I think this is quite common in English but I wouldn't know about Japanese. For example, suppose you're asking yourself (or someone) "where did (something) go"? In the sense of "what happened to (something)?" as such something has been lost or disappeared and where "something" is generally abstract. A concrete random example:

"Where did all your ambition go?"

Can simply 行く be used in this sense and have a figurative meaning to indicate that something (the ambition here) has been lost or we don't know what happened to it?

Does something like "あなたの野心は何処へ行ったか/行っただろう” make any sense? If not what could be used for a figurative speech like this?

  • 2
    あなたの野心が何処へ... -- 「野心どこへ...」(が→は) のほうがいいと思います
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 10:56
  • @ǝʇɐןoɔoɥƆ そうですね!更新しました、ありがとう!
    – Tommy
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


For objects you can use 行く



To some extent this also works for abstract concepts:



A similar expression is 〜はどうした "what happened to"

What happened to your shoes? (lit. What did you do to your shoes?)


(Example sentences taken from BCCWJ.)


Does something like "あなたの野心は何処へ行ったか/行っただろう” make any sense?

Yes. Absolutely!

I would say,

あなたの野心は何処へ行ってしまったのか? あなたの野心は何処へ行ってしまったのだろう? are alternatives which seem more rhetoric and natural.

Anyway, we're happy to know that the rhetorical expression is common both in English and Japanese. :)

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