Anybody who’s discovered a international language can let you know that it’s typically onerous to discover what a particular English phrase means in different languages.
Japanese is a fairly completely different language from English, grammatically talking. Translations are difficult and there isn’t all the time a one-to-one relationship between ideas like “or.”
So how do you say “or” in Japanese?
How do you say “or” in Japanese?
Though there isn’t a single Japanese phrase you may stick in the center of a sentence to mean “or,” there are a number of completely different grammatical constructions you should utilize to present the identical relationship between decisions.
The most straightforward two methods are repeated use of the particle か or なり after successive choices.
Another choice is 又は（または）, used in between two noun phrases or sentences to join them as alternatives. A fourth means to say “or” in Japanese is to use とか after every possibility.
Utilizing か to mean “or”
When you’ve studied any Japanese, you’re most likely acquainted with か because the so-called “query particle,” used on the finish of a sentence a single time to present that it’s a query.
One other means to use this particle is as a “linking particle” to join a number of elements of a sentence in a means that reveals their relationship.
Consider it like the subject particle は, which reveals the connection between the topic of a sentence and the rest of it.
On this case, nevertheless, repeated use of the phrase か after two or extra successive phrases reveals that they’re all potential choices beneath dialogue.
Since it is a grammatical construction, and never only a phrase you may stick in the center of a sentence, it’s vital to perceive how it’s used in context.
Written out like a math formulation, this use of か appears like this: [noun]か[noun]か
「お茶かコーヒーか、どっちの法が好きですか？」 (おちゃ か コーヒ か どっち の ほう が すき です か)
Which means roughly “Do you like tea or espresso,” a literal translation of this might be “Tea or espresso: which do you like?” Observe the usage of か as a linking particle to say “tea or espresso” in the phrase お茶かコーヒーか.
「難しいことがあれば、お父さんかお母さんか、教えてください。」 （むずかしい こと が あれば おとうさん か おかあさん か おしえて ください）
“When you ever run into bother, please inform your father or your mom” could be a technique to say this in English. As in the earlier instance, the repeated use of か reveals that お父さん and お母さん are choices for who to inform.
Utilizing なり to say “or” in Japanese
Grammatically, なり is used in precisely the identical means as か to hyperlink two noun phrases and present that each are potential choices.
As a formulation, なり would look the identical as か: [noun]か[noun]か
Maintain in thoughts that か and なり are solely usable if you’re evaluating noun phrases.
If what you’re attempting to evaluate consists of various actions that could possibly be taken, represented by verbs, you may add たり to the top of the て type of every verb and comply with the phrase with the precise type of する.
In different phrases, for verbs the formulation is [て-form verb minus the て]たり[て-form verb minus the て]たりする
「蝙蝠はバナナなりピーマンなりが好きです」 （こうもり は バナナ なり ピーマン なり が すき です)
“Bats like bananas or peppers.”
In English, we would use the phrase “and” as a substitute in this sentence, as a result of bats like each of these issues. That is technically a peculiarity of English, nevertheless, and technically it is a so-called “inclusive or,” meaning that the proper possibility will be one or the opposite or each.
If we wished to translate this and hold the phrase “or” in the sentence, we would add “or different issues like that” to the top. “Bats like bananas, peppers or different issues like that.”
「肉食べたり牛乳飲んだりする法が体にいいです。」 （にく たべたり ぎゅうにゅう のんだり する ほう が からだ に いい です)
Though たり technically takes the place of “or” in this sentence, we would translate it extra naturally as “issues like X.”
This provides the particle an attention-grabbing operate in a sentence the place you could have completely different verbs, because it implies the choice listed is one appropriate possibility amongst a number of unlisted ones.
On this sentence, たり is used like that to give us one thing like “Consuming meat and ingesting milk is nice on your well being.”
The English sentence “I’d learn a e-book or watch TV on my day without work” can be one case for utilizing たり. In Japanese, you can say 「休日に本を読んだり、テレビをみたり。」 (きゅうじつ に ほん を よんだり テレビ を みたり)
又は is a 3rd possibility for saying “or” in Japanese.
Like か and なり/たり, this conjunction goes between a number of noun phrases. You possibly can even hyperlink entire sentences with this one! In contrast to the earlier choices, 又は solely seems a single time in the center of the sentence.
On this respect, it’s nearer to the English conjunction “or.” Like たり, you may join additionally utterly completely different concepts with this type of “or.”
The formulation for this selection is: [noun phrase]か又は[noun phrase]
Observe that the particle か wants to seem after the primary noun phrase to correctly join it to または.
Additionally, whilst you can join two total sentences with 又は, you may’t use this conjunction to join two questions.
When you’re attempting to ask somebody which of two choices is appropriate, you must write the primary query as a whole sentence, then begin the second query with それとも as a substitute of 又は: [question 1]。それとも[question 2]
「コーヒはいかがですか。それともお茶はいかがですか。」 (コーヒ は いかが です か それとも おちゃ は いかが です か)
“Would you want espresso? Or would you want tea?”
As a result of this “or” is used to join two sentences, it’s obligatory to use それとも as a substitute of 又は.
“Brown mentioned he desires to go to Tokyo or keep in a standard Japanese in.”
Right here, 又は is used to present that these are each issues Brown would love to do. Every of those two phrases are primarily full sentences. Observe once more that か is used to join the primary sentence to 又は.
とか to join a sequence of prospects
とか is one other means to say “or” in Japanese. This connecting particle works virtually identically to なり and か, however in contrast to these different choices it doesn’t indicate whether or not one possibility or the opposite is most popular. You possibly can string alongside phrases related by とか practically indefinitely.
[noun phrase]とか[noun phrase]とか…
“What sort of meals do you want?”
“Sushi, eel bowl, ramen… Properly, numerous Japanese-style meals like that.”
Right here, the speaker is answering a query by connecting a number of choices with とか.
Despite the fact that in translation the phrase doesn’t seem, even in English we might perceive that these are all choices and never that the speaker desires all three of them.
Bonus: Saying “or issues like that” in Japanese utilizing などと
If you need to checklist one consultant instance somewhat than a number of issues, strive the useful phrase “などと.”
「日本語は難しい言葉などと言う人がいる。」 (にほんご は むずかしい ことば などと いう ひと が いる)
There are individuals who say issues like “Japanese is a troublesome language.”
「妹はケーキなどとが好きです。」 (いもうと は ケーキ などと が すき です)
“My sister likes cake or issues like that.”
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