JLPT N3. Informal—used only in conversation.

なんか and なんて are heard

1. Emphasis

Today is so hot.

Today is such a hot day.


What a beautiful room!

They mean the same thing, but なんて is used when a noun follows.

2. Express disbelief at a situation or the prospect of something.

なんか takes the place of the particle; whereas なんて has the ability to nominalise the preceding verb.

I’ve never seen my mother drunk.

Otatsu-san late for work—that’s rare!

It’s not your fault so there’s absolutely no need to apologise.

なんか here is used to express that the idea of apologizing would be unbelievable.

To me Tomoko is an important friend, but I couldn’t think of feeling above that.

3. To soften a suggestion. This is a rarer usage of なんか.

This weekend, how about going for a drive?

This usage is related to (2) above in the sense that you are indirectly assuming the suggestion is far-fetched (or slightly unbelievable) but want to suggest it anyway.

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