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During my studies I stumbled on this sentence : 彼女はそれがいくらなのかわかります 

I am having some trouble understanding why you would need to use "なの” in this context.

I think I understand the basics using of のです / なのです to give the sentence an explanatory meaning, but why here ?

If we want to say : "She knows how much this costs"

Can we not just say : "彼女はそれがいくらかわかります” ? Why would we have to add なの after いくら ?

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Let's just consider the inner fragment

それがいくらか

How would you parse this? Is it a sentence? If it is a sentence, where is the verb?

The grammar with わかる is generally it takes a sentence followed by か to indicate what is understood.

それがいくらか

parses much like the English (only it potentially sounds a lot ruder in Japanese).

That, how much?

This phrase needs a verb. In formal speech, you might ask

それがいくらですか

But generally you don't keep the formal verb in an embedded sentence. So, we need to change this to an informal sentence.

You might guess

それがいくらだか

But that just doesn't work. Instead you can opt for one of the following two:

それがいくらであるか

それがいくらなのか

The first of this sounds extremely literary. If you talk this way you'll sound like someone in parliament making a speech: rather pompous.

In the second one, the な is だ transformed for use in an embedded structure. I'm not sure quite how to explain the の but, if you're going to transform a formal sentence ending in ですか, then

ですか ==> なのか

So, in summary, 彼女はそれがいくらかわかります would be ungrammatical.

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  • Thank you for the explanation ! That is about what i had gather : the の is really confusing to me because it sounded like it was nominalizing "それがいくらです” and I did not really understand why. So I just have to remember that in that case the ですか becomes なのか。 Does that mean merely saying "彼女はそれがいくらかわかります” without the "なの” would also have been wrong? Thanks so much for the help !
    – Wignam
    Apr 10, 2021 at 16:18
  • 彼女はそれがいくらかわかります would be ungrammatical. -- Hm? I think it's fine.
    – chocolate
    May 2, 2023 at 1:15
  • “いくらかわかる” or really anything like “何かわかる” or “あの人がうちの社長かわかる”, is completely fine. It simply changes the nuance the same way it changes it outside of an embedded clause.
    – Zorf
    May 2, 2023 at 6:41
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If it's that way 彼女はそれがいくらなのかわかります She knows how much it is.
彼女はそれがいくらわかります How much does she understand?, so it has a different meaning.
ところで you can use Papago to translate whatever you want.

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  • 彼女はそれがいくらわかります How much does she understand? <-- But the question is "Can we not just say : "彼女はそれがいくらわかります” ? Why would we have to add なの after いくら?"
    – chocolate
    May 2, 2023 at 0:57

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