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All About Japanese Particles: しか (shika)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

Note: Shika is used only with negative verbs. It may combine with (follow) dake, nomi, and kiri for further emphasis.

1. After nouns, indicates there is nothing more than the quantity specified, with the connotation that the quantity is small or unsatisfactory: “only, nothing but, merely.”

Ano mise ni wa, kono zasshi shika arimasen deshita.
This was the only magazine at that store. / The only magazine that store had was this one.

Ima wa sen-sanbyaku-en kiri shika motte inai kara, totemo Furansu-ryōri nado taberarenai yo.
Since all I have at the moment is V1,300, there is no way I can [afford to] eat French food.

*2.After verbs, indicates a limit to the action stipulated by the verb: “there is no choice but, all one can do is.”

I ya da keredo, shuccho da kara iku shika nai.
I don’t want to, but since it’s company business [lit., a business trip], I can’t help but go [I have no choice).

Kono repōto wa, ashita made da kara, kyōchū ni owaraseru shika nai.
Since this report is due tomorrow, I have no choice but to finish it sometime today [will just to have to finish it sometime today).

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words


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