Components

Grammar detail: difference between だけ and しか

difference between だけ and しか
Tweet
115 words
My current mastery of this grammar point:
LOG IN to view grammar mastery data
Both だけ and しか mean 'only' or 'nothing but'. However, there are a few differences between the two expressions.
Most importantly, しか is followed by a negative verb, whereas だけ is usually followed by a positive verb.
  • 私は英語だけ分かります。I only understand English.
  • 私は英語しか分かりません。I only understand English.
However, there is a more subtle difference: だけ contains no emotional implications - it merely expresses a fact. しか, on the other hand, implies an underlying (negative) judgement. Using the above examples, the first simply states the fact - you only understand English. The second, however, implies perhaps a tone of apology, or pessimism, or perhaps the idea that you think you really ought to understand another language.
LOG IN to view flashcard data

Kanji used in this grammar

シ   わたくし    わたし I, myself   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
エイ    England; hero; flower   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
ゴ   かた to talk, relate   かたらう to talk together, chat   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
ブン   ブ   フン   わける to divide, to distinguish   わかる to understand   わかれる to be divided   わかつ to share, distribute   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
Problem with this grammar? Question or comment? Please CONTACT US.
Kanshudo is your AI Japanese tutor, and your constant companion on the road to mastery of the Japanese language. To get started learning Japanese, just follow the study recommendations on your Dashboard. You can use Quick search (accessible using the icon at the top of every page) to look up any Japanese word, kanji or grammar point, as well as to find anything on Kanshudo quickly. For an overview, take the tour.
×