How to say “how much” in JapaneseJapanese native speakers would say “ikura desu ka”. It is the Japanese expression for ‘how much’. In this blog post, I will explain it in detail based on its components. And also, I will explain some related expressions. Let’s get started!
- Definition and meaning of “ikura desu ka”
- Components of “ikura desu ka”
- Example: how to ask the price in Japanese
- “How much is this” in Japanese
- More polite expression to ask the price in Japanese
- Kanji expression
Definition and meaning of “ikura desu ka”First of all, let me start with a definition and meaning of “ikura desu ka”.
- ikura desu ka – いくらですか : a Japanese expression for “how much”.
Components of “ikura desu ka”Below are the ones.
- ikura – いくら : a noun used to express an indefinite number. It is quite often used to mean ‘how much’ in Japanese. Depending on the situation, we can say just “ikura” to mean ‘how much’. It can sound a bit rude, though.
- desu – です : an auxiliary verb put after a noun or adjective to make it polite. Probably, this auxiliary verb is well known for a part of Japanese desu form. Here, it is put after the noun, “ikura”, to make it sound polite.
- ka – か : a sentence ending particle put at the end of sentence to make a question. Here, it is put at the end of the sentence to change it to a question.
Example: how to ask the price in JapaneseBelow is an example conversation between two Japanese, Haru and Aki.
- sen – 千 (せん) : a numeral meaning ‘thousand’. Depending on other words used together, it can also be used as the plural noun meaning ‘thousands’. Learn more about Japanese plural.
- en – 円 (えん) : a unit of Japanese currency, yen. When it isn’t used together with a numeral, it would mean ‘circle’.
This is how Japanese people ask “how much” in Japanese. Depending on the situation and context, however, the example expression can be a bit ambiguous. Sometimes, we need to indicate what price we ask clearly. In the next paragraphs, I will explain how to use this expression with a demonstrative pronoun.
“How much is this” in JapaneseBelow 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. In the example, actually, it is used to mean ‘this’.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case maker or topic maker. In the example, it is put after the demonstrative pronoun, “kore”, to make the subject word in the sentence.
- ni – 二 (に) : a numeral meaning ‘two’ in Japanese. “Two thousands” and its Japanese translation, “ni sen”, have completely the same structure. “Ni” and “sen” mean ‘two’ and ‘thousands” respectively.
The auxiliary verb, “desu”, makes the whole sentence sound polite. So, basically, the example expression sound polite. Nevertheless, sometimes, we need to use more polite expressions to ask the price of things. One of the most commonly used expressions can be easily made by using the prefix, “o”.
More polite expression to ask the price in Japanese
- 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 it sound polite. Learn more about “o” through the word, “omotenashi”.
Kanji expressionSo far, I’ve explained the Japanese expression for ‘how much’ only in hiragana. Here, let me explain its kanji mixed expression.
- ikura desu ka – 幾らですか (いくらですか) : a kanji expression for “いくらですか”.
SummaryIn this blog post, I’ve explained the expression, “ikura desu ka”, in detail based on its components. And also, I’ve explained its related expressions. 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 price we ask. A demonstrative pronoun helps us a lot in this regard.
- 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. Yet, it’s rarely used. Usually, situations in which the two homonyms are used are very different.
Engineer, Industrial Translator, Blogger
I am trying to spread the Japanese culture through teaching the Japanese language. One of my goals is to make Japanese learners feel the culture through the language.