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<< Shidaini | shikanai >>

しか [しか] (shika)
    Meaning: but, only、just
    Example: thats all I can do
    JLPT Level: 2
    Category: grammar
    Author: zero

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
but / only used with neg. predicates & highlights expressed word
compared to だけ, which is used with positive nuance... check out comparison below
Maybe its similar to the difference between "just" and "only".

Just 3 people is fine

Only 3 people, so it was tough..

If you exchange, the nuance is different
Even if with only 3 people, its enough

the nuance is that 3 people is not really enough, but if we try we can do it...

Part of the clue is that after shika you use a negative:
and dake you use a positive

[ Add Note(s) ]
Note: visit WWWJDIC to lookup any unknown words found in the example(s)...
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ex #508   ローマ字しか書けません。 
I can not write anything but romaji [Roman letters]. (western person)  
ex #956   [Related expression]田中さんだけ来ました。 
Only Mr. Tanaka came.  
ex #1048   田中さんしか来ませんでした。 
Noone came except Mr Tanaka.  
ex #1057   百円しかない 
I only have 100 yen  
ex #1058   赤いものしかない 
Nothing but red things.  
ex #1059   そこは車でしか行けない。 
you can only go there by car  
ex #7813   英語しか知りません。 
I only know English.  
ex #8426   彼らしか私に礼を言わなかった。 
They were the only people to thank me.  
ex #8427   ほんの数人の友達しかいない。 
I have only a few friends.  
ex #8428   火曜のフットボール試合の観客はわずかしかいなかった。  
There were few spectators at the football match on Tuesday.  
ex #8430   彼女は金を浪費することしか能ない。  
She never does anything but waste her money.  
ex #8431   彼はせいぜい平均点しか取れないだろう。  
He will get an average mark at best.  
ex #8432   彼女はせいぜい5千円しか払わないだろう。  
She will pay 5,000 yen at most.  
ex #8433   君に賛成だとしか言えない。  
I can`t say but that I agree with you.  
ex #8434   彼女は金もうけのことしか考えない。  
She thinks of nothing but making money.  

Help JGram by picking and editing examples!!
  See Also:  
  • shikanai    (Note しか and しかない entry. The しかない entry is for verb しかない.) [Amatuka]
  • dake    (shika emphasizes the negative, whereas dake just means only/just, in a neutral fashion) [dc]
[ Add a See Also ]
Amatukaしか in comparison to だけ has a bit of an implication that the amount that /is/ present is small in comparison with what might be expected. 
AmatukaIn the しか 'Mr. Tanaka' example the implication is that more might have been expected to come. There is not such an implication in the だけ version. 
Amatuka(Or such is my understanding ;-) 
dcoften used as 「しかない」- nothing but 
bamboo4Or you can use だけしか to emphasize that there were no-shows.
LittleFishI always got confused when textbooks said that しか...ない means "only," but ない is negative. This kind of threw me off. I've never seen it defined as "nothing but" before. Thank you :) 
SpurryMOsesYes, thanks Littlefish. The negative is definitely confusing without further explanation to me as well. So, I now read the 'Mr. Tanaka' example more literally as "Nobody, except Mr. Tanaka, came". Otherwise the negative isn't logical. So I think of it as meaning 'except' and wait for the negative to be 'nothing' or 'noone'. 
bamboo4Spurry is right, so corrected example #1048. 
ChousukeI think さえ resembles the English "save" quite a lot. So #1048 could also be "Save Mr. Tanaka, no-one came" 
ChousukeUh, I wonder what I was thinking. Of course I meant しか, not さえ.  
bamboo4If you wanna use "save" in #1048,it would have to be "save for."
blabbyI know for this grammar that you often omit the particle.
ラーメンをしか食べていない sounds strange to me.
ラーメンしか食べていない sounds more natural.
Today, I wanted to say "Recently, I am only meeting XX". In this case you would say XXさん と/に しか会っていない. right?
I also hear 何々の前にしか会ってない。
Can anyone clarify the rules of particle omission?
bamboo4In the notes,3人しかないので should be 3人しかいないので When you count persons, you use いる/いない and when you refer to inanimate things, you use ある/ない, as the general rule.Elementary, my dear Watson. 
jmadsenI learned this one as "no more than", which always helped me think of it as a negative-sounding idea, and so I never had trouble remembering to use a negative verb with it. Many of the examples use shika + nai, but you should realize that it is the negative form of ANY verb (subject to other grammar rules, of course.) 
pingpongpaddleWhat's the difference between だけ and ただ? Is it just that ただ comes before a noun, and だけ after? 

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