Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 8: 10/22

()るいは

Or, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps, Or possibly

Structure

Verb + + あるいは
[い]Adjective + + あるいは
[な]Adjective + + あるいは
Noun + () + あるいは

あるいは + Phrase + かもしれない

Details

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About あるいは

あるいは is a construction in Japanese that is used as a 接続語(せつぞくご) (conjunction). It usually appears after statements that have been marked with the adverbial particle か. あるいは may be loosely translated as 'possibly', 'maybe', or 'or'.
  • 運動(うんどう)させるかあるいは(えさ)()らしてください
    Please make them exercise or possibly lessen the amount of food.
  • パソコン動作(どうさ)(おそ)いかあるいは電源(でんげん)()かなくなった場合(ばあい)私達(わたしたち)(なお)します。
    In the event that the computer gets slow or doesn't turn on, we will fix it.
  • 有名(ゆうめい)あるいは綺麗(きれい)であれ(だれ)でも(はい)れるらしい
    I heard that if you are famous or maybe beautiful, anyone can get in.
  • 土曜日(どようび)あるいは日曜日(にちようび)までに()わらせておきます。
    I will try to have it finished by either Saturday or possibly Sunday.
Although usually being treated as a single word, あるいは is actually a combination of the attributive form of ()る, a verb meaning 'a certain', the suffix character い (used for making い-Adjectives), and the adverbial particle は. Due to this, the literal meaning of あるいは is just 'another possibility', as it highlights a certain something existing within the same area/category as (A).
  • 牛乳(ぎゅうにゅう)あるいはチーズ使(つか)われている料理(りょうり)()べられません
    I can't eat anything that uses milk, or another possibility is cheese.
  • 月曜日(げつようび)あるいは火曜日(かようび)(あたら)しい生徒(せいと)()ます。
    A new student will come on either Monday, or another possibility is Tuesday.

Examples

  • 月曜日(げつようび)あるいは火曜日(かようび)あれば、参加(さんか)できます。

    If it is Monday or Tuesday, I can attend.

  • 植物(しょくぶつ)あるいは昆虫(こんちゅう)観察(かんさつ)しましょう。

    Let's observe some plants or bugs.

  • ()あるいは(くも)あれば、(まつ)()きましょう。

    Whether it is sunny or cloudy, let's go to the festival.

  • 今年(ことし)あるいは来年(らいねん)には、そちら()けるかと(おも)います。

    I think I will be able to go there this year or next year.

  • 動画(どうが)あるいは写真(しゃしん)でもいいので(おく)ってください。

    Please send me video or pictures, anything is ok.

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あるいは – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (14 in total)

  • simias

    simias

    Thank you. I think what confuses me is that the point in general as explained in the bunpro lesson seems to carry some element of uncertainty, but there’s isn’t any here, right?

    So basically in this case it effectively means と?

  • nekoyama

    nekoyama

    It means A or B, like AかB.

  • casual

    casual

    晴れあるいは曇りであれば、お祭りに行きましょう。

    Am I right in thinking that this means:

    If it’s sunny, or even if it’s cloudy, let’s go to the festival. (but it’s better if it’s sunny, and we make no promises about other cases such as rain).

    The impression I’m getting from the English translation is somewhat different, which is throwing me off a little bit:

    Whether it is sunny or cloudy, let’s go to the festival. (it doesn’t matter which, we go there absolutely in any case).

    I’ve re-read the linked 類語例解辞典 snippet about あるいは, and I don’t 100% understand it, but it seems that it typically puts more emphasis on option A as opposed to B.

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