Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 7: 4/13

Which (of three or more), What (kind)

どの precedes a noun, どれ follows a noun

どの + Noun
Part of Speech Fixed Adjective
Word Type Independent Word
Register Standard
品詞 連体詞
単語の種類 自立語
使用域 一般
どの is classified as a ‘pre-noun adjectival’ in Japanese. These are a special type of word that do not conjugate, which means that they will always appear in the same form. どの comes from the same family of words as どれ and どこ, and is used for asking about ‘which’ thing someone will choose.
  • どの飲(の)み物(もの)いい
    Which drink would you like?
  • どの色(いろ)でもいい
    Whatever color is okay. (Literally ‘even any of whichever color is good’)
In these examples, we can see that どの may be used to ask a question, or it may also be used in a similar way to ‘whatever’, or ‘whichever’ in English.
どの is only used when there are 3 or more possible choices, and どっち)・どちら) will be used when there are only 2 possible choices.
  • 赤(あか)青(あお)、どっちいい
    Do you prefer red or blue?
  • どの色(いろ)好(す)き
    What color do you like?
In the first example, the speaker is asking specifically about 2 options ‘red or blue’, so どっち will be used. However, in the second example, since the answer could be any color, どの will be used instead.
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Which sushi restaurant is good?
[three or more choices]
Which restaurant do you want to go to?
[three or more choices]
Which brand will you choose?
[three or more choices]
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Genki I 2nd Edition
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[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
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みんなの日本語 I
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