I was about to answer this question when I realised I had a problem.

If I want to say "Please do A or B" where the actions involve different verbs then, hopefully:

Please either go to the shop or use the internet to buy the book.

is a grammatical -- and hopefully natural -- sentence.

So if I wanted to say "You can do A or B" it seems like a natural extension to write:

To buy a book you can either go to a shop or use the internet.

But the internet has a disturbing lack of text that contains どちらか出来ます, so I'm guessing that this is, at best, unnatural and maybe ungrammatical too.

If it is unnatural what is the correct way to express that you have the ability to do one thing or another thing (but not necessarily both)?

  • 1
    Maybe it would make sense if you gave a more natural example sentence and the situations you might use it in.
    – Ringil
    Mar 26, 2020 at 19:38
  • Down vote? Wow, it's getting tough round here. I don't think it takes too much imagination to make this into a valid sentence. Suppose I have a limited amount of time, therefore I can watch a film or read a book, but not both (it's a short book, but a long film). I can go to the gym or do my shopping. I can pay by direct debit or write a cheque. I can catch a bus or drive my car. The list of applicable sentences is endless. Mar 27, 2020 at 6:40
  • I didn't downvote but I think your example definitely makes it harder to talk productively on the subject.
    – Ringil
    Mar 27, 2020 at 11:49
  • @Ringil Fair enough. I've edited to something which is hopefully more sensible. Mar 27, 2020 at 12:16
  • 1
    @broccoliforest Sorry for not being able to explain myself clearly. I'm not interested in the particular sentence I just used, but the general construction. Here's another example "In my work break I can either eat my sandwiches or go to a cafe". I'm hoping we can't reduce this example to single verb. Thanks for your help so far. Mar 29, 2020 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


For "Please do A or B", I think you can use ~するか~してください, as in:


Likewise, for "You can do A or B", I think you can use 「~するか~することができます」, as in:

"In my work break I can either eat my sandwiches or go to a cafe."
"I can watch a film or read a book (it's a short book, but a long film)."

I think you can also use 「~してもいいし~してもいいです」, as in:

"You can catch a bus or drive your car."
"You can buy a car or deposit your money in the bank."


それとも is also another possibility.

  • 2
    Your answer would be more complete if you gave an example or two.
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 14, 2021 at 5:47

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