どう (dou) Meaning Japanese Grammar - What

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どう (dou) Meaning Japanese Grammar - What

The expression どう () means how, what, in what way and is a interrogative of the Kosoado series.

In this post we learn more about the meaning of どう, how it is formed, and when どう is used through real example sentences.

How どう is formed

どう like the other interrogatives is found at the beginning of the question and is followed by a verb.



How's work?

How and when to use どう


What do you think?

This expression is also used to ask for the 'opinion' or the 'impression' of a person about the thing or fact that we are talking about.

  • What do you think of ...?

  • How does it look like ...?


What do you think of Indian cuisine?

With this question we ask our interlocutor if he likes Indian cuisine in general. In case you have to decide where to go for lunch or dinner, the nuance is: What do you say, would you like to go to an Indian restaurant?

いかが is a synonym for どう and is more formal and polite


How does this dress look like to you?

We often find in this type of question:

  • だろうか in plain form

  • でしょうか in polite form that emphasize the doubt and hesitation of the speaker

If we have to agree on a time with a person, for example, we can say:


What do you say, can it be okay at 5pm?

どう - What?

どう also takes on the meaning of what?.

どう + する (verb to do in present tense) is used to ask the person's intention on what to do or how to act in a certain situation or what she plans to do.


What do you do after the end of the lessons?

どう + した (verb to do in the past tense) in this case the meaning of the verb becomes happen, and in general these are unpleasant situations.

If I see a friend who is particularly in a bad mood I can ask:


What happened?

  • What's the problem?

  • What's wrong?

どう - What is best to do?

Another common phrase in Japanese is worth quoting:


What should I do?

The concept expressed is What do I have to do to make it okay?.

In this sense どう is used when you ask for advice, are in trouble and ask the other person how to proceed to resolve the situation.


I left my bag on the train. What should I do now?

  • What should I do?

  • What do you suggest we do?

Examples of どう


The moment your younger sister becomes a man-eater, what will you do?