The expression どういうことか (
dou iu koto ka) means
What do you mean by that?,
What does it mean?.
It is used to ask for clarification and elucidation of what is being said and also to express astonishment, surprise or disappointment depending on the situation.
In this post we learn more about the meaning of どういうことか, how it is formed and when どういうことか is used through real example sentences.
How to form どういうことか
This expression is formed
- by the interrogative どう
dōhow?, what? of the Kosoado series, the Japanese demonstratives
- by the verb
- by the noun こと meaning
matter; its kanji is 事
- by the interrogative particle か
We can also find the forms:
- どういうことですか polite form with the
- どういうことなのか informal and colloquial
⇨ what do you mean?
⇨ what does it mean?
Today I am giving as examples various titles of Japanese publications on different topics and all containing the expression どういうことか that we are developing in this post.
What does it mean to be 'good at your job'?
とは to express astonishment
These two particles combined create a very common form in Japanese and one use is in explanations and descriptions of something.
とは follows the noun or expression whose description is asked or reported
The structure as follows:
Talent is believing in yourself.
Isn't it a bit early to be going to bed at 11 o'clock?
We can find phrases that end simply with とは; these are situations of
amazement, when something is not expected to happen.
I never thought I'd get my lost wallet back.
A 4-year-old child can write kanji...
The sentence is completed according to the situation:
- I was surprised to see a 4-year-old writing kanji
- I didn't think a 4-year-old could write kanji.
とは is often replaced by the less formal って
What does it mean to be an adult?
What is PH?
とは is ised in combination with どういうことか
What does it mean to trust people?
どういうことか to ask for clarification
This expression is used when we don't quite understand what our interlocutor is saying and ask for further information and explanation.
A Japanese definition of the form どういうことか: 物事の起こった原因が分からない際の表現
Expression used when we don't know the cause of something that happened.
We don't know the causes and the reasons for the fact reported and ask the interlocutor for an explanation.
What does it mean to learn?
どういうことか to express surprise
どういうことか is also used in situations where one expresses
surprise at what is being said.
Astonishment and also
dismay in the following dialogue:
My girlfriend suddenly told me that we couldn't meet anymore...
What do you mean you can't meet anymore!?
Other Japanese book titles:
What does 'rational' mean?
What does it mean to help people?
Synonyms of どういうことか
Some commonly used synonymous forms of どういうことか are:
what's the reason?
The generic noun こと
matter is replaced by 訳 wake and 理由 riyū meaning
どういうことかと言うと: What I mean is
Complete access to all the material published in the past and published new every week. Many more audio resources: listen to original audio sentences and dialogues with captions and explanations. Full dialogues to explain every grammar, word, or kanji in the details in a real Japanese context. All the material comes from original Japanese sources and websites, we do all the work to select the best material. We publish new articles, grammars, dialogues, audio, and many updates every week. By joining GokuGoku you will have complete access to all material published today and in the future.
Support the website
Our supporters have access to extra explanations, examples, audio, and more 🙏🏼Support us to unlock
Examples of どういうことか
What do you mean by 'understand'?
って as we have seen substitutes とは.
What is it like to be a dog?
From a Health and Wellness blog about 感染症診断: diagnosis of infectious diseases
What does it mean to make a diagnosis?
Similar grammar points in Japanese 📚