Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 6: 23/24

かと言(い)うと ②
if you ask me..., if I had to say, if I were to say, if I were to choose one, I'd rather

Structure
Question Word + ((1)) + いう(2)
Question Word + Phrase + ((1)) + いう(2)

(1)
(2) といえ
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
~かというと is a phrase that has two primary functions. The first is used in conjunction with ‘why’ and ‘how’ words, while the other is used with ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘which’ or ‘what’. We will focus on the latter in this lesson. かというと is a combination of the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) か in its use as a question marker, the 格助詞(かくじょし) in its 引用(いんよう) ‘citation’ use, the う - Verb 言(い)う ‘to say’, and the 格助詞(かくじょし) in its 結果(けっか) ‘result’ use.
This is quite a few particles combined together, but the literal meaning is more simply ‘if (A) were to be asked’, before the speaker will go on to highlight their reasoning in (B). 何(なん)で, 何(なに), どちら, 誰(だれ), どの, and similar words often appear as the ‘who’, ‘where’, or ‘which’ words in these sentences.
  • 何(なん)で日本(にほん)引(ひ)っ越(こ)して来(き)たかというと 、私(わたし)家族(かぞく)日本(にほん)住(す)んでいるからです
    If I were to say why I moved to Japan, it is because my family lives here.
  • 誰(だれ)と旅行(りょこう)に行(い)きたいかというと 、大親友(だいしんゆう)と行(い)きたい
    If I were to say who I wanted to travel with, it would be my best friend.
  • どの街(まち)に住(す)みたいかというと 、両親(りょうしん)住(す)んでいる街(まち)に住(す)みたいと思(おも)ています
    If I were to say which city I wanted to live in, I think it would be the city that my parents do.
As ~かというと will come before some sort of explanation, から will also regualry be used at the end of the sentence as ‘because’, emphasizing the speaker's reasoning.
Caution
Like other grammar points that utilize the ‘if’ nuance of , , and sometimes even たら may be used. However, たら will appear far less frequently than or .
  • 何(なん)でこんな事(こと)になったかといえば、私(わたし)きちんと確認(かくにん)なかったからです
    If I were to say why something like this happened, well, it is because I did not check properly.
  • 誰(だれ)一番(いちばん)上手(じょうず)かといったらB組(ぐみ)タカハシさんです
    If I were to say who was the best in class B, it would be Takahashi-san.
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何(なん)こんなことになったかというとすべてが始(はじ)まったのは1週間(しゅうかん)ほど前(まえ)学校(がっこう)から帰(かえ)る時(とき)....
If I were to say why it turned out like this, well, it all started around 1 week ago when I was coming back from school...
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オティス:「人生(じんせい)で最(もっと)も大切(たいせつ)にしているのは何(なに)かというとそれ人(ひと)でしょう。私(わたし)が一人(ひとり)ぼっちだった時(とき)助(たす)けてくれた人(ひと)たちのことです。」
Otis: "If I were to say what do I value in life the most, that would be: people. (Specifically) the people who helped me when I was all alone."
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コウさん:「明日(あした)用事(ようじ)ある一緒(いっしょ)にどこかに行(い)くの?」
ニノさん:「用事(ようじ)があるわけではないけど、どちらかっていうと家(いえ)ゆっくりしたい。」
Kou: "Do you have plans for tomorrow? Do you want to go somewhere together?"
Nino: "It is not like I have plans, but if I were to choose one, I'd rather take it easy at home."
Lit. 'if I were to say which of the two.' It is a very common set expression.
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