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I encountered the following sentence from Jisho.org when looking up the definition of 確かめる {たしかめる}:

窓{まど}が閉まって{しまって}いるか確かめとけ

As 確かめる is a transitive verb (according to Jisho.org at least), I was under the impression that it required a direct object marked with を in order to be intelligible. However, in this sentence, the direct object (at least by English standards) seems to be marked with か. I assume this has something to do with the fact that the object is a clause rather than a single noun.

My actual questions are:

  1. Is the above form specific to 確かめる or can it be generalized to other verbs (~ているか+transitive verb). For example, would the following be a natural/understandable sentence?

本に書いているか止めなさい。

Stop writing in the book.

  1. Could the か have been replaced with another particle (perhaps と or maybe even ことを) and if so, would the meaning have changed?

  2. Are there other valid particles that could mark an object of a transitive verb besides を and か?

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This structure is called embedded questions.

Is the above form specific to 確かめる?

No. It's not specific to 確かめる, but used with 聞く, 考える, 見る, 知っている, 教える, and so on.

For example, would the following be a natural/understandable sentence? 本に書いているか止めなさい。

No. Because か is the question marker, that sentence does not make sense. "[×]Stop whether you write something on the book!"

Could the か have been replaced with another particle (perhaps と or maybe even ことを) and if so, would the meaning have changed?

In this case, yes, but the meaning will change a bit.

  • 窓が閉まっているか確かめとけ。 Confirm whether the window is closed.
  • 窓が閉まっていると確かめとけ。 Confirm that the window is closed.
  • 窓が閉まっていることを確かめとけ。 Confirm that the window is closed.

The last two sentences strongly say the window must be closed. The first one still usually implies the same thing, but basically only says you must check whether the window is open or closed.

Are there other valid particles that could mark an object of a transitive verb besides を and か?

As you have already said, と for quotes is a particle that works like an object marker (e.g., ~と思う, ~と聞く). I don't know if it's grammatically an object marker in Japanese, though.

  • Thanks again for answering yet another of my questions perfectly. – G-Cam Jan 9 '17 at 17:25
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"​窓​が​閉まっているか確かめとけ" = "窓​が​閉まっているかどうかを確かめとけ"

"か" of "​窓​が​閉まっているか確かめとけ" is the abbreviation of "かどうかを(whether)"

"それは本当か確かめたい" = "それは本当かどうか(本当か嘘か)を確かめたい"


本に書いているか止めなさい。is entirely wrong!

"本に書いているか" = "(誰かが)本に(何かを)書いているかどうか" = "Whether somebody writes something in the book"

So "本に書いているか止めなさい。" sounds oddly "Stop wheter somebody writes something in the book"

"Stop writing in the book." => "本に書くのは止めなさい" or "本に書くのを止めなさい"

ちなみに、"Stop writing in the book."は、"本に落書きするのは止めなさい"って意味ですか?writingの目的語が何だか分かりません。

  • 2
    「か」を「かどうか」の省略形だと説明するのは語弊があると思います。whether (or not) の時だけはそのような言い換えができますが、「彼が何歳か知っている」とか「本屋がどこにあるか教えて」のような文では全く成り立ちません。 – naruto Jan 7 '17 at 21:05
  • "窓が閉まっているか確かめる" = "窓が閉まっているかかどうかを確かめる" – Sonny365 TANAKA Jan 8 '17 at 3:19
  • 「か」が一般的に「かどうか」となるように受け取られる可能性があります。それは確かに説明不足でした。 なので、「窓が閉まっているか確かめる」 = 「窓が閉まっているかかどうかを確かめる」つまり「・・・か確かめる」=「・・・かどうか確かめる」と限定すべきでした。 尤も、以下若干強いて言えばですが、 「彼が何歳か知っている」 = 「彼が0歳なのか1歳なのか・・・99歳なのかどうか知っている」 「本屋がどこにあるか教えて」 = 「本屋がどこにあるのか、駅前なのか、街の中心なのかどうか教えて」 つまり、「か」には「Aなのか、Bなのか」と言うように、答えが有限の選択肢の中にあり、その中の「どれなのか」とのニュアンスがあります。 – Sonny365 TANAKA Jan 8 '17 at 3:32
  • 「落書き」のほうがいいでしょう。英語で、「to write」は自動詞と他動詞ので、時には目的語が要りません。 "落書き" is probably a better choice. In English, "to write" can be both transitive and intransitive and is understandable without a direct object. – G-Cam Jan 9 '17 at 17:50

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