I invited my friend for dinner, he told me yes, I understood "no". Dont you think yes is subtle in Japanese?

Hello みんなさん!

One day I wanted to invite a Japanese male friend for dinner; things not so easy as a foreigner woman…
I said 「晩ご飯に行くか」
And he replied 「行くか」so I thought that he was answering evasively to say no and I stopped there. But the following day in the afternoon he asked me where should we meet and I was pretty shocked. Actually it meant “yes”…
I checked with him after and 「行くかなぁ」would be the hesitation answer = no.

Did something similar happen to you? What do you think ?

We decided to summarise few way to say yes in Japanese native conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTMol8Hry-I
Please watch and give feeback :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Useful video! I wasn’t quite sure of the nuance between ええ and はい before. Also good to know about 行くか meaning “yes” in that situation. There are some times when it’s confusing if the other person has said yes or no :sweat_smile:


Thank you for your feedback, glad it can help :heart_eyes: ! Actually this is complicated to find in real life or textbook these kinds of information !


Whenever I see/hear “行くか” in something like manga or anime, it’s usually with the nuance of “There’s no way in hell I’m going, idiot!” so I’d probably have understood that as a “no” as well.

However, inviting someone with “行くか” is probably wrong. か with plain form verbs can sound very rude because it’s extremely direct. You’d see it often in anime but characters in anime are usually unnaturally direct in their speech so it’s part of the trope. IIRC the Tofugu Podcast deals with exactly this topic in one of their latest episodes.

A casual invitation would be more appropriate as “行かない?”, or “行こうか?”.

That said, useful video, appreciate it :+1:


Yes you are completely right ! I will do a video about how to invite properly haha !
Anime are so bad a reference to speak :scream: Have you tried?


Embarrassed to say yes. It took that Tofugu podcast episode to make me realize I was mistaken about a lot of things. I’m trying to correct my speech to sound more natural, what is surprising is how my teacher put up with me so far :)))


What is this Tofugu podcast you are speaking about? I am interested!!

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The last episodes (part one and part two) deal with the difference between だ and です, and some other particularities of casual speech. The starting point for them is this article:


It all depends on the intonation at the ending. The one I hear most frequently in that sense is 「ごはんに行きますか?」, to which the most common reply is「行きますか?」. And as you have guessed, both participants are willing to go have lunch together.
When I ask questions, I prefer to ask them in a way that it would be difficult to misunderstand the reply.
It must have been an awkward experience for you. ドンマイ!


Thank you I will use it ! I was looking for podcast recently

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Yes I was too casual and by dropping particles and politeness this is what happens haha!

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Here is the summary of the yes for the first part! (secund is coming, please subscribe to the channel if you liked it and want to watch more soon, I would be so glad to have some support :heart_eyes:

EDIT: thank you Phyro I corrected the image*


I think you have formal and informal backwards on the bottom chart there. Not sure if you’re distinguishing between formality and politeness, but そうね is more casual and そうですね would be a more polite expression.


You’re right it has been inversed :fearful:!! Thank you phyro :star_struck:
I will update the fix soon

I also would have interpreted it as hesitation leaning toward declining had I not, of all things, encountered it in Japanese in Final Fantasy XV. Occasionally Gladiolus casually, affirmatively says 「行くか」 when everyone heads out somewhere. In his case か’s pronunciation is muttered but still breathed out with some force, almost mistakable as が. On the contrary, I’ve had friends ask me 「行くか」 with a more pronounced か rising in intonation, definitely inquiring.

Wait, was this person just repeating your unnatural Japanese? (perhaps to make sure they understood your intent) Not intending to reply yet?

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It was online message !! But he knows my Japanese level so I guess he got the message, it was just his way to say yes! :dizzy_face:

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