Ha ha, I’m so clever because if you translate the title of this post into Japanese, it uses the same expression that the question is asking about, thus creating a paradox and opening a blackhole in some alternate universe… or something like that.
…As you can tell, I’ve been too lazy to come up with any real content or finish any of the 20-some drafts I have waiting to be worked on. So I put together this simple post about 「っけ」. Still, it’s a simple and very useful expression, so I feel like I can give myself a pat on the back on this one.
「っけ」 is essentially a simple sound you put at the end of a sentence when you are asking about something that you are trying to recall but can’t seem to quite remember. If you want to say, “What was that thing again?” in Japanese, this expression will do just the trick. It’s also perfect for those tip-of-the-tongue type moments.
As I mentioned, you can see an example of 「っけ」 in the title of this post itself.
– What did 「っけ」 mean, again?
You can also use 「っけ」 at the end of polite sentences as well. Though it adds a bit of a casual tone to your sentence, it should be fine if you are well acquainted with the person you’re talking to. It’ll at least add a little more color to the zombie style of Japanese you find in textbooks in any case.
– What is the mean of this word? (I am a zombie)
– What was the meaning of this word, again? (shoot, I forgot)
Don’t forget to add 「だ」 to nouns and na-adjectives
The only care you need to take in using this expression is to make sure to use the declarative 「だ」 when attaching 「っけ」 to nouns or na-adjectives.
– What day of the week is it, again?
In fact, though it’s not required, 「っけ」 is generally used with 「だ」 and 「た」 for all parts of speech. In other words, it is usually in the form of 「だっけ」 or 「たっけ」. For i-adjectives and non-past verbs, you can use 「だっけ」 by adding 「んだ」.
– Is it ok to not go today? (I can’t remember.)
– Where are we going from here, again?
Just keep these points in mind and you should be well on your way to using this useful expression for all the times you forget what’s going on. (Which happens quite often in my case.)
– What is this again?
– Was there a door in a place like this? (I don’t remember one being here.)
– What time does class start again? From 1:00?