know how to say "Why?" In japanese? In this article, we are going to talk about the two most popular ways of expressing whys and their differences, we are going to talk about the famous “doushite” [どうして], “naze“[何故] and nande [なんで].
We previously wrote an article talking about the differences between nande, nani, nanda and derivatives. Where do they mean "what?", "which", "how", etc. There we also briefly mention doushite and naze.
What does Doushite mean?
Depending on the situation, doushite [如何して] can mean why; for what reason; for what purpose; for what; as; in what way; by what means. doushite It's not so formal, but it's not informal either.
The word doushite It also has other uses and additions. You can say for example, doushitemo [どうしても] which means no matter how; by all means; at any cost; Certainly; no way; in no case; like it or not; eventually, etc.
The ideogram [如] present in doushite [如何して] passes a similarity meaning, as, as if, better and equal. There is also the word ikan [如何] written with the same characters and means how, in what way and circumstances.
The word doushite [どうして] is literally the junction of the word dou [どう] which means as; in what way, together with shite [して] which is the suru verb. So much so that the word dousuru [どうする] which means “What to do?“.
There are variations like doushita and doushitan [どうしたの] which means “What's the problem?”, “What's wrong?”, “What happened?”, “What happened?” and “Somehow”…
What does Nand mean?
This is the most comprehensive way of saying why, and also the most informal. Not to be confused with nandesuka [なんですか], since the present in the expression refers to the particle in [で].
The nande It's the most informal way of all. You should only use it among close friends and in very informal situations. O doushite it sounds a little more informal and can be used with teachers, bosses and older people, if you have a little intimacy.
There are other expressions derived from nande as nandemonai [なんでもない] which means is nothing or insignificant. not to be confused nande with nanda [なんだ] which means “what?”.
What does naze mean?
Depending on the situation, naze [何故] means why; as; in what way; for what reason. This is the most formal way of expressing why or how. This form is not used with close friends or depending on the situation.
If you need to be a lot more formal, please use nazedesuka [何故ですか] instead of just naze. Maybe it's a little rude to just use naze in a very formal situation.
The word nazenara [なぜなら] literally means reason and why. The expression nazeka [なぜか] is not a question and means somehow; for some reason; without knowing why and why.
What is the difference between Naze x Doushite and NANDE?
Although they both mean almost the same thing, naze seems to be more of a why than doushite. The word doushite is more informal and can convey an idea of "as" or "like this?“.
doushite ends up being used when talking directly to someone, when you directly ask the person what happened or what the problem is. Already naze is used as a simple why.
you won't say doushite when your boss doesn't want to increase your salary. You can say doushite if your boss is going through a situation, you have a certain intimacy and are trying to understand what happened and why he is upset.
Reaffirming and summarizing: naze is closer to because and dohshite is closer to as… nande it's very informal and chaotic, but it's very common to hear.
Think on the bright side, at least we don't have 4 whys in Japanese the same as in English. Fortunately, the why options do not force us to understand the writing and form of the sentence. Just remember the best time to use.