No direct object particle in: 何か飲みませんか?

It’s my understanding that 何か飲みませんか? translates to Won’t you drink something. The part I’m wondering about, is why isn’t there a を particle after 何か?

Perhaps is it because the か in 何か acting as a particle?

In English, we might say ‘would you like a/some beer?’, translated as ‘ビールを飲みませんか。’, but actually means ‘won’t you drink a beer?’ The を points to the referred noun/direct object (that being acted upon), acting as ‘a’ or ‘some’. In this case, we’re using ‘something’, no longer acting upon anything, but offering it as a subject/noun. Besides, it would seem strange to say ‘would you like a something to drink?’.

According to the Yellow Book, p348, ‘in some constructions, the Direct Object marker を can be replaced by the subject marker が.’ The following example is ‘ミルクが飲みたい’. The milk is what is wanted, not what is being acted upon, thus a subject and not an object.

At that point, I think the か prevents the が from appearing, but I’m not as sure about that part of the linguistics.

I made notes about this last year. Copy/pasted below.

References: Japanese for Busy People, Volume 2, Lesson 1; Try! N5 page 46.

Indefinite places, people
When you want to talk about an unspecified person, thing, place etc, add か after the appropriate question word. For example

どこか somewhere; anywhere
何か something; anything
だれか someone; anyone
いつか sometime; any time

Omit particles, which normally go with these words, when it is obvious what they should be:

何か(を)買います。 I will buy something.

しゅうまつにどこか(に)行きますか。 Are you going anywhere on the weekend?

へやにだれか(が)いますか。 Is there anyone in the room?

but include the particle when a noun is used
何かおみやげを買います。 I will buy some souvenirs.

Never use が after いつか
いつか会いましょう。 Let’s meet some time.


@wunderbunny Ah! I forgot about the Try! N5 mention of that! I love that series of books. Now to go flipping back to it to re-read it. Thanks!

I think wunderbunny pretty much covered it…Here is a little write up in case you are interested in reading more: Japanese Particles か (ka) and も (mo) with Question Words

The question word + も acts in a similar way in which you sometimes use a particle and sometimes do not.


何か is the object in this sentence,
don’t confuse か with が .

Yes, having the を would be correct, but particles understood from context are often dropped in natural Japanese.

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