- Ikura desu ka – “how much” in Japanese
- Kore wa ikura desu ka
- More polite expression
- Kanji expression
Ikura desu ka – “how much” in JapaneseFirst of all, let me explain a very basic of the expression, “ikura desu ka”.
- ikura desu ka – いくらですか : a Japanese expression for “how much”.
Basically, this expression is polite enough. So, it can fit with various situations including formal ones. In reality, however, people rarely ask the price in formal situations. Asking the price itself could be rude. Of course, we can use this expression when we go shopping though.
Example conversationBelow is an example conversation between two Japanese, Haru and Aki.
- ikura – いくら : a noun widely used to mean ‘how much’ in Japanese. Depending on the situation, we can just say “ikura”. Yet, it can sound rude.
- desu – です : an auxiliary verb widely used after a noun or adjective to make it more polite. Probably, this auxiliary verb is well known for a part of Japanese desu form.
- ka – か : a sentence ending particle widely used to make simple interrogative sentences, namely, questions. In the example, it is put after the auxiliary verb, “desu”, to change the whole sentence to a question.
- sen – 千 (せん) : a numeral meaning ‘thousand’. Depending on numerals used together, it can also mean ‘thousands’. Learn more about Japanese singular and plural.
- en – 円 (えん) : a unit of Japanese currency, yen. In Japanese, yen is pronounced as “en”. When it isn’t used together with a numeral, most probably it means ‘a circle’ or ‘circles’.
This is how Japanese people ask “how much” in Japanese. Depending on the situation, however, the example expression is a bit ambiguous. Sometimes, we need to indicate clearly what we ask. In the next paragraphs, I will explain how to use this expression with a demonstrative pronoun.
Kore wa ikura desu kaBelow is an example conversation showing how to use “ikura desu ka” together with a demonstrative pronoun.
- kore – これ : a demonstrative pronoun meaning ‘this’ in Japanese. Actually, it is translated to “this” quite often.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case maker or topic maker. In the example, it is put just after the pronoun, “kore”, to make the subject word in the sentence.
- ni – 二 (に) : a numeral meaning ‘two’ in Japanese. We can express ‘two thousands’ in the same way as we do in English. The Japanese phrase, “二千 (にせん)”, can be literally translated to “two thousands”. “千 (せん)” doesn’t have its plural form though.
Usually, additional information is put before the expression, “ikura desu ka”, like the above example shows. If we know a name of ‘this’, we can use it instead to make the meaning more clear.
The auxiliary adverb, “desu”, makes the whole sentence polite. So, it gives us a polite impression basically. Nevertheless, sometimes we need to use more polite expressions. One of them can be easily made by using a prefix, “o”.
More polite expression
- o – お : a prefix widely used to make the following word more polite. In the example, it is put just before the noun, “ikura”, to make its polite expression. Learn more about it through the word, “omotenashi”.
Kanji expressionSo far, I’ve explained Japanese expressions for ‘how much’ only in hiragana. To tell the truth, there is a kanji expression as well. Below is it.
- ikura desu ka – 幾らですか (いくらですか) : a kanji expression for “いくらですか” meaning “how much”.
SummaryI’ve explained the expression, “ikura desu ka”, and its related expressions in this blog post. Let me summarize them as follows.
- ikura desu ka – いくらですか : a Japanese expression for “how much?”
- kore wa ikura desu ka – これはいくらですか : a Japanese expression for “how much is this?” Sometimes, we need to indicate clearly what we ask. A demonstrative pronoun helps us a lot in this regard. Additional information is usually put before “ikura”.
- ikura desu ka – 幾らですか (いくらですか) : a kanji expression for “いくらですか”. It would be helpful to avoid misunderstanding between two homonyms, but is rarely used. Usually, situations in which homonyms are used are very different.
Japanese Particles Master
Masaki Mori is a Japanese particles master. Through teaching Japanese language, he is trying to spread the culture of Japan. His goal is to preserve it as much as possible.