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Only A; no more than A

  1. Only A; no more than A
  2. There's only A; Only A can be done; Only A (of many methods)
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プリン  ひと しか ない  もっと     
There's only one pudding! I wanted more!
12
       オヤジギャグ しか       
I'm too nervous: all I can say are dad jokes.
19
すみません         しか       んです けど  
Sorry, I only have a Japanese (-language) business card.
12
ヨーロッパ    しか    こと  ありません  
I've only been to Europe once.
25
     しか          
I've only written one page of the essay.

Getting the sentences
Construction
(Elements in parentheses are optional.)
ANoun (number/object)
しか
BVerb (ない form)
Basic Examples:
しかない (there's only one)

Notes
This is used when the given amount is less than normal/average.
Related Expressions
Where this grammar is found


User notes
24

in contrast with だけ, this pattern confers regret for the small amount, whereas だけ is more neutral. For example, 1しかパーティーになかった would show sadness that only one person showed up at the party, whereas 1だけパーティーにた shows no emotion.
11 years ago
avatar mysticfive - Level 912
 
There's only A; Only A can be done; Only A (of many methods)

  1. Only A; no more than A
  2. There's only A; Only A can be done; Only A (of many methods)
16
   より      から     する まで   しか ない  
As were arrived earlier than expected we now can only wait until the shop opens.
13
           ので    しか ない です  
I was deceived by her, so there is nothing to do but go our separate ways.
14
パソコン    そう  ので  この        しか ない  
The computer seems to be broken, so I have to write this letter by hand (that's all I can do).
2
このまま            この       しか ない  
I can't pay rent as things are, so all I can do is vacate this house.
4
  こと            から   する しか ない  
I've fallen for him so I'm left with confessing to him.
9
      から     しか ない  
I forgot my wallet so I have no choice but to return home.

Getting the sentences
Construction
(Elements in parentheses are optional.)
AVerb: Dictionary Form
しか
ない
Basic Examples:
するしかない (no choice but to suck it up)

Related Expressions
Where this grammar is found


User notes
16

used in a situation where the speaker has no choice but to do something and implies the speakers unwillingness to do it.
13 years ago
sod - Level 1

Discussion about this grammar
Years Studied: 15
Studying:
Level: 6, : 4
Is the form of this structure that uses the noun form on this site also?
0
13 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
Yes, and I put them both on the same page (just need to correct the jlpt markers on this page).
0
13 years ago
Studying: N2, N1
Level: 1, : 61
The model sentence for the first meaning of しかない does not fall in line with it's grammar construction Noun + しかない。
0
13 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
Thanks - fixed that up, and went ahead and added a few more model sentences to help out :)
0
13 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: 3
Studying: JLPT N3 & JLPT 2
Level: 1, : 99
Dictionary form verb + しかない is also possible

けるからには、るしかない。 (Unicom)

Edit: Nevermind. It's already there.
0
12 years ago (Edited 12 years ago.)
avatar
Years Studied: 3
Studying: 2, N2/N1
Level: 3, : 95
For some reason, in the first usage, second example sentence, there is みません for みません・すみません. Otherwise, should that か which follows not be が?
0
12 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
Thanks! In the future, if you see an error, you can hit the 'something incorrect' link and suggest a correction from there!
0
12 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: 3
Studying: 2, N2/N1
Level: 3, : 95
Ah right, sure
0
12 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: 3
Studying: JLPT N3
Level: 1, : 286
Just wondering, can the second form be used in sarcasm? For example: "もいないね。このケーキをべるしかないね。" Also, I noticed some of the sentences end in しかないだ while others just end in the しかない. That confuses me a little...
0
10 years ago (Edited 10 years ago.)
avatar
Years Studied: N/A
Studying: Kanji Kentei
Level: 3, : 638
Yes, you can use しかない as per your example sentence. As for the だ: ない here is just ありません or the negative form of the verb you're using so the same rules apply as when you're using the negative form in other sentence constructs. Did that answer your question? :o
0
10 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: 3
Studying: JLPT N3
Level: 1, : 286
Well, I mean, like in the example sentences, why does the first one end with "つしかない" and the second one end with わかれるしかない[color=red]だ[/color]?
1
10 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
Should not be there, removing it now!
1
10 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: Since 2010
Studying: JLPT N1
Level: 1, : 216
Shouldn't the title be しか~ない rather than しかない, since the ない form of any verb can be inserted?
1
9 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
Updated!
0
9 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: Since summer 2012
Studying: Grammar N5, Kanji N5-N3
Level: 1, : 82
Hmmm, I don't quite get it. The explanation says one needs to use a verb in nai-form, but then there is an example like ぶんをまいしかきませんでした。 Is this きませんでした also a nai-form of a verb? Sorry, if that's a silly question, I just got a bit confused.
0
9 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
it is the polite form of the negative. For く, you've got かない (short negative) きません (polite negative) The でした is the past tense. Teeeeechincally, only the first is the 'ない' form, but it would take up too much space to add every negative form. Maybe ..use 'Negative form' in the box in the future.
1
9 years ago
avatar
Years Studied: Since April '18
Level: 25, : 50
I got tripped up on a grammar question relating to this - I commented in the quiz but it seems worth mentioning here too. 
Of the given options, 5しかの was incorrect, it seems the correct answer is 5しか. Is this a separate usage which isn't listed above? I couldn't find any specific information about it.
0
4 years ago
avatar
Level: 823, : 324
It's hard to say without seeing the full sentence, but I imagine it was something like the following from the site's library: は、10しかっていない。 (I have no more than ten books)
If that's the case, this falls under the first usage.

It's easier to understand if you think of しか as describing the action/verb.
For instance in しかきませんでした (I've only written one page of the essay) from above, "one page" describes how much I've written, not the essay itself, so しかの would be wrong.
Likewise, in しからない (only he knows the truth), "he" describes who knows and not some aspect of the truth, so しかの would also be wrong.
I hope this somewhat helped clear up the confusion.
0
4 years ago
Level: 1, : 0
It is like related to ~ばかり or ~だけ, right? Used to express that there's no other option, hence one has to stick to that option, right?
0
3 years ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631
I wouldn't say it's quite similar to だけ. The way I think of them is that だけ means "only", without any suggestion that it is a smaller than expected/normal amount.

You are right in that only that option exists, so one is "stuck to it" - but this only applies to しか.
0
3 years ago
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Years Studied: Many on and off
Studying: N2
Level: 657, : 2,878

#2 This English translation has a typo:

ったよりいたからするまでつしかない。
As were arrived earlier than expected we now can only wait until the shop opens.

0
1 year ago
avatar
Site admin
Level: 110, : 6,631

Fixed, thanks!

0
1 year ago



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