しかない - Grammar Discussion

English translation:
have no choice but

Structure:
Verb + しかない

Explanation:
[Aしかない is used when nothing can be done except A, based on some circumstances]

View on Bunpro

1 Like

To make this formal is it more common to change it to しかないです or しかありません?

2 Likes

As with most things in Japanese, it really depends on the situation. しかないです is more commonly heard in spoken language/conversations, while しかありません is quite stiff and would more commonly be found in writing or very formal conversations (Prime Minister Abe would use しかありません in his speeches).

3 Likes

What is the concrete difference between this grammar point and this grammar point?

What would be the difference between these two sentences?
部屋が汚れていると掃除するしかない
部屋が汚れているとしか掃除しない

In this case I think the meaning is exactly the same.

1 Like

In which cases would they be different?

@Pep95 Hey! You cannot use しか after the conditional と in the sentence that you provided. Perhaps you meant 掃除しかしない? If we just breakdown 掃除するしかない and 掃除しかしない then we can pick apart the differences. 掃除するしかない means that there is nothing to do but clean or that one has no choice but to clean. 掃除しかしない means to do nothing but clean; the only thing that one is doing is cleaning and nothing else. You can use しか before 掃除 but you need a noun (since we are talking about cleaning, it is most likely a person) before it. 彼しか掃除しない means that he is the only one to clean (he is the only doing the cleaning (no one else cleans)). I hope this helps!

1 Like

Pretty clear! Thank you so much.

1 Like