How to use “Which” どの & どちら in Japanese : A look into how to use “which” in Japanese along with a comparison of どちら vsどの

How to use “Which” どの & どちら in Japanese
How to use “Which” どの & どちら in Japanese

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s online Japanese lesson. Today we are looking at the Japanese word for “which” which is “Dono” & “Dochira”. We will be looking at how to form some of the most essential “which” sentence structures that you can use practically and implement into your Japanese straight away as well as a look at the differences between どちら and どの. Sounds good? Great, let’s jump right in and take a look at the differences between them.

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The differences between どの & どちら

Well to start with the most obvious difference between these two “which” words is that one is much more formal than the other. どちら is the formal way to say which, where as どの is a little more casual. This means you will have to be careful when choosing which word will fit the appropriate scenario.

Another big difference between these two words is that どの is usually used when there are over two choices to choose from. For example:

どの車が欲しいですか
Dono Kuruma ga hoshii desu ka
Which Car do you want?

Imagine that someone is showing you a selection of cars in a lot and you have plenty to choose from. This would be a perfect time to use it.
どちら is used when there are only two choices mainly

どちらが欲しいですか
Dochira ga hoshii desu ka
Which (of the 2) choices to do you want?

Note that “Dochira” can be used for more than two choices in a formal setting as well.

So now that we have the main differences all wrapped up, let’s take a look at some “Dono” sentence structures that you can start using in your Japanese to help you express “Which”

How to use どの in Japanese: A basic sentence understanding

How to use どの in Japanese: A basic sentence understanding
How to use どの in Japanese: A basic sentence understanding
どの皿を使う
Dono sara wo tsukau
Which plate will you use.

Let’s take a look at how this sentence is formed. We have どの followed by a noun. This indicates “which noun”. We then can add a verb after that such as “を使う” which plate will you use. You could use a variety of nouns and verbs here to make 1000’s of sentences. “Which cake will you eat” “Which beer will you drink” Which friend will you present the award to”.
Remember どの is used when there are over 2 choices, so in the example, there would be a variety of plates to choose from. This is a great sentence pattern to remember. Let’s look at another.

どのりんごがすきですか
Dono Ringo Ga Suki desu ka
Which apple do you like (of many choices)

As you can see again here you do not need a particle between “dono” and your noun, you simply put them together. This works in a similar way to sono and kono. Where as “dochira” follows the same rules as sore and kore.
This sentence example is a really nice conversation piece to ask someone which type, kind etc they like the best.

How to use どちら in Japanese: A basic sentence understanding

We are now going to compare how “dochira” works with the help of some sentences, remember to compare this usage with dono to see how it differs. .

どちらを使う
Dochira wo tsukau?
Which will you use?

Here you can see that you do not need to specify the noun like with “dono”, much like you don’t need one with “sore” and “kore” (This and That).
You can use this with sentences that are talking about 2 specific choices. For example in this questions the speaker may be referring to 2 cars that they have the choice of driving today.

Here is another sentence that you can utilize with “Dochira”

どちらが好きですか
Dochira ga suki desu ka
Which do you like?

Again here we are talking about 2 specific choices. This is a great sentence to use to ask someone’s opinion on two specific things.
Remember though that this could be used for more than 2 choices in a formal situation.

Summary

So guys there we have it, you should now have a basic understanding of the fundamental of どの and どちら。It is now up to you to take this information and put it into practice with your own Japanese. First start by writing some example sentences using “dono” and “dochira”. Have a friend or mentor look at it to make sure you are right and then start implementing that into your speech. Remember, it is important to use newly learned concepts as much as possible as they are easier to forget.

Thanks for reading todays online Japanese lesson on using “which” and we hope you learnt something new. If you have any new ideas for content or any questions you would like to ask, feel free to get in touch.

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