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Let's say you want to ask a sort of reverse hypothetical question, in which you don't construct a scenario, but rather you define the result, and ask the listener if they can imagine any scenario that would produce that result.

Here are some examples of this type of question in English:

  • Would you wear a polka-dot tie?
  • Would you move overseas?
  • Could you ever give up eating meat?

How do you construct a question of this sort in Japanese (feel free to directly translate the three examples above), and what tense/conjugation should be used?

  • 1
    Could you show us what you have got/found so far? – Chocolate Feb 14 '18 at 1:58
  • So far I have not been able to find any examples. That's why I'm here :) – duggulous Feb 14 '18 at 2:01
  • By the way, is this a question about Japanese language? – mackygoo Feb 14 '18 at 2:18
  • yes. Forgive me, I thought that it would be understood that I am asking about how to do this in Japanese. – duggulous Feb 14 '18 at 2:49
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Would you wear a polka-dot tie?
Would you move overseas?
Could you ever give up eating meat?

I would probably say like...

「水玉(模様)のネクタイなんて、つけようと思う?」
「水玉(模様)のネクタイをつけたくなることなんて、あると思う?」

「海外に住みたく(or引っ越したく)なることって、あると思う?」
「海外に住みたい(or引っ越したい)と思うことって、あると思う?」

「肉(を)食べるの(を)やめることって、できると思う?」
「肉(を)食べるの(を)やめられることって、あると思う?」

Or maybe...

「(あなたは)水玉(模様)のネクタイをつけようと思うでしょうか?」
「(あなたは)海外に住もう(or引っ越そう)と思うでしょうか?」
「肉を食べるのをやめられるでしょうか?」

There should be several other ways to say these.

  • If I were to read, "水玉模様のネクタイなんて、つけようと思う?" my interpretation would be "Are you thinking of wearing a polka-dot tie?" which is a very different question. Is that just my poor grasp of the language, or might a fluent speaker interpret the question that way as well? – duggulous Feb 14 '18 at 3:11
  • Unless I'm mistaken, your answer came from a 'fluent speaker'. Also, 「水玉のネクタイをつけようと思っていますか 」would be 'Are you thinking of wearing a polka-dot necktie?'. – BJCUAI Feb 14 '18 at 3:56
  • Well, regardless of whether Schokolade is a fluent speaker or not, the question is still valid. Are these translations unambiguous? Do they convey precisely the same meaning and nuance? I want to make sure that I am not asking, for example, "do you want to do ~,?" or "do you think you are likely to do ~?" but rather, a more convenient way to express: "regardless of whether you currently want to or not, can you conceive of a realistic hypothetical scenario in which you would do ~?" – duggulous Feb 14 '18 at 4:53
  • @duggulous Yes, these expressions stand for suspect about the hypothetical scenarios. And as user27289 says, you can't interpret …つけようと思う? as "Are you thinking of wearing ...". (Japanese grammar doesn't have particular form for subjunctive mood. So just つける? would suffice, though.) – user4092 Feb 14 '18 at 7:46

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