I found this sentence, in which I'm not quite sure about the だとでもいうかの part:


I found this reply in which it's said that とでもいうか is a set phrase meaning "Are you really saying...?", and とでもいう means "as though"; I'm not really sure if that's the case in the above sentence, though: the first meaning, "Are you really saying", doesn't seem to fit well, while the second is given for とでもいう (without ), so not sure if that's the case, and while "as if to say" could somehow fit ("As if to say the bycicles where there in place of the taxis"; a bit odd, but I could kinda understand it), ごとく means "as if", so it would seem redundant.

The I guess is a copula, while is used to connect to ごとく, but I don't really understand the rest of that structure.

  • 1
    Related? japanese.stackexchange.com/q/56849/9831 (Regarding 「~かのごとく」)
    – chocolate
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 12:04
  • I think so, thanks, I didn't thought of かのごとく as one form; not sure about the general meaning of とでもいうかのごとく, though.
    – Mauro
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 17:49
  • 1
    What happens after this? Does the guy do anything with one of the parked bikes? That information might be important in answering this question.
    – user4032
    Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 0:33
  • He stares for a bit at an electrical bike, then enters a phone booth to call a taxi services: トーマスは一台の黄色い電動アシスト車に殊の外惹かれてしまい、一分半ばかりの間それに見入りつつただ立ち尽くすほかなかったのだが、結局すぐに飽きて公衆電話ボックスのドアを開けて受話器を手にしたのだった。
    – Mauro
    Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


noun + の如【ごと】く is a literary way to say "like ~".

  • 蝶のごとく舞う to dance like a butterfly

clause + か + のごとく is "as if ~". か is a question marker that can form an embedded question or work like "whether/if".

  • 実際に見たかのごとく話す to talk as if he had actually seen it
  • 生きているかのごとく動く to move as if it were alive

Thus, その代わりだとでもいうかのごとく is "as if saying 'その代わりだ'". その代わりだ is the "quote", and here it means "(these bikes) are replacements". と is simply a quotation marker used with 言う. でも here means "~ or something".

Many bikes are placed as if (someone were) saying something like "These are the replacements (for taxis)".

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