Today’s Grammar Point: ~など/~なんか/~なんて

~など、~なんか、~なんて all mean something like “such as ~,” “something like ~,” etc.

I think usages of ~など, ~なんか and ~なんて can be divided into the following three and depending on the other words in the sentence not all three expressions can be used:

  1. to list up the same kind: etc., and so on, and the like.
  2. to soften the definitive tone
  3. as a humble/derogatory expression

~なんか can be considered a casual version of ~など, so ~なんか and ~など are almost interchangeable but while ~など can be used after a verb, ~なんか usually follows a noun only (apart from ~たり form) and ~なんか has a stronger feel of “belittling” of the preceding noun than ~など, so there are occasions it’s better not to swap ~など with ~なんか.

When ~なんて is used for the meaning of “such as ~”or “~ and alike,” that includes the meaning of the particles と and/or は, so ~などと, ~などという or ~などは can be replaced with ~なんて but what can follow ~なんて is limited. For instance, no particle will be used after ~なんて and です/だ cannot be used directly after ~なんて.

~なんて is also often used to imply the speaker’s feeling of “unexpectedness.” This ~なんて is not usually replaced with ~など or ~なんか.

In the examples below, △ means it is grammatically acceptable but sounds a little awkward.


  • [noun] + など/なんか/なんて
  • [plain verb] + など/なんて
  • [plain verb] こと + なんか
  • [たform verb] + り + など/なんか/なんて
  • [いadj stem] く など/なんか/なんて ない

to list up the same kind: etc., and so on, and the like

With this meaning ~など often accompanies や or ~たり. As ~など in this meaning is very formal, replacing with ~なんて may sound a bit awkward.

You can eat udon and alike cheaply at that shop.

At that supermarket, liquor such as beer and wine is cheap.

It is forbidden here to do things like to speak loudly and/or to drink alcohol.
(✓)ここでは大声おおごえはなしたり、おさけんだりなんて行為こうい禁止きんしされています。(Note this なんて is for などという, thus the particle の is no longer used.)

to soften the affirmative tone

I read books at home on Sundays and alike.

I practice soccer on Sundays and alike.
(✖)サッカーは日曜日にちようびなんて練習れんしゅうします。(No particle after ~なんて as ~なんて includes the particles と and/or は. Even if you take に out, it still sounds strange in this context.)

What’s wrong? You’ve burst into tears suddenly.
(✖)どうしたの?きゅうしたりなんてして。(As ~なんて includes the meaning of the particles と and/or は, して cannot follow ~なんて.)

as a humble/derogatory expression

Are you sure someone like me is OK?

I can’t marry my precious daughter to that man.

I’ll beat that guy.

To emphasise “negation”

I can’t do the work of a teacher and alike.

You can’t do such a thing as throwing this book away.
(✓)このほんてることなんかわたしにはできない。As ~なんか cannot follow a verb directly, こと is added to make the verb てる into a noun.

It’s not at all painful.

The answer to today’s question: C

As ~なんて includes the meaning of the particle は in this case, if you skip このみせでは and が, うどんなんかやすべられます alone is OK (it means “we can eat udon noodles and alike cheaply”) but you cannot use なんて otherwise.

~なんて for “unexpectedness”

~なんて can be used to imply the speaker wasn’t expecting what precedes なんて. This ~なんて cannot usually be replaced with ~など or ~なんか.

You don’t really mean you want to break up, do you?

I can’t believe I failed even though I studied so much.

なんか and なんて as they are

So far, I talked about ~など, ~なんか, ~なんて, which always follow another word. There is no independent usage of など but なんか and なんて can be used independently.

なんか is a casual form of なにか and means “somehow,” “in some way,””something,” or “somehow,” etc.

(He’s) a somewhat kind person.

I’m sorry, did you say something now?

なんて is a casual version of なんという (What! for exclamation) or なんと (“what?” to ask for what has been said).

What a kind person!

I’m sorry, what did you say now?

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One thought on “~など/~なんか/~なんて

  1. Reply
    ~なんて/とは/って/は、あんまりだ | EasyJapaneseE
    20 December 2021 at 8:00 am

    […] This ~なんて implies the speaker’s feeling of unexpectedness explained in this post and I personally think ~なんて sounds the most natural out of these four. ~って is usually […]

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