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I was writing to my japanese friends, and I got some doubts. Hope it wasn't asked here before.

How can I express "what about ..." in Japanese? Particularly:

What about having some breaks?
What about doing it on Mondays and Tuesdays?
What do you think about this sweater?
What do you think if we go tomorrow?
How about openning the windows?
What if we move this chair to another place?
...

I was thinking of:

どうですか。
いかがですか。
よろしいですか。

Is the following correct?

月曜日と火曜日するのはどうですか。

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I'm not sure if "how about ~" and "what about ~" convey the same meaning and nuance. But they seem to serve the same purpose in "how/what about tomorrow?"(suggestion)(as compared to "what about tomorrow?" which is a rhetorical assertion). –  Flaw Oct 25 '11 at 3:05
3  
I have nothing against this question but I think you would be better served if you asked this on esaura.cc or lang8. People on those sites love answering this kind of question. –  yadokari Oct 25 '11 at 3:08
    
i thought about "~shitara doudesuka" or "~sureba doudesuka~. maybe this is the solution. ^^ thanks for the suggestion. xD –  daniel tomio Oct 25 '11 at 3:24
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3 Answers

You really have several choices depending on the exact meaning of the question. If the question is making a suggestion for the listener to respond with an answer, then ~(よ)うか ("Shall we ~?") as mentioned, or just ~は? if the action has already been established.

日曜日にしようか?
う~ん、日曜日はムリ。
ほんじゃぁ、月曜日は?

If you're trying to give advice/suggestion/weak command to the listener in the form of a "How about doing ~?" question, then ~たら(どう(ですか))? is what you want.

母:妹【いもうと】の誕生日だよ。ケーキでも買ったら? → Mother: It's your little sister's birthday. How about buying her a cake or something?

But if you're just asking for the listener's opinion on something, like your example "What do you think about this sweater?", ~(について)どう思う?

このセーター(について)、どう(思う)?

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This might be some dialectal issue, but I'm pretty sure what you mean in your English examples above is "How about", not "what about". The latter is a neutral question ("what happened to..." etc.) whereas "how about" does imply you are offering or suggesting something.

In case you are indeed trying to translate "how about", I think いかがですか, いかがでしょうか etc. are exactly what you want.

It strikes the same balance between suggestion/offer and asking for opinion (どうですか is very close, slightly less polite, and a bit more asking than offering, imho).

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どうですか。 いかがですか。 よろしいですか。

Yes, you answered your own question. (Each of these words have their own level of politeness and you can mix some conditional in there with shitara,sureba)

Usually どう(ですか) works in most situations. It's simple and you can't be mistaken when using it. "どう思う" (what do you think) and ”いい?” (ok?) Work as well.

However I will propose another way to say that: The volitional form. I think that's what some clever people would call it. See the examples below to see what I mean:

What about we take a break?

よし、休もうか?

What about doing it on Sunday?

日曜日にしようか?

What do you think if we go tomorrow?

明日に行こうか?

use ましょう form instead for extra politeness (行きましょう...etc.)

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よし、休もうか? sounds too rigid to me. 休憩【きゅうけい】しようか? sounds more natural. –  istrasci Oct 25 '11 at 5:36
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