Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 7: 2/13

Which (of three or more)

どれ follows a noun, どの precedes a noun

Noun + は + どれ
どれ + (1) + Verb
どれ + + [い]Adjective
どれ + + [な]Adjective +
どれ + + Noun +

Noun + は + どれ
どれ + (1) + Verb (Polite)
どれ + + [い]Adjective + です
どれ + + [な]Adjective + です
どれ + + Noun + です

Part of Speech Noun
Word Type Pronoun
Register Standard
品詞 名詞
単語の種類 代名詞
使用域 一般
どれ is from the same family of words as これ, それ, and あれ. These words are called こそあど言葉(ことば) in Japanese. Unlike the other 3, which all point to a specific thing, words starting with ど are designed for enquiring about something unknown. どれ can roughly be translated as ‘which’ in English, and is used for enquiring about a group (of 3 or more things).
  • どれ飛(と)びます
    Which one of these flies?
  • どれ新(あたら)しです
    Which one is new?
  • どれ綺麗(きれい)です
    Which one is beautiful?
  • どれ弟(おとうと)です
    Which one is your brother?
From these examples, we can see that the particle is often used with どれ, especially when preceding questions. However, when どれ follows a noun, will be used.
  • あなた車(くるま)どれ
    Which one is your car?
When there are only two choices to select between, どちら + , or どっち + will be used instead of どれ. This is a habit that has become part of the language over time, and was not originally how these words were used.
  • どちらケーキ食(た)べます
    Which cake would you like to eat? (Out of these two choices)
  • どっちテスト難し
    Which test was hard? (Out of these two choices)
Slow Male
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Which is good?
[three or more objects]
Whichever is fine.
[three or more objects]
Which will you choose?
[three or more objects]
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 62
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 13
みんなの日本語 I
Page 105 [CH 16]