There are many phrases out there that you can use to sound more native. For today’s blog, we will focus on how and when to use the phrase, “どっちでもいい”, a very useful and easy to learn phrase!

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Overview –Japanese Useful phrases: どっちでもいい

As Japanese students, the goal is usually to be good enough to sound like a Native speaker–this is mainly done with years of studying and hands on practice by speaking the language with Native speakers. What if we tell you that there are ways to cheat? In no means will this make you pass the N2 but it will definitely help you sound more fluent and native than you are. This blog will be discussing a very casual, and common phrase, “どっちでもいい(docchi de mo ii)”.

What it means: どっちでもいい

Firstly, let’s try breaking it down by looking at it’s non abbreviated version. どっちでもいい is short for どちらでもいい(dochira de mo ii). Let’s start with the word “どちら”. This word can be used in two different ways– one is used as a very polite way to say “who” and the other is used to say “which”. For the phrase that we will be discussing in this blog, “どちら” is used as “which”–this is used when you are choosing between 2 things. The other part of the sentence ,“いい” means good/fine and “で” and “も” acting as their own particles. By looking at the sentence breakdown, you can somehow formulate an idea on what this phrase could be used for. 

The phrase itself is used to say “Either one is fine” or “Whichever is fine”. Like we mentioned before, “どちら” or the more casual, “どっち” is used when you are choosing between two things ONLY, If you are choosing between more than two options, you will have to use a different word– “どれ”。This will then make our phrase, “どれでもいい”, which means “Either one is fine” or “Whichever is fine” but with multiple options.

When you can use it –どっちでもいい(docchi de mo ii)

As you probably already know, the Japanese language has different politeness levels depending on your social standing and the social standing of who you are speaking to–because of this, you have to be quite careful on which politeness level of the language you use in conversation. For today’s phrase, どっちでもいい” or どちらでもいい is quite a common phrase, and is considered quite informal and casual. This phrase can be used when you are talking with close friends and family. In the case that you are talking to a coworker, or in a conversation that is slightly more formal, you can make this phrase more formal by changing it to “どちらでも宜しいです。”  Please look below for a few examples on how to use “どちらでもいい”  or “どっちでもいい”.

A: 窓側か通路側どちらになさいますか?
Mado gawa ka tsuuru gawa dochira ni nasaimasu ka?
Do you prefer window or aisle?

B: あーどちらでもいいです。
dochira de mo ii desu.
Hmm… Either one is fine.
Kare ga kitara ka konai ka wa watashi ni totte dochira de mo ii koto da.
It makes no difference to me whether he comes or not.
Aka chan ga onnanoko ka otokonoko ka wa watashi ni totte docchi de mo ii desu yo.
I don't mind if the baby is a girl or boy.

As you can see, you can utilise this phrase in different ways. Apply the basic grammar points you know and just try incorporating it with this phrase–you can form so many different phrases and sentences using it as long as you try! It might be confusing and a bit embarrassing when you make mistakes but always remember that making mistakes is the first step of being good at something!

Other phrases you can use “でもいい” with

From reading through this blog, you probably have a good idea that similar to the English language, you can change the content of the phrase to change its meaning. We have “whichever”, “wherever”, “whatever”, “whenever”, and “whoever””. We have already learned “whichever”, now we can talk about all the others as well. It’s quite easy to do as well! We simply need to change the beginning of the phrase we just learned. 

(____) + でもいい = “______ever is fine”
(どれ)でもいい = どれでもいい
Dore de mo ii
Whichever one is fine (used with more than 3 options)
(なん)でもいい = なんでもいい
Nan de mo ii
Anything is fine
(どこ)でもいい = どこでもいい
Doko de mo ii
Anywhere is fine
(いつ)でもいい = いつでもいい
Itsu de mo ii
Whenever is fine
(だれ)でもいい = だれでもいい
Dare de mo ii
Whoever/Anyone is fine

See? It’s quite easy and straightforward! In terms of usage, it’s exactly how it would be used to English–as responses to a question and can also be used in a sentence similar to how “dochira de mo ii” was used in our sentences. Remember, these phrases are considered to be quite casual so as much as possible, please use these phrases with close friends and family.

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There are many phrases in the Japanese language that can help you sound more fluent and native. Although we discussed one phrase with you in today’s blog, please try to find other phrases that can be used on the fly like this one as it does come useful in many different situations. If you can find a partner to practice this with, that is great! If there is no way for you to find a partner for speaking, at least try verbalising and even recording sentences and phrases you just learned. This will greatly help you as repetition is a good way to make you remember phrases.

どっちでもいい is a very useful phrase so practice, apply, and try to learn more when you have mastered it! There are many phrases that we can use to give this image of fluency but we will do this one phrase at a time. Make sure to check out our other blogs after reading through this! Learning an entirely new language isn’t an easy feat so don’t pressure yourself too much–perfection takes time and believe me, you will get there.