Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 5: 5/17

かれ〜かれ

Or, Either or

Structure

[い]Adjective[+ かれ + [い]Adjective[(Antonym) + かれ

(おそ)かれ(はや)かれ - sooner or later
(おお)かれ(すく)かれ - more or less
to a greater or lesser extent
()かれ()かれ - good or bad
for better or worse

Details

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About かれ〜かれ

かれ~かれ is a grammar pattern that pairs with opposite い-Adjectives in Japanese to convey that 'whether (A) or (B), the result will be the same'. It is usually translated as 'or', or 'either (A) or (B)'. Originally, this structure was a contraction of the conjunctive stem of い-Adjectives, く, and the imperative form of the う-Verb ある 'to be', あれ. い-Adjectives do not have their own imperative form, so くあれ and then the abbreviation かれ evolved to fill this role. As it is imperative, the literal meaning is simply 'be it (A) or (B)', and is a declaration.
かれ~かれ will attach to the stem of 2 adjectives that are antonyms, before going on to explain how the result remains the same regardless.
  • どんな(ひと)でも(おお)かれ(すく)かれ(なや)みを(かか)えて()きている。
    Whether it be to a higher or lesser extent, everyone lives burdened by troubles.
  • (あつ)かれ(さむ)かれ脱水(だっすい)症状(しょうじょう)()こりうるので水分(すいぶん)補給(ほきゅう)はこまめにしてください。
    Dehydration can occur in hot or cold weather, so please hydrate frequently.
  • (おそ)かれ(はや)かれ提出(ていしゅつ)させないといけないのであるならば、(はや)めに提出(ていしゅつ)した(ほう)がいいと(おも)う。
    If it has to be submitted sooner or later, I think it is better to submit it as soon as possible.
かれ~かれ is used with a very limited set of adjectives, so it is best not to use it with words that you have not come across previously.
Caution
In the case of ()い 'good' and (わる)い 'bad', (わる)い will be read as ()しかれ, which comes from the archaic ()し 'bad'. This is considered as set phrase in modern Japanese.
  • この発明(はつめい)は、()かれ()かれたくさんの(ひと)影響(えいきょう)(あた)えるだろう。
    This invention will affect a lot of people, for better or worse.

Examples

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  • こんなタバコ()(つづ)けては(おそ)かれ(はや)かれ病気(びょうき)になるだろう。」

    'If you keep on smoking like this, sooner or later you will get sick.'

    • この発見(はっけん)()かれ()かれ(おお)きな変化(へんか)をもたらすだろう。

      For better or worse, this discovery will bring great change.

      • 好奇心(こうきしん)(おお)かれ(すく)かれ(だれ)もが()っているものだろう。

        Curiosity is something that everybody has, to a greater or lesser extent.

        • (おそ)かれ(はや)かれ有人(ゆうじん)火星(かせい)探査(たんさ)時代(じだい)はやってくるはずだ。

          I am sure that sooner or later, the era of manned missions to Mars will come.

          • 研究(けんきゅう)によるとあらゆる頭部外傷(とうぶがいしょう)(おお)かれ(すく)かれ(のう)影響(えいきょう)(およ)ぼすということだ。

            According to research, all kinds of head trauma affect the brain to a greater or lesser extent.

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