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In the pattern ~よう ~まい, I've found from several sources that you can use and (i.e ~ようが ~まいが), and using one over the other doesn't change the meaning or have a particular nuance. What's confusing me is that I've found one instance of this pattern using , and I can't find if there is anything in particular that distinguishes it from the が / と version or not, or if it's a typo, or what. Can anyone shed some light on this?

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I'm wondering why this question was donwvoted... – silvermaple Jun 11 '12 at 22:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

…ようか…まいか and …ようが…まいが have different meanings. The fact that they have the same English translation “whether … or not” is a coincidence.

The English expression “whether … or not” has two different usages: (1) as a noun clause, and (2) as an adverbial clause. For example:

(1) I wonder whether I will write to her or not.
(2) I will go to New York tomorrow whether it rains or not. (= I will go to New York tomorrow no matter whether it rains or not.)

…ようか…まいか means (1), whereas …ようが…まいが means (2). Therefore, possible translations of the two sentences above are:

(1) 彼女に手紙を書こうか書くまいか迷う。
(2) 明日、雨が降ろうが降るまいがニューヨークに行く。

(But I think that in (1), …ようか…まいか puts a heavy emphasis on the “whether … or not” part. A usual way to say (1) without this emphasis is 彼女に手紙を書くかどうか迷う.)

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