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So, this catchy song, "U.S.A." by DA PUMP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr--GVIoluU

https://www.oricon.co.jp/special/51204/

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_(DA_PUMP%E3%81%AE%E6%9B%B2)

has the following in the lyrics:

どっちかの夜は昼間

Because this is a (cover) song by Japanese artists about the U.S.A., I figure that it means "where it's nighttime in one, it's daytime in the other".

Anyway, this is the first time I've seen this sentence structure (どちらかの~は~). Is this accepted, formal Japanese? If not, does it have a formal equivalent?

  • Can you include a couple lines before and after for context? You could bold the line of interest so we know what part of the lyrics you are focusing on. – ajsmart Jun 13 '18 at 21:22
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    Is this accepted, formal Japanese? -- ううん・・ 文法的(意味的?)には、変だと思います。 – Chocolate Jun 14 '18 at 2:02
  • やっぱり文法的には正しくないですよね。ま、個人的にいうと、この曲はそのような歌詞が多いことによって魅力的でもありますが。この質問の回答はどうしましょうかね。 – Otomatonium Jun 15 '18 at 21:51
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In my opinion, I think that the question hinges on どちらか, or as the song has it, どっちか. If you looked at the link, webilo has a pretty good definition, if you can read the Japanese:

不定称の代名詞で、複数ある中の一つを限定せずに示す表現。いずれか。どっちか。

It basically says that this is an expression behaves as a pronoun. This pronoun does not specify which option is taken.

In other words, it means either.

どっちかの can simply be translated as the possessive どっちか (either).

Long story short, I wouldn't say that this is a specific grammar structure, but rather a combination of several grammar structures. As such, it's not uncommon, but not common enough to be listed as its own grammar stucture.


I'm going to break it down from here.

どっちかの夜: Evening in either place

は: subject

昼間: Daytime

My translation is as follows.

Evening/Nighttime in either place is daytime (for the other).

Note that I took liberty of assuming we were talking about different places from the clues you gave in your question. Also note that my addition in parenthesis isn't specifically stated. I suspect that there is more to the sentence than you included.

  • Thanks! Your breakdown section in this answer inspired me to see following: (アメリカか日本の)どっちかの夜は(それじゃない方の)昼間. – Otomatonium Jun 13 '18 at 21:39
  • @Otomatonium It's tricky trying to understand what they are trying to say here since this is only part of the lyrics, but it's something along those lines. – ajsmart Jun 13 '18 at 21:49
  • Haha it's tricky even with all the lyrics. That "huh? what?" factor is actually one of the cool things about the song in my opinion. Thanks for your feedback! – Otomatonium Jun 15 '18 at 21:52

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