5

I have a question about the following sentence:

お母さんが、八百屋で長いこと、何を買うか決まらず迷っています。

Is it possible to replace "か" with "のか" without misunderstanding in this sentence? Namely,

お母さんが、八百屋で長いこと、何を買うのか決まらず迷っています。

4

This の is called "explanatory-no". Its basic role is to provide an explanation for the current background context. When it's used with the question marker か, のか seeks clarification or explanation for the current context.

As described in the second link, の can form a casual question even without か, although in this case か is required since it's in an embedded question.

That said, in this specific case, I think both sentences are almost completely interchangeable, with or without の. Maybe the latter sounds slightly more emphatic or emotional.

On the other hand, の is almost mandatory in the following context:

お母さんは八百屋で30分も買い物をしていた。何を買ったか知りたい。

This is a typical case where の is used to seek clarification.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.