JLPT N4 Grammar: 〜かどうか (How to say “Whether or not~” in Japanese)
In English, we often use “whether or not~” in various contexts. But do you know how to express this phrase in Japanese?
Whether or not you know how, in today’s blog we examine the JLPT N4 grammar point: 〜かどうか – meaning “whether or not”. This is a useful word to know as it has different uses in the Japanese language.
First watch Yuka-sensei explain it in the video above, and then recap with this companion blog!
How to Use the JLPT N4 Grammar Point: 〜かどうか (whether or not~)
As stated in the introduction, this JLPT N4 grammar point simply translates to “whether or not” in Japanese: 〜かどうか. It can also be translated to mean “I don’t know if~”.
The form is:
Short form + かどうか + わかりません
At the end of the sentence, there are other words you can swap out with わかりません。These include: 覚えていません (I do not remember), 忘れました (I forgot), まだ決めていません (mada kimete imasen), and other words like these.
Let’s look at some examples!
kotoshi no natsu yasumi ni ryokou ni ikimasu ka?
Are you going to travel anywhere this summer?
ryokou ni iku ka dou ka mada kimete imasen.
I haven’t decided yet whether or not I will travel.
In this example, Yuka-sensei obviously does not know yet if she will travel for the summer or not.
Another way of translating this is: “I haven’t decided if I will travel or not yet.”
Let’s look at another example.
kotoshi, JLPT o ukeru ka dou ka wakarimasen.
I don’t know whether or not I will take the JLPT this year.
Here, Yuka-sensei is asked if she will take the JLPT this year or not. But she doesn’t know!
This is why she replies with “I don’t know whether or not / 〜かどうか分かりません.”
The sentence structure is quite simple. The short form verb JLPTを受ける “to take the JLPT” followed by 〜かどうか分かりません “I don’t know whether or not~”.
Most likely, however, she won’t need to take it as a native speaker 😉
So we have figured out verbs – but what about adjectives?
benri ka dou ka wakarimasen.
I don’t know whether or not it is convenient.
便利 (benri) – “convenient” – is a な adjective. Typically な adjectives are followed by だ. However to use them with 〜かどうか, omit だ.
This rule applies for nouns as well.
Ex: 無料かどうか (whether it is free or not).
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