How to use しか & だけ ( shika & dake) & だけしか ( = dakeshika)

shika

Conner「昨日は、9時間しか寝ていないからもっと寝させて。」

= Kinou wa, kujikan shika nete inai kara motto nesasete.]

= I ONLY slept for nine hours, so please let me sleep a little longer.

dake

Buster「ずるい!Connerだけ、かわいいの着てる!」

= Zurui! Conner dake, kawaii no kiteru.

= Not fair! Only you are wearing something cute.

Conner「今日だけくまにならせてよ。」

= Kyou dake kuma ni narasete yo.

= Let me be a bear just for today.

Hi everyone!
Today we have these wonderful guest teachers, Conner Sensei (Brown doggie) and Buster Sensei (black doggie).
We are angel buddies. They volunteered to make a lesson with me for their loving sister who has been self-studying Japanese.
Just looking at their pictures, we can tell they are much loved by their family.

*****

Hello!! We are Conner and Buster! Nice to meet you! はじめまして!= Hajimemashita.
We will teach you だけ ( = dake) and しか ( = shika) today.
They both mean  “only/ just” in Japanese but they are not interchangeable.

★The main difference:

You use だけ ( = dake) in both negative and affirmative sentences and しか ( = shika)  is only used in negative sentences.

A) 財布に百円だけある。

= Saifu ni hyaku-en dake aru.

= There is only 100 yen in the wallet. That’s all there is.

= I only have 100 yen in my wallet. That’s all I have.

B ) 財布に百円しかない。

= Saifu ni hyaku-en shika nai.

= There is only 100 yen in the wallet. There is nothing else.

= I only have 100 yen in my wallet. I have nothing else.

Note: The nuance difference:
The speaker feel more positive with 100 yen in A)

**
C) 百円だけあげる。

= Hyaku-en dake ageru.

= I will give you just 100 yen.

D)  百円しかあげない。

= Hyaku-en shika agenai.

= I will give you just 100 yen. (I won’t give you more than 100 yen.)

Note: C) is more positive. D) sounds cheap and C) sounds more generous.

**
E)  日本語は「お腹がすいた」だけ知っている。

= Nihongo wa  “Onaka ga suita” dake shitte iru.

= The only Japanese I know is “I’m hungry”

F) 日本語は「お腹がすいた」しか知らない。

= Nihongo wa “Onakaga suita” shika shiranai.

= I only know “I’m hungry” in Japanese. (Nothing else)

Note: E) is more positive and confident.

******
G)  このページだけ勉強した。

= Kono peeji dake benkyou shita.

= I just studied this page.

H) このページしか勉強していない。

= Kono peeji shika benkyou shiteinai.

= I didn’t study anything except this page.

Note: H) is more insecure.

*****

You can combine with other particles.

だけ( = ni dake) /だけ ( = dake ni)

だけ ( = to dake) だけ ( = dake to )

だけ( = dake wo)

だけ  (= dake ga )

**

しか ( = ni shika)

しか ( = de shika)

しか ( = to shika)

までしか (= made shika) , etc.

(X You don’t say しか ( = shikani) 、しか (= shika wo)、しか ( = shika ga)

Ex. 彼は女の子だけ優しい。/ 彼は女の子だけ優しい。

= Kare wa onna no ko dake ni yasashii. / Kare wa onna no ko ni dake yasashii.

= He is only nice to girls.

Ex. 彼は、女の子しか優しくない。

= Kare wa, onna no ko ni shika yasashiku nai.

= He is only nice to girls. (He is not nice to boys.)

****

Ex. Connerだけ愛している。

= Conner dake wo aishite iru.

= I only love Conner. (Nobody else)

Ex. Connerしか愛せない。

= Conner shika aisenai.

= I only love Conner. I can’t love anybody else./ I am not capable of loving anyone else other than Conner.

Note: You can’ t say Connerしか( = Conner shika wo)

****

Ex.だけ彼女の秘密を知っている。

= Watashi dake ga kanojo no himitsu wo shitte iru.

= I am the only one who knows her secret.

Ex. しか彼女の秘密を知らない。

= Watashi shika kanojo no himitsu wo shiranai.

= I am the only one who knows her secret. (Nobody else knows.)

Note: You can’t say しか ( = watashi shika ga )

★How to form:

*noun + だけ (= dake)

Ex. (= neko)  a cat  + だけ (= dake)

* verb plain form (present/past)

Ex. する( = suru) to do

した ( = shita)/ していた ( = shiteita) ,etc. + だけ  ( = dake)

*verb plain form + こと (=koto) + だけ (= dake)

したこと (= shite ita koto) / していたこと(=shiteita koto ) + だけ ( = dake) 

* i-adjective plain form ( present/ past)

* ( = i) / past かった ( = katta) + だけ (= dake)

Ex. 怖い ( = kowai) scary

怖い ( = kowai ) / past tense 怖かった ( = kowakatta ) + だけ  ( = dake) 

* a-adjective plain form (present/past)  ~な

*きれいな ( =kireina) beautiful

きれいな (= kireina )/ past tense きれいだった ( = kiredatta ) + だけ (= dake) 

☆How to form しか ( = shika)

* noun + しか ( = shika)

*( = inu) a dog  + しか ( = shika)

* verb plain form /  noun form ~ こと ( = koto)

Ex. する (= suru) + しか ( = shika)

Ex. すること ( = surukoto) doing  + しか ( = shika)

* adjective noun form ~さ (= sa)  若さ(= wakasa) youth  + しか ( = shika)

OK, I will give you more examples:

* だけ ( = dake): You can use it in affirmative sentences

(You also use のみ ( = nomi) in formal sentences. I will explain this later.)

Ex. 「1時間だけ時間をちょうだい。」

= Ichijikan dake jikan wo choudai.

= Give me just one hour. (That’s all I need.)

「1時間だけならいいよ。」

= Ichijikan dake nara iiyo.

= If it just takes one hour, then fine.

Ex. 美味しいものだけ食べたい。

= Oishii mono dake tabetai.

= I just want to eat delicious things.

Ex.  ちょっとの間だけそっとしておいて。

= Chotto no aida dake sotto shiteoite.

= Please leave me alone for a moment.

Ex. お砂糖、少しだけいれてください。

= Osatou, sukoshi dake irete kudasai.

= Please add just a little bit of sugar.

Ex. その時だけはみんな静かだった。

= Sono toki dake wa minna shizuka datta.

= Everyone was quiet just at that moment.

Ex. 子供だけで出かける。

= Kodomo dake de dekakeru.

= Going out just kids

Ex. このお菓子はここだけで食べられます。

= Kono okashi wa koko dake de taberaremasu.

= You can eat this sweet only here. (nowhere else)

Ex.  「今度の土曜日、空いてる?」

= Kondo no doyoubi, aiteru?

= Are you free this coming (or next) Saturday?

「ごめんなさい。その日だけは忙しいです。」

= Gomennasai. Sono hi dake wa isogashii desu.

= I’m sorry. I am busy on that particular day.

***

Ex. 玉ねぎだけ食べられない。

= Tamanegi dake taberarenai.

= I can eat anything but onions.

Ex. この漢字だけ読めない。

= Kono kanji dake yomenai.

= I can’t read just this kanji.

Ex. 食べることだけが楽しみだ。

= Taberu koto dake ga tanoshimi da.

= Eating is the only pleasure I have.

Ex. 納豆だけは嫌いだ。

= Nattou dake wa kirai da.

= I just don’t like Natto.  (fermented soybeans)

= I like anything but Natto.

Ex. あいつだけは許さない。( rough)

= Aitsu dake wa yurusanai.

= I will never forgive him.

Ex. 一緒にコーヒーだけ飲んで家に帰った。

= Issho ni koohii dake nonde ie ni kaetta.

= We just had some coffee and went back home.

Ex. あの子はかわいいだけで中身がない。

= Anoko wa kawaii dake de nakami ga nai.

= She is just cute. She has no substance.

Ex. 彼はうちが貧しいだけで心は貧しいわけではない。

= Kare wa uchi ga mazushii dake de kokoro ga mazushii wake dewa nai.

= He is only from a poor family, but that doesn’t mean his heart is poor.

Ex. メールを見なかっただけで無視をしたんじゃないよ。

= Mairu wo minakatta dake de mushi wo shitan ja nai yo.

= It’s simply because I didn’t see your text. I didn’t ignore you.

Ex. 彼とは家が近かっただけです。

= Kare to wa ie ga chikakatta dake desu.

= I used to live close to him. That’s all.

Ex. ゲスト先生は、犬と猫だけなんですか?

= Gesuto sensei wa, inu to neko dake nan desuka?

= Are the guest teachers just dogs and cats?

From Maggie: That’s not true. Other animals are welcome! :maggie-small:

*だけではなく ( = dake dewa naku) Not only ~ but also

Ex. これは、子供だけではなく大人も楽しめるゲームです。

= Kore wa kodomo dake dewa naku otona mo tanoshimeru geimu desu.

= Not only children but adults can also enjoy this game.

Ex. Busterは今日だけではなく昨日もよく寝ていた。

= Buster wa kyou dake dewa naku kinou mo yoku nete ita.

= Buster was sleeping a lot not just today but also yesterday.

Ex. マギーはかわいいだけではなく心も美しい。 :) 

= Maggie wa kawaii dake dewa naku kokoro mo utsukushii.

= Maggie is not only a cute but also has a beautiful heart.

From Maggie: Well said, Conner and Buster! !niconico!

* しか ( = shika) : You use it in negative sentences.

Ex. この車は二人しか乗れない。

= Kono kurumwa wa futari shika norenai.

= This car only sits two people. (Only 2 people fit.)

Ex. 朝は、ヨーグルトしか食べない。

= Asa wa, youguruto shika tabenai.

= I only eat yogurt for breakfast. (Nothing else.)

Ex. あなたのことしか考えられない。

= Anata no koto shika kangaerarenai.

= I only can think about you. (Nobody else)

Ex. この部屋は (or には)犬しか入れません。

= Kono hewa wa (or niwa) inu shika hairemasen.

= Only dogs can come in the room.

Ex. マギー先生のサイトでしか勉強しない。

= Maggie Sensei no saito de shika benkyou shinai.

= I only study with Maggie Sensei’s site. (Nowhere else.)

Ex. 私には若さしかない。

= Watashi ni wa wakasa shikanai.

= I only have youth. (That’s all I have.)

Ex. 彼女のために、祈ることしかできない。

= Kanojo no tame ni, inoru koto shika dekinai.

= The only thing I can do for her is to just pray.

Ex. 今の彼女には彼しか見えない。

= Ima no kanojo ni wa kare shika mienai.

= (She can’t think about anything else) She only can see him. (She only thinks about him.)

Ex. 今は、待つことしかできない。

= Ima wa, matsu koto shika dekinai.

= The only thing I can do now is wait.

Ex. 私なんてただの犬の先生でしかない。

= Watashi nante tada no inu no sensei de shika nai.

= After all, I am just a dog teacher. That’s all I am.

Ex. あの子は着飾ることしか考えていない。

= Anoko wa kikazaru koto shika kangaete inai.

= She just thinks about dressing up. (That’s the only thing that she can think of. Nothing else.)

Ex. もう彼と話し合うしかないね。

= Mou kare to hanashiau shika naine.

= We just need to talk to him. (There are no other options.)

***
だけしか ( = dake shika) only, just, just limited to ~.

Now, you can combine だけ ( = dake) and しか ( = shika) .

だけしか ( = dakeshika)

The function is the same as しか ( = shika).  だけ ( = dake) emphasizes しか ( = shika)

You only use だけしか ( = dakeshika) in negative sentences.

だけしか ( = dakeshika) and しか ( = shika)

Basically they mean the same but だけしか ( = dakeshika) emphasize the meaning more.

Note: You only use だけしか   ( = dakeshika) in a negative sentence.

Ex. 1) 朝から、パンしか食べていない。

= Asa kara, pan shika tabete inai.

= I only ate a piece of bread. That’s all I had.

→Emphasizing the fact that you only had a piece of bread more.

Ex. 2) 朝から、パンだけしか食べていない。

= Asa kara, pan dake shika tabete inai.

= I only ate a piece of bread. That’s all I had.

Ex. 前売り券を持った人だけしか入れません。

= Maeuriken wo motta hito dake shika hairemasen.

= Only the people who have advanced tickets are allowed to enter.

Ex. 自分にだけしかできないことがある。

= Jibun ni dake shika dekinai koto ga aru.

= There are things that only you can do.

 !star! Sometimes you put a particle between だけ ( = dake) and しか ( = shika)

Ex.同じ経験をした人だけしか私の気持ちは、わからない。

= Onaji keiken wo shita hito dakeni shika watashi no kimochi wa wakaranai.

= The only people who would understand my feelings are the one who had the same experiences. (Nobody else.)

Ex. このお菓子は北海道だけしか買えないの?

= Kono okashi wa Hokkaidou dakede shika kaenaino?

= You can buy these sweets only in Hokkaido?

***
:w: のみ ( = nomi)

のみ ( = nomi) is a formal way to say だけ ( = dake)

Ex. 日曜日だけ休みです。

= Nichiyoubi dake yasumi desu.

= I only have a day off on Sundays.

(more formal/literal)

日曜日のみ休みです。

= Nichiyoubi nomi yasumi desu.

You often see it in a written form.

Ex. 飲み放題!女性のみ千円。

= Nomihoudai! Josei nomi sen en.

= All you can drink. ¥1,000 only for women.

*****
maggie-senseiギー先生より = Maggie sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Conner先生、Buster先生、ありがとう! !heart3! 

= Conner Sensei, Buster Sensei arigatou!

= Thank you, Conner Sensei, Buster Sensei!

またこのサイトでしか勉強できないレッスンを一緒に作りましょうね。

= Mata kono saito de shika benkyou dekinai ressun wo issho ni tsukurimashou ne.

= Let’s make a lesson together again that you can only find here.

***

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I appreciate your support!  サポートありがとう!

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47 Comments

  1. 先生、ご質問よろしいですか?

    問題は”だけではなく”のことです。
    例文:
    一.幸子さんは明るい人だけではなく、親切な人でした。
    ニ.幸子さんは明るかっただけではなく、親切な人でした。
    どちらが正しいですか?
    それとも…両方の文章は不正解ですか?

    1. Hi はる
      ねんのために英語で答えますね。
      1 is not natural. 2 is better.
      You can also say 幸子さんは明るいだけではなく親切な人でした。
      (The first part 明るいだけではなく, doesn’t have to be past tense.)

      (Note for you:If you are talking about your own question, ご質問→質問: Just say 質問してもいいですか?(more polite よろしいですか)

  2. Hi Maggie!
    This time I need some of your help ^ ^
    It’s about 動詞ル形+だけ+動詞テ形

    Could you please explain this pattern (when is it used and what does it imply [the nuance]) with some examples?
    As far as I remember, you’ve mentioned that it stresses the meaning of the verb…

    I found this one on the Internet「誘うだけ誘ってプランを具体化させない」and I think it means the speaker will not let realize/materialize someone’s plan of inviting someone somewhere.
    Maybe a good translation of 動詞ル形+だけ+動詞テ形 would be “if it comes to~~” What do you think?

    I found also 「聞くだけ聞いてみたら?」 which means: “it doesn’t hurt to ask”
    Is this the same kind of usage of this pattern?

    Looking forward to your reply :)

    よろしくお願いします!

    1. Hello 天人!

      誘うだけ誘ってプランを具体化させない
      All he/she does is asking out (and suggesting something) and never carries out the plans.
      or He/She just asks out someone and doesn’t carry out the plans.

      For example a boy asks a girl out.
      “I know a good Italian restaurant. Do you want to go there with me?”
      The girl says yes but the boy never carries out the plan, making a reservation, setting the time and going to the restaurant with the girl.

      So VだけVて〜 implies “just do something and wouldn’t do something.”

      Ex.言いたいことだけ言って帰ってきた。
      = I just said things I needed to say and came home.
      Implies the speaker just said whatever things he/she needed to say and didn’t listen to others and left the place and came home.

      ***
      You use this form for a suggestion or asking someone to do something

      「聞くだけ聞いてみたら?」
      The closest translation is “It never hurts to ask.” = Just ask. You won’t lose anything.

      You can use this form to ask for a favor.
      私の話を聞くだけ聞いて
      Just hear me out! / Please just listen to me. (implies “You don’t need to do anything else. Just listen and decide what to do.)

      1. Ah, this wonderful feeling of being enlightened by Maggie <3
        Thank you very much.

        I made an example using 動詞ル形+だけ+動詞テ形, would you please take a look on it?
        1) 甘い言葉言うだけ言って、一度約束したことを実行することになると、彼はまったく何もしない。

        Thanks again and see ya next time, Maggie!

        1. おはよう、天人!

          Great!

          甘い言葉”を”言うだけ言って / Or if that person asking someone out with sweet words, you can say 甘い言葉で誘うだけ誘って

  3. Hi. Thank you for all your effort. I’ve learned a lot. I found the next sentence in a song: “boku wa kimi wo omou shika nai”.
    Then, the verb can be before ” shika” and “nai” in every sentence or just in certain cases?
    It would be the same as boku wa kimi shika omoimasen? Thanks.

    1. verb plain form + しかない means there is no choice but doing ~ / the only think one can do is to ~

      It should work with any verbs..(If I come up with any exceptions, I will add them here.)

      taberu shikanai
      iku shikanai
      suru shikanai….

      1) boku wa kimi wo omou shika nai
      2) boku wa kimi shika omoimasen

      are different.
      1) The only thing I can do is to think about you. (Nothing else)
      2) I will just think about you. (Nobody else)

  4. Hi Maggie-sensei..

    I have a question.. 私なんてただの犬の先生でしかない. It is an example above, I just wanna ask why is で used after the sensei?

          1. 1 more question maggie sensei.. I got lost in the difference of this 2 sentences that I made.. it goes like this..

            “Kore ga yaru shika nai” & “Kore deshika yaranai” and is it right that I putted de in here? ..

          2. Leo
            I wonder if you meant these two sentences.
            これをやるしかない?= Kore wo yaru shikanai = There is no choice. I have to do this. (Obligation/You are under pressure)
            これだけしかやらない = Kore dake shika yaranai = I only do this.(Nothing else) (You do just one thing. You decide on your own)

            Your sentences
            Kore ga yarushika nai. = これがやるしかない = You use が after これ. That mean “これ” is a subject. “This one” should do. There is no choice. (That means you refers to someone with これ which is pretty rude.)
            Kore deshika yaranai” これでしかやらない Since you put で after これ, it means “with this” “method”. I only do it using this.

  5. Hi sensei!

    Really good page and really detailed! Love it very much!

    I would have a question regarding this lesson. I read it here, that “dake” goes before “ga” like: クラシックだけが聞きます.

    However, I met with this sentence: あの人は英語がだけ分かります. So I think this must be a bad usage of “dake”, right? Can you please confirm it?

    Best Regards!

    1. Also, in this sentence: 美味しいものだけ食べたい
      Can I put the “wo” particle or I cannot. Or if I want, I can just omit it?
      like this: 美味しいものだけを食べたい

      Thanks again!

      1. Yes, you can say 美味しいものだけを食べたい
        As I mentioned in my previous comment, you tend to drop certain particles in conversation but it is originally 美味しいものだけを食べたい

    2. Hello Inside27,

      When you use だけ with a particle, you have to be careful where to put a particle.
      クラッシック(音楽)を聞く = to listen to the classical music.
      You only listed to the classical music
      クラッシック(音楽)だけを聞きます。
      (In conversation, you sometimes drop the particle を
      クラッシック(音楽)だけ聞きます。)

      ***
      英語がわかります or 英語はわかります (when you show the contrast)

      He/She understand just English.
      英語+だけ+が・は+わかります。

      1. Maggie, what Inside27 means is the order of usage of the particles; whether if it changes the context, or not.
        => あの人は英語!がだけ!分かります VS あの人は英語!だけが!分かります

        I think that がだけ focuses more on what it comes before => 英語
        and だけが focuses more on what it comes after => 分かります

        What do you think?

        1. @天人

          You don’t say あの人は英語がだけ分かります
          The position of が is wrong.
          The possible positions are
          あの人だけが英語がわかります。Just that person understand English/ Only that person does understand English.
          あの人は英語だけがわかります。He/She understand only English
          あの人は英語がわかるだけです。He/She is just understand English.

  6. Hi, Maggie sensei
    I don’t understand clearly the meaning of these two sentences:
    1. 自分だけを信じる。
    2. 自分を信じるだけ。
    Please explain them for me sensei.

    1. @hang

      Hi hang
      1. 自分だけを信じる。
      だけ modifies 自分
      to believe just “oneself”
      2. 自分を信じるだけ。
      だけ modifies “自分を信じる”
      Just “believe oneself”.

  7. Thank you for these lessons! I’ve been randomly searching for sites on how to use “dake” because I can’t really depend only on our school sensei. I have to do self study too, Glad i’ve found a nice reliable Japanese lesson site!

    I just want to ask if this sentence is correct and acceptable:
    女優が好きからだけだよ

    ありがとうございますマギー先生!

  8. I would like to ask an out-of-topic question, I just started learning basic Nihon go.
    I once read that we can say “あなたが好きです ~ anata ga suki desu” to say “I like you”.
    The question is, the above clause is a shortened clause, isn’t it? And the complete clause is “私はあなたが好きです ~ Watashi wa anata ga suki desu”, is that correct?
    Thanks for the answers!

    1. @Ary Anandaputra
      Hello Ary Anandaputra

      Yes,that’s right.
      “私はあなたが好きです ~ Watashi wa anata ga suki desu”
      私= watashi = I
      は= wa = particle (topic marker)
      We tend to omit the subject in Japanese.
      →あなたが好きです。= Anata ga suki desu.

  9. hello Maggie sensei..
    recently I added you in Twitter.. I’m the one who guessed those Japanese-English sentences..I’m so happy to be with you boucingheart!

    about this lesson, I’m sure it was posted before, is there any changes in this one.. cause I already have that printed??

    and my name in katakana is read like : Ruwaida it’s an arabic name… do you think it can be turned into kanji.. my name is log and hard..

    1. @Roro

      Hi Roro,
      Oh you followed me on Twitter? よろしくね!:)
      Ah, OK, here’s what happened.
      I usually check the lessons one more time before I release them. But somehow I accidentally published this lesson right after I made it without checking the spelling and etc.
      So I unpublished it again to check. So I doubt there will be a major change in future.

      Ruwaida.
      Hmm let me think. How about 瑠愛多
      RU: 瑠 beautiful jewelry. It is one of common kanji for name with ru
      WAI : Instead of “wai” you could use the sound “AI” 愛 love
      TA : da 多(=ta/da)  a lot
      beautiful jewelry+ a lot of love

  10. !koujichuu!  [Kodokomo] :rrrr: [kodomo] dake de dekakeru
    :rrrr: ごめんなさい。その日だけは忙しいです。」
    [ !koujichuu!  missing !koujichuu! :rrrr: gomennasai ] Sono hi dake wa isogashii desu.
    Ex. メールを見なかっただけで無視をしたんじゃないよ。
    = Mairu wo minakatta dakede !koujichuu!  [de] !koujichuu!  mushi wo shitan ja nai yo.
    Kare to wa ie ga !koujichuu!  chikakatta :rrrr: [chikatta] dake desu

    1. @zoheb

      Thank you!!!!!!! いつも本当にありがとう、zoheb!!boucingheart!

      近かった=ちかかった= chikakatta で大丈夫です。

      ありがとう!!

  11. ううん、分かります!ありがとうございますマギー先生!

    レッスンが大好き!もっと頑張ります!

  12. こんにちは! マギー先生!なんて素晴らしいレッスンですが、質問があります。
    How do you know when to add a particle to だけ or combine だけ and しか with a particle?

    1. @Myllzz

      こんにちは、Myllzz
      いい質問ですね。

      You can replace だけ with だけしか in a negative sentence.

      There are all the colors but this one.
      この色だけない。
      この色だけしかない。

      But you can’t use だけしか in an affirmative sentence.
      There is no other colors but this one.
      この色だけある。
      X この色だけしかある。
      Ex. Connerだけを愛している。
      You can’t say
      X Connerだけしかを愛している。

      G) このページだけ勉強した。
      You can’t say
      Xこのページだけしか勉強した。

  13. hi maggie sensei
    I tried to respond to my other post but it wouldn’t work. I’m a boy and my name in katakana would be ケイン
    any interesting suggestions you could give to me to convert my name into kanji
    ?

    pls n ty

    1. @kane

      Oh, sorry. You are a boy. And it reads kein. I searched it and they got the similar one but how about
      華音(ke-in)
      華 means brilliant
      音 is the same as I have suggested before. You usually read “ね(=ne)” but “いん” is possible for names.

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