When to use nan or nani?

Learn now how to and when to use nan or nani!

One of the things that confused me at Japanese language, was the use of readings なん and なに for the japanese symbol .

It also took me a while to realize that these two pronunciations referred to the same Japanese symbol.

When to use nan or nani to 

Timing of using the nan or nani reading still seems to me to be pretty erratic, but there are some patterns I've noticed over time.

before particles  and  O なに is most used. On the other hand, before the particles  and なん is most used.

Read too:
Basic particles in Japanese
Basic は and が particles
Basic の and と particles

The reading なん is also used when  appears before です and .

Finally, before the particles  and , we can use so much なん how much なに, Yet なに is preferred in formal conversations.


東京で何を買いますか。 (Toukiou de nani o kaimasu ka?)

このケーキを何で食べましょうか。 (Kono keeki o nan de tabemashou ka?)

何ですか。 (Nan desu ka?)

何をしますか。 (Nani o shimasu ka?)

何が好きですか。 (Nani ga suki desu ka?)

Kanji calligraphy exercise

Below are the Japanese ideographic symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji, copy and paste them into Worksheet for Kana and Kanji Practice , a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write yourself. Just print and practice.