など / なんか Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: Et Cetera / And so on / And the like
- Noun Phrase + など
- E.g. 寿司など [Sushi and the like]
- Noun + など + Particle
- E.g. フォークなどで [With a fork, and so on]
- E.g. 寿司などを [Sushi, and so on]
- など is similar to “Et cetera“. It indicates that a listing is in-exhaustive, or it marks an example of some category, idea, or concept (e.g. “Japanese people eat food such as sushi and ramen, for example.“)
- など is often followed by a particle of some sort (e.g. は, に, が, を, から, で). But when など follows a Direct or Indirect Object, を and に can be optionally dropped.
- E.g. 大学ではフランス語やドイツ語など(を)勉強した。[At university, I studied things such as French and German.]
- Particles other than が, を, and は can precede など, but this construction can potentially give the sentence a derogatory meaning, depending on the context.
- E.g. 箸でなど食べられない。[We can’t eat with damn chopsticks.] In this context, the で particle preceding など conveys the speaker’s contempt over the thought of eating with chopsticks.
- E.g. 箸などで食べる人もいる。[There are people who eat with things such as chopsticks.] In this context, the で particle follows など, so the sentence has a neutral interpretation.
- When the main predicate is negated, if the subject is the speaker or someone psychologically close to the speaker, など tends to convey a sense of humbleness. But when the subject is a third person and the speaker is expressing negativity / contempt over some situation, など emphasizes that feeling of negativity.
- E.g. A: この翻訳をしてくださいませんか。B: こんな難しいもの、私などにはできません。[A: Can you do this translation for me? B: A person like me cannot translate such a difficult thing.] This sentence comes across as very modest.
- E.g. A: 経済学を専攻するつもりですか。B: いいえ、経済学など専攻するつもりはありません。[A: Do you intend to major in economics? B: No, I have no intention of studying such things as economics.] This sentence conveys a sense of negativity or aversion towards economics.
- なんか is the informal, colloquial version of など. When conveying negativity, undesirability, or contempt, なんか amplifies the derogatory meaning. Another similar term is なんて, which can be used with verbs and adjectives as well as nouns in order to emphasize feelings of positivity, surprise, contempt, etc. depending on the context.
日本の食べ物の中ではすしや天ぷらなどが好きだ。[Among Japanese foods, I like things such as sushi and tempura.]
A: 冬休みはどこに行きましょうか。B: ハワイなどどうですか。[A: Where shall we go during winter vacation? B: How about a place like Hawaii?]
この大学には中国や韓国などから学生が大勢きます。[At this school, there are a lot of students from places such as China and Korea.]
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