Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 6: 11/20


Or, Or else, Rather

Used in questions, where the choice is limited to the two mentioned options.


Option (A) + それとも + Option (B)


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About それとも

それとも is a conjunction in Japanese that may be translated as 'or', or 'otherwise'. It is used to highlight alternative options or choices between (A) and (B). それとも is a combination of それ, and the particles と, and も. This grammar structure will only be used when the options are limited to either (A), or (B).
それとも will appear either after a comma, or at the beginning of new sentences.
  • 今日(きょう)文法(ぶんぽう)勉強(べんきょう)をしますか。それとも漢字(かんじ)勉強(べんきょう)をしますか。
    Do you want to study grammar today? Or rather, do you want to study Kanji?
  • 来週(らいしゅう)はどこに()きたい?動物園(どうぶつえん)()く?それとも(いえ)でゆっくりする?
    Where do you want to go next week? Do you want to go to the zoo? Or rather do you want to relax at home?
  • 今日(きょう)(うみ)()こうか、それとも(かわ)()こうか、(まよ)うな。
    I don't know whether to go to the ocean or the river today.
In many cases, (A) and (B) will be opposites of each other. However, this is not a requirement for using それとも.


  • 今夜(こんや)カラオケ()それとも映画館(えいがかん)

    Are you going to karaoke tonight? Or rather, to the cinema?

    • レジットカードで(はら)それとも現金(げんきん)で?

      Are you paying with a credit card? Or rather, in cash?

      • ()きるべきか、それとも()べきか。それ問題(もんだい)だ。

        To live, or to die. That is the question.

        • 苦情(くじょう)()べきか、それとも我慢(がまん)すべきか。

          Should we complain? Or rather, should we persevere?

          • 自分(じぶん)(あら)おうか、それともクリーニングに()そう(まよ)ところです。

            I am hesitant. Shall I wash it myself? Or rather, shall I send it off to the dry cleaners?

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            それとも – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

            • s1212z


              Can それか be substituted for それとも?

            • Pushindawood



              For the most part, yes. However, それとも is a bit more polite/formal, while それか is used in speech. Thank you for pointing this out to us so that we could update the answers that throw hints for this grammar point. Cheers!

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