 何, it wants you to use it.



    At the risk of sounding overly vague... can someone please explain Japanese grammar with me? Specifically the verbs? Thanks much


    is it wrong to use が instead of は ?


    I'm not a native speaker so take this with a grain of salt, but to me お名前が何ですか sounds like "Is your name 'What'?" As in, asking if the person you're talking to is called Mr./Ms. What. While it's grammatically correct (I think), it's not something you'd actually say.


    It shifts the emphasis from the name to the person/item's name, i believe. Could someone confirm whether this is true?


    this is a pretty good lesson in the differences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrjHT8FAuWY&t=575s She explains things really well.

    [deactivated user]

      why is this not あなたはお名は何ですか?


      you can't use は two times in this phrase like that... if you want/need to use あなた then the phrase would be like this: あなたの名前は何ですか

      in this case: あなたの名前 - your name は - topic mark 何ですか - what is


      Can someone please explain the order of this sentence?


      The topic comes first, followed by the question you're asking about it. Think of it as saying "regarding your name...what is it?".


      Well. I just entered 君の名前は。because I forgot of お名前は何ですか。and it sad that this is correct also.


      That's correct, but very informal. 君 is a very familiar word for 'you'.


      Il me semble que la phrase quelle est votre nom en japonaise devrais être Onamae wa nan desu ka? Et non tel que spécifier dans l'application Onamae wa nani desu ka?


      tout les deux sont vrai. on ne prononce pas le "i" de 何 dans cet cas, mais on peut l'écrire come ça.


      Heads up, its actually rude to say this since its sounds cold and distant. It would be better to say お名前は...? Because this way the tone is softer and seems less harsh. Its somewhat like saying "Your name is..." and they just fill the blank. That is the end of my TED talk, thank you.


      I forgot the か at the end of the sentence but it marked it right, does that mean the question particle is optional?


      Just a reminder: when «何» is next to «ですか» (among other things), it sounds like nan instead of nani.


      What is the difference between "お名前は何ですか” and "お名前何ですか” . Duo accepted both, but why is the participle not needed here?




      From what I learned in my classes, the "nani" of this sentence is technically not even needed. Whether it be formal or not...it feels like you threw in an extra word for no reason according to my teacher born and raised there.


      I would check you understanding with said teacher. If the meaning was that you could say 'お名前は?' then that's fine but there is certainly a need on a technical level for the 何 (Read as 'nan' in this case, not 'nani'. Otherwise you have an incomplete sentence 'お名前ですか?’ which would be like saying 'is your name?' in English. お名前は is accepted as colloquial usage, it is starting a sentence expecting the second party to answer. Kind of like saying 'Your name is...' and waiting for someone to reply. Interestingly enough this is also how we have the word こんにちは with the は pronounced as 'wa' as it really is a particle but now the word itself has become common usage. こんいち means 'this day'. It is the equivalent of saying 'This day is...' and waiting for someone to reply by saying it is sunny, or sad or whatever. But the word now just has the accepted usage as an equivalent of 'hello/ good afternoon'. So technically 何 is need, colloquially it is not.

      [deactivated user]

        I know it doesn't make much sense, but how would you say "whats is my name?"


        This would be 私の名前は何ですか。(わたしのなまえはなんですか. The particle の denotes possession. So 名前は indicates that you are about to talk about a name (it is the subject of the sentence). The 私の modulates this to show that it's not just any name but my own name. 私=I 私の=Mine あなた=You あなたの=Yours


        何 pronounced なに How does one remember that in a sentence like this, it seems to be pronounced only: なん ?


        I forgot the か and it still said correct...


        Characters sre not showing up for my answers.


        Yea! I got it right! This thing is working, I thought I was a hopeless case when it came to kanji. Thanks duo


        What's the meaning of that 何 in the middle?


        Alguien que hable en español '³' 誰かがスペイン語を話すことができます ✌️


        名前 は 何 です か ? It is correct too ? I put it like that and it was accepted.


        I wrote あなたの名前は何ですか but it was counted wrong? なぜ?


        Why is it pronounced "nan" instead of "nani" in this type of sentence??

        (It's really trippin' me up...)


        ❤❤❤ man the last exercise said it was correct.


        What is the polite word for you?????


        Why nan is called nani? And asking what (nani) as well same is used? I am a bit confused help me anyone.


        i have a few questions. i tried to intentionally make a mistake so i could learn from it. here is what i put. あ名前は. i knew it could be wrong, but why did it say i got it right??


        Am i the only one wondering what this question is doing in the time section


        "お名前は何ですか?" sounds way too polite for the translation for "What is your name?"


        I wrote 名前何ですか and duo said its correct




        君の名は何ですか?is also a correct form!!!! How in the film "your name", or "kimi no na wa"


        It's grammatically correct, though it sounds very unnatural in a normal conversation.


        The answer pieces was missing a piece. The answer I put "wa n" but the correction said it was "wan an". The answer pieces had a "ano" but no "an".

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