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◉The difference between「どうして」「なんで」, and 「なぜ」

You may have learned “どうして” as “why” in your lesson. On the other hand, you may have heard “なんで” “なぜ” as why in the anime or drama too.

Why Japanese has the three different words for “why”? What is the difference between “どうして” “なんで” and “なぜ”?

Let’s check together:)

「どうして」 「どうして」is usually used to ask the reason for something when you speak, with your feeling. (emotional) どうして にほんごを べんきょうしますか。 Doushite nihongo o benkyou shimasuka. Why do you study Japanese?

どうして あんなことを してしまったんですか。 Doushite annakoto o shite simattandesuka. What did you do something like that for?


「なんで」: why 「なんで」is the casual one to ask the reason for something when you speak, with your feeling. (emotional) So, you can’t use「なんで」for reports or business emails. Also, it is better for you not to use 「なんで」 for your superiors and boss.

なんで ケーキ たべないの? Nande keeki tabenai no? Why don’t you eat cake?


「なぜ」: why 「なぜ」is usually used to ask the reason for something when you write and ask rationality. なぜ このえいがは にんきが あるのか。(the headlines of newspapers) Naze kono eiga wa ninkiga arunoka. “Why is this movie popular”


Formal level ①なぜ⇨most formal one(written word) ②どうして(spoken word) ③なんで⇨most casual one(spoken word)

I hope you enjoy learning Japanese


Takemoto Tomo Japanese Language School https://www.tomo-japanese.com/