I came across the following sentence in an exercise:


Although only B and D make sense to me, here are the four propositions:

A. 合わなかった

B. 合うかどうか知らなかった

C. 合わないかもしれない

D. 合うか不安だった

I picked B, but the solution was D. In both cases, I'd say the meaning is along the lines of until I actually wore it, I wasn't sure if it was going to fit. My reasoning was that while both B and D are semantically correct, 不安だ is rather strong, like I'm not gonna be anxious because I'm not sure if my sweater will fit.

Do you agree with the solution, that サイズが合うか不安だった is the correct answer? If so, is B correct as well, or does it make sense at all? Or am I right to think that 不安 adds a nuance that's too strong for this context?

Additionnally, I'm perplexed by インターネットで注文したセーター. Is it alright to use 注文する when shopping online? I'm much more used to hearing and saying 注文 in the context of a restaurant, but can it be used in other situations?

  • I'm not sure on this (as I would also be confused between B and D), but it might have to do with the syntax rather than the meaning. Perhaps B would need to be 合うかどうか知らない (not 知らなかった) to be correct. This would even translate to English correctly: "You don't know whether or not it fits until you actually try it on" vs "You didn't know whether or not...". That's what my gut says, but I could be wrong.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 21:36
  • @istrasci but since the sentence ends with よかった, doesn't it force 知らない/だ to be in the past form?
    – Right leg
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 21:43
  • 2
    @istrasci This is a compound sentence, and the rule of relative tense is not relevant because the clause in question is not a subordinate clause.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 2:11

1 Answer 1



A. 合{あ}わなかった

B. 合うかどうか知{し}らなかった

C. 合わないかもしれない

D. 合うか不安{ふあん}だった

First of all, A and C are out of the question as neither one logically fits the context.

From my personal experience with Japanese-learners, I know many of them would think B was correct, but it is not. B is "grammatical" if anything, but contextually, that is not where native speakers would use the verb 「知る」 in the first place.

What is the other verb that means "to know" that you may have been wondering why native speakers use so often? It is, of course, 「わかる」. If B had read 「合うかどうかわからなかった」 instead of 「合うかどうか知らなかった」, it would have been a correct answer as well.

Regarding D, it is correct as is, making it the only correct answer among the four choices.

"不安だ is rather strong, like I'm not gonna be anxious because I'm not sure if my sweater will fit."

It is not necessarily strong used all by itself for us native speakers. If you added qualifiers such as 「とても」、「大変{たいへん}」, etc, it would certainly be strong.

Finally, 「注文」 is used to request and purchase all kinds of goods and services both online and in real life. It is not only used in eateries.

  • Thanks a lot! I know about 知る and わかる, but I still mix them up from time to time...
    – Right leg
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 8:19

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