1. The two の's, what are their functions here?

  2. If I removed any or both of them how would that affect the sentence?

  3. Does では mean so then here, or is「のではどちらが」a canned expression?


Which do you prefer? Traveling alone or traveling with your friends?

Link to original tutorial/article

1 Answer 1

  1. の is being used as a nominalizer here. By placing の after an adjective or verb, you are able to create a dummy noun. Essentially, you are creating a noun phrase. For example:

the new one.

I like the new one.

の here acts as a "dummy noun" that is being described by 新しい. In your case, this dummy noun is being modified by the verb 旅する.

一人で旅する = to travel alone (verb)
一人で旅するの = travelling alone (noun phrase / gerund)

Likewise, 友達と旅するの is a noun phrase meaning "travelling with friends".


Your second and third questions both fall into one answer. The first reason why you cannot remove の from this pattern is because と can only list nouns (の is what allows 旅する to become a noun). The second reason is because this is a set pattern.

As for this grammar pattern, it is one of the main ways to create a list from which 「どれ、どちら、どっち」 can choose from. では here essentially means "out of" or "between". If this does not sound clear, here is an example:

Do you like cats, dogs, or rabbits the most?
More literal translation: Out of cats, dogs, and rabbits, which one do you like most?

Here is another example I stole from IMABI:

As for jogging, which is best, morning or night?

So for your example:

一人で旅するの友達と旅するの(ではどちらが いいですか?
Literal Translation: Between travelling alone and travelling with friends, which one is better?
Natural translation: Do you prefer travelling alone or travelling with friends?

The addition of the second と makes it sound a bit more old fashioned. It is omitted often. In addition, と can be replaced with か when implying that you can choose from something outside of the list. You can find more information about this pattern here.

  • Great explanation, could you please clarify it the (と) is implied, optional, omitted or substituted by the では? Could you write AとBとでは…?
    – JoelArt
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 6:45
  • @JoelArt the final (と) is optional. AとBとでは is a completely valid way to use it.
    – Shurim
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 15:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .