かどうか ka dou ka -
Intermediate Lessons: 7

This lesson will explain how to use the Japanese grammar かどうか ka dou ka to combine two sentences into one, where the first sentence is a Yes/No question.

However, if a question word like なに (nani) or どの (dono), etc is used in the first sentence, the particle か ka will be used instead to connect the two sentences.

To translate ~かどうか (~ka do ka) to English, it actually means whether ~ (or not). For example, in the following Japanese sentences...

  • 田中さんはかわいいですか、かわいくないですか。教えてください。
    tanaka-san wa kawaii desu ka, kawaikunai desu ka. oshiete kudasai
    Meaning: Please tell me whether Ms Tanaka is pretty (or not).

By using かどうか ka do ka, you can shorten the sentences into one like this...

  • 田中さんはかわいいかどうか教えてください。
    tanaka-san wa kawaii ka dou ka oshiete kudasai
    Meaning: Please tell me whether Ms Tanaka is pretty (or not).

This grammar can be preceded by verb, i-adjective, na-adjective and noun. And the sentence patterns are...

Verb plain-form かどうか
い-adjective plain-form かどうか
な-adjective plain-form (~) かどうか
Noun plain-form (~) かどうか

Note: For な-adjective & noun, remove the ending だ before adding かどうか

Try to combine the following two sentences using the above sentence patterns...

  • 先生は来年日本に帰りますか、帰りませんか。知っていますか。
    sensei wa rainen nihon ni kaerimasuka, kaerimasenka. shitteimasuka
    Meaning: Do you know whether our teacher is going back to Japan next year?

That's simple right? Just change 帰ります (kaerimasu) to its plain-form and add かどうか (ka dou ka). The resultant sentence is...

  • 先生は来年日本に帰るかどうか知っていますか。
    sensei wa rainen nihon ni kaeru ka dou ka shitteimasuka
    Meaning: Do you know whether our teacher is going back to Japan next year?

More Examples

Let's practise how to connect the two sentences using かどうか by your own on the following examples...

Questions

  1. マイクさんは日本語が話せますか、話せませんか。知りません。
    maiku san wa nihongo ga hanasemasuka, hanasemasenka. shirimasen

  2. あの映画を見ましたか、見ていませんか。教えてください。
    ano eiga wo mimashitaka, miteimasenka. oshiete kudasai

  3. このラーメンはおいしいですか、おいしくないですか。知っていますか。
    kono ra-men wa oishii desu ka, oishikunai desu ka. shitteimasuka

  4. ジョンさんはそばが好きですか、好きではありませんか。聞いてください。
    jon san wa soba ga suki desu ka, suki dewaarimasenka. kiite kudasai

  5. 今日学校は休みですか、休みではありませんか。分かりません。
    kyou gakkou wa yasumi desu ka, yasumi dewaarimasenka. wakarimasen

  6. 東京は昨日雨でしたか、雨ではありませんでしたか。知りたいです。
    toukyou wa kinou ame deshitaka, ame dewaarimasendeshitaka. shiritai desu

Answers

Have you tried to answer by your own before looking for the answers below? I do hope so. Below are the answers...

  1. マイクさんは日本語が話せるかどうか知りません。
    maiku san wa nihongo ga hanaseru ka dou ka shirimasen
    Meaning: I don't know whether Mike can speak Japanese (or not).

  2. あの映画を見たかどうか教えてください。
    ano eiga wo mita ka dou ka oshiete kudasai
    Meaning: Please tell me whether you have watched that movie (or not).

  3. ジョンさんはそばが好きかどうか聞いてください。
    jon san wa soba ga suki ka dou ka kiite kudasai
    Meaning: Please ask John whether he like soba (or not).

  4. 今日学校は休みかどうか分かりません。
    kyou gakkou wa yasumi ka dou ka wakarimasen
    Meaning: I don't know whether the school is off (or not) today.

  5. 東京は昨日雨だったかどうか知りたいです。
    toukyou wa kinou ame datta ka dou ka shiritai desu
    Meaning: I want to know whether there was rain in Tokyo (or not) yesterday.

For no. 3 and 4, remember to remove the だ (da) after 好き (suki) and 休み (yasumi) since they are na-adjective and noun respectively. However for no. 5, you are not required to do so since the plain-form of the noun 雨 (ame) is in past tense.

Using Particle か (ka) If There is a Question Word

If the first sentence is not a Yes/No question, but contains a question word instead, you have to use the particle か (ka) to connect the two sentences. For example...

  • あなたの誕生日はいつですか。教えてください。
    anata no tanjoubi wa itsu desu ka. oshiete kudasai
    Meaning: Please tell me when is your birthday.

The question word in the first sentence is いつ (itsu), which means "when". So how can you combine the two sentences? Just replace かどうか with か as in the above sentence patterns.

The plain-form of いつです (itsu desu) is いつだ (itsu da). And for noun sentence you need to remove the だ. So the resultant sentence will be...

  • あなたの誕生日はいつ教えてください。
    anata no tanjoubi wa itsu ka oshiete kudasai
    Meaning: Please tell me when is your birthday.

More Examples

Let's try again by your own for the following examples...

Questions

  1. 今何時ですか。知っていますか。
    ima nanji desu ka. shitteimasuka

  2. どのカメラがいいですか。聞いてください。
    dono kamera ga ii desu ka. kiite kudasai

  3. 今晩何を食べますか。考えています。
    konban nani wo tabemasuka. kangaeteimasu

Answers

  1. 今何時知っていますか。
    ima nanji ka shitteimasuka
    Meaning: Do you know what time is it now?

  2. どのカメラがいい聞いてください。
    dono kamera ga ii ka kiite kudasai
    Meaning: Please ask which camera is good.

  3. 今晩何を食べる考えています。
    konban nani wo taberu ka kangaeteimasu
    Meaning: I am thinking what to eat tonight.


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