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無料か安いお金で食べることができます。
You can eat for free or with cheap money/cheaply.

I'm finding 安いお金 a bit strange. If I wanted to say "You can eat for free", I'd write:

無料で食べることができます。

If I wanted to say "You can eat cheaply", I'd write:

安く食べることができます。

Are these both correct?

安いお金で reads to me like "with cheap money". I'm guessing you have to do this because

無料でか安く食べることができます。

is ungrammatical (at least it looks ungrammatical to me). It's hard for me to see how you would get from 安く食べる to 安いお金で食べる. Is there are more general grammatical transformation going on here, or is it just specific to this example. If there's a more general principle, could you give some other examples please?

Maybe my most general question is how do you say

(adverb A) or (adverb B) verb e.g.
Run quickly or slowly (you'll still get there in the end).

or maybe that's totally unrelated to the problem above. Sorry for rambling.

  • I don't think whoever wrote that sentence had to write it the way they did. There are many ways to say something to the effect of "cheaply" and out of those options they chose that expression freely, not constrained by some grammatical rule that requires a particular form in a particular environment. – goldbrick Apr 6 '18 at 9:35
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    Do they actually teach 「安く」 is an adverb? It is only the 連用形 of the adjective 「安い」, meaning that 「安く」 is still an adjective. That it can function "adverbially" does not make it an adverb in Japanese grammar. I have mentioned this 2-3 times here before and people thought I knew nothing about Japanese grammar, which is why I am not posting an answer this time. – l'électeur Apr 6 '18 at 13:01
  • @l'électeur My apologies for abusing the grammar. I did not intend to suggest that it was an adverb in Japanese (although you'll be sad to know that, that is often how it is taught), but since I am writing in English, and in English it does behave as an adverb, I'm not sure how I should have phrased it better. Please be assured that I have no doubts about your grammatical knowledge. – user3856370 Apr 6 '18 at 14:26
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    While 安いお金 does feel weird, 高いお金 is a fairly common expression, and the former is probably is some derivative of the latter. – Darius Jahandarie Apr 7 '18 at 1:34
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First, you seem to be concerned about the validity of 安いお金 itself. In my opinion 安いお金 should be avoided if you write something professionally, but as a matter of fact it's sometimes used by native speakers. BCCWJ has two instances of 安いお金で. Semantically it just means the same thing as 安く. Another way to say this is 安価に.

So 無料か安いお金で is "無料で or 安いお金で", or "either free or at a low price". This で marks both 無料 and 安いお金 at the same time (an example of right-node raising). You can also explicitly use two で and say "無料であるいは安いお金で". Of course you can say "無料で、あるいは安く食べられます" and "無料で、または安価に食べられます", too.

The direct combination of でか (i.e., "無料でか安いお金で", "無料でか安く") is slightly clumsy to me, although perfectly understandable.

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安く食べる itself is fine and you can use conjunctions just like English "or" and "and", which is, または and そして respectively. So, you can say 無料で、または安く食べる… or 速く、または遅く走る.

In everyday conversation, people will prefer expressions like 無料で食べたり安く食べたりできる or even 無料(だったり)(とか)安かったり(とか)で食べられる.

Incidentally, if you find やすいお金 kind of strange, how about rephrasing it as 安価(で)?

  • Could you please expand a bit on 無料(だったり)(とか)安かったり(とか)で食べられる? I'm having difficulty knowing which bracketed expressions can be applied simultaneously. – user3856370 Apr 6 '18 at 14:44
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    It's any of 無料だったり, 無料とか or 無料だったりとか. Anyway, it's too colloquial. – user4092 Apr 6 '18 at 23:30

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