Noun + で(も)いい VS +がいい ( = Noun + de (mo) ii vs + ga ii)

= Kyou no sensei boku demo ii ?
= Would it be OK if I were the teacher for today? / Do you mind if I am your teacher for today’s lesson?

Hi everyone!
Today’s guest teacher is ブンタ先生  ( =  Bunta Sensei).
He is a very friendly 2-year-old boy. 
Yukari met him on the street near her house and they became friends.
After hearing about our site, he volunteered to be a guest teacher.
He is fluent in Japanese so he will be a good teacher! Are we ready?  😃
= Minasan, hajimemashite. Bunta desu. Kyou, minna ni nihongo wo oshieru koto ga dekite ureshii desu.
= Nice to meet you, everyone! I’m Bunta. It’s my pleasure to teach you all Japanese today.
Today we will learn the difference in nuance between,
:rrrr: ★Noun + いい ( = de ii) /でもいい ( = demo ii) and  いい  ( = ga ii)
If someone asks you,
= Kyou wa dare ni nihongo wo naraitai desu ka?
= Who would you want to learn Japanese from today?
How would you answer?


1) ブンタ先生いいです。

= Bunta sensei de iidesu. 

=I don’t mind if Bunta Sensei is the teacher.


2) ブンタ先生いいです。

= Bunta sensei ga iidesu.
= I want Bunta Sensei to teach us Japanese.
If I hear you say,
:rrrr: 1) ブンタ先生いいです。
= Bunta sensei de iidesu.
I would feel a bit hurt because で  ( = de) has a nuance of compromising so it sounds like I may not be the perfect teacher but there is no choice so you have to accept me as a teacher.
But if you say,
:rrrr: 2)  ブンタ先生いいです。
= Bunta sensei ga iidesu.

using が  ( = ga), I feel flattered because you chose me over everybody else to be your teacher.

Note : If you say でも  ( = demo) instead of で  ( = de)

= Bunta sensei demo iidesu.

It adds the feeling of “even Bunta Sensei”

When you express what you want, you use both ~いい  ( = ga ii) and ~いい(=deii). 
While が ( = ga) shows a strong preference/desire,  で  ( = de) shows your feeling of compromising or gives a sense of looking down on someone/something.  So you have to be very careful when to use them and which one to use.
I know it is just one letter but it changes the nuance completely. 
Ex. これいいです。 
= Kore ga iidesu.
 = I want THIS ONE!
Ex. これいいです。
= Kore de iidesu.

= This one will do. (compromising)


Ex. これでもいいです。

= Kore demo iidesu.
= I will be fine even with this one.
Q : 何が飲みたいですか?
= Nani ga nomitai desuka?
 = What would you like to drink?
Ex. ビールいいです。
= Biiru ga iidesu.
 = I’d like to have a beer. (Not anything else)
Ex. ビールいいです。

= Biiru de iidesu.

 = A beer is just fine. (A beer will do.)
Ex. ビールでもいいです。
= Biiru demo iidesu.
= I will be fine even with a beer.
Ex. 何を飲む?水いい?(casual)
= Nani wo nomu? Mizu de ii?
= What do you want to drink? Will (just) water be OK with you?
Ex. うん、水いいよ。(casual)
= Un, mizu de iiyo.
 = Yeah, water is just fine with me. (Don’t trouble yourself .)
Ex. うん、水でもいいよ。(casual)

= Un, mizu demo iiyo.

 = Yeah, even just water is fine with me.
Ex. コーラいい!(casual)
 = Koora ga ii!
 = I want a Coke!
⭐️ Note: What to do / Which one to use….
So で  (  = de) or でも ( = demo) may offend someone’s feelings because it sounds compromising.  But が  ( = ga) expresses your desire straight forward, and remember that Japanese people sometimes prefer to avoid straightforward expressions.
 If someone asks you what you would like to drink or eat, the safest answer is
= Omizu (wo) onegai shimasu.
= Then I’d like to have some water, please.


= Sorede wa omizu (wo)  itadakemasu ka?

 = Then, may I have some water, please?


= Omizu (wo) kudasai.
= Please give me some water. (Water, please.)

Note : Though your Japanese teachers would probably frown on my teaching this, the truth is we often omit particles in conversation.

When you say を ( = wo), an object marker, you ask for something, in this case a glass of water, a little bit more clearly.


= Omizu choudai.
= Give me some water.
When you want to express your preference in a strong way, you use いい  ( = ga ii) and when you make it sound softer you use いい  ( = de ii).  
However, as I said, when you answer using いい  ( = de ii) you are including a nuance of compromise and that may annoy the person who offered you something.

Ex.「 夕食は、ステーキいいな。」

= Yuushoku wa suteiki ga iina.

= I wanna a steak for dinner.


= Eh? Okane naino? Jaa, tori no karaage de (demo)  iiyo.
= What? You don’t have money? Then, fried chicken is just fine.
:rrrr:  When you emphasize the meaning of “even” you use でも ( = demo)
Ex. 「窓側の席いいです。」
= Madogawa no seki ga iidesu.
= I prefer a window seat.

(expressing your desire straightforward)


= Moushiwake arimasen ga, madogawa no oseki wa mou ippai desu.
 = We are very sorry but all the window seats are already booked up.


= Jaa tsuuro gawa no seki de iidesu.
= Then, an aisle seat is fine.
Ex. 「夏休み、どこに行く?海外に行く?」(casual)
= Natsuyasumi, dokoni iku? Kaigai ni iku? 

=Where should we go for summer vacation? Shall we go abroad?


= Kotoshi wa kokunai de iiyo. 
= Somewhere in Japan is just fine this year.


= Watashi wa Italia ga ii! 
= I want to go to Italy!


Ex. 「今日は疲れているから夕ご飯はコンビニのおにぎりいい?」

= Kyou wa tsukarete iru kara yuugohan wa konbini no onigiri de ii?

= I am tired today so do you mind if we just to eat rice balls from the convenience store?


= Ehh! Karee ga ii!
= Oh no… I want CURRY!!


= Bunta, daisuki!

= I love you, Bunta!

「 本当に僕で(も)いいの?」

= Hontou ni boku de(mo) iino?

= You like ME? (Really? You really like a dog like me? )


= Mochiron! Bunta ga iino!

= I mean it! I like YOU, Bunta!


*Negative form:

 :rrrr: Noun でなくてもいい ( = de nakutemo ii) / じゃなくてもいい ( = janakutemo ii)
It doesn’t have to be ~ 

Ex. ビールじゃなくてもいいよ。

= Biiru ja nakute mo iiyo.

= It doesn’t have to be beer.

Ex. そのホテルで(は)なくてもいいです。

= Sono hoteru de (wa) nakutemo ii desu.

= It doesn’t have to be that hotel.

So 皆はマギー先生いい?
= Mina wa Maggie sensei ga ii?

= You prefer (to learn Japanese from) Maggie Sensei?

maggie-senseiマギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori =  From Maggie Sensei


=Bunta sensei arigatou!

= Thank you, Bunta sensei!


= Bunta Sensei wa wakai onnanoko ga suki?
= Do you prefer young girls, Bunta-Sensei?
= Soretomo watashi no youna jukujo demo ii?

= Or is a “mature” woman like me OK?

ブンタ: 「マギー先生でもいいです。」  !sleepy!

= Bunta: “Maggie Sensei demo ii desu.”
= Bunta: “I would be OK even with you, Maggie Sensei.


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  1. I’m not sure if this is the same use of でいい, but I have a big problem with sentences like this one:
    Context: a man looking for the world fair venue finds himself in an odd place, so he’s trying to make sure. I think this should mean “Are you sure this is the world fair venue?” or “This is the world fair venue, right?”, but I can’t understand why.
    I’m guessing there’s a は omitted here: “ここは万博会場…”, so according to this lesson, shouldn’t it mean “It’s fine for this place to be the world fair venue, isn’t it?” ?
    Couldn’t it just be “ここは万博会場ですよね?”
    I understand how でいい works, when it follows a simple noun (like in this lesson’s examples) or it’s a part of a verb (~ていい/~でいい), but I guess here it follows an “A is B” sentence and I can’t wrap my head around it.

    1. Hi Shin

      Ah OK. The usage of でいい in this lesson is mainly to express one’s preference.
      でいい in your example sentence ここ万博会場でいいんですよね? is used when you confirm something checking something is OK/right/correct.
      You can rephrase it ここは、万博会場ということでいいですか? ( = 合っていますか? )
      The literal translation “Is it right that this place is Expo site? ” →Is this Expo site, right? Am I correct?”

      1. Now it all makes perfect sense.

        It’s very hard to find something about this, because if you try to look up “でいい”, all you get are preferences and asking for permission, so your reply was a huge help.

        Thank you very much, Maggie-sensei!

  2. 文法を学びたいのなら、マギー先生のサイトがいい!マギー先生じゃなきゃダメです。


    1. こんにちは Luna
      文法を学びたいのなら、マギー先生のサイトがいい!マギー先生じゃなきゃダメです。→完璧! 👏 (あと、「文法を学ぶなら〜」とも言えますよ。)


  3. Hello Maggie-sensei. Thank you for a very informative lesson! I have come across this sentence when reading a manga, and I’m sure it’s pretty basic but I am not quite sure how to translate it….
    The sentence is
    I don’t understand the compromise theory in this case, because he is asking something pretty general.
    I thought the translation might be something like
    Is it right that Tanaka-san and Yamashita are “friends from University”?

    I don’t think I understand the でいい in this case…
    Sorry if it’s a weird question…

    1. Hi NinaO

      Yes, your translation is good.

      Tanaka-san and Yamashita-san are “friends from University”. Am I right?

      Is that right? /Is it right? / Am I right?

      The speaker is checking some fact or their assumption is right.

  4. Hello Maggie-sensei^_^


    1. As I wrote in the beginning of the lesson, が ( = ga) shows a strong preference/desire
      So when you choose one particular thing.
      “I like this one/ I prefer this one.” and not other things, you say これがいい

      And when you don’t have a strong preference/desire and you pick one thing and think “This will do./ This one is OK.” You say これでいい (It also implies “Maybe this one is not the best one but I would just fine with this one.”)

  5. こんにちはマギー先生!

    It’s me again 😊 I have trouble understanding this sentence can you please help me 😊😉🤗


    I am interested in the meaning of だったら and also the combination of だけでいいから gives me problems. Also I wanted to ask what だけで means I’ve come across it many times now and still don’t really understand it’s meaning 🤔


    1. @Chii

      Hi Chii
      Vだけでいい= just doing something is good enough/ just need to do something. That’s all
      見てるだけでいい = just watching is good enough. You don’t need to do anything./ You just need to watch it, that’s all.

      Noun + だったら is a casual way to show the topics. (= テレビは)
      As for ~

      1. ありがとうございます😊

        Thank you for the great explanation! 😊Now I understand it👍 would you mind telling me the meaning of the whole sentence ?? 🤗

          1. @maggie

            Thank you 😊 now i get it 😉😊👍 thank you again fr your help 😊👍🤗

  6. I just don’t know exactly the mean among these words, I only know the sittuations from you to use them, could you show me the nearest means ? Thank you so much :D

  7. Doushite “dare NI Nihongo wo naraitai?’?
    And not “dare kara”??

    This always confuses me. Itsumon mono energy koto wo komateiru.

    1. @tordy

      You can say “Dare kara nihongo wo naraitai?”

      This function of に is to indicate the source, “from”

      Ex. 誰からその時計をもらったの?
      = Dare kara sono tokei wo moratta no?
      = (Lit) From whom did you receive the watch?
      = Who gave you the watch?
      →You can say
      = Dare ni sono tokei wo moratta no?

      Ex. 父から時計をもらった。
      = Chichi kara tokei wo moratta.
      = I received the watch from my father.
      →You can also say
      = Chichi ni tokei wo moratta.

      You often see this type of に with passive form, and the verbs such as 習う/教えてもらう

      Ex. マギー先生から日本語を教えてもらった。
      = Maggie sensei ni nihongo wo oshiete moratta.
      Ex. マギー先生に日本語を教えてもらった。
      = Maggie sensei ni nihongo wo oshiete moratta.

    1. @Veron

      It is nice/good to do something
      The translation could be the same as
      ~no ga ii
      ~no wa ii
      but 〜もいい(=mo ii) is more subtle than ~がいい(-ga ii) or 〜はいい(=wa ii) and more suggestive.

      Ex. たまには温泉に行くのもいいですね。
      = Tamani wa onsen ni iku no mo iidesune.
      = It is nice to go visit hot springs once in a while.

      Ex. 京都に行くのもいいですね。
      = Kyouto ni iku no mo iidesune.
      = Visiting Kyoto would be nice,too.

  8. Wow, you’re very thorough! I learnt something like this on another site but they only covered ga ii desu and de ii desu. I never knew there was a demo ii desu! Thanks Maggie Sensei! You’re awesome. Oh, also…I noticed that you wrote this at the end:

    So 皆はマギー先生がいい?
    = Mina wa Maggie sensei ga ii?

    I think the romaji should say minna but I’m probably wrong. Anyway, thanks for teaching, this was an awesome lesson! :}

    1. @the river puppy

      Thank you for your comment!
      The way you read the kanji 皆 is「みな=mina」(みんな=minna is colloquial way to say “everyone”)

  9. マギー先生、こんにちは!


    「問題ないさ 問題ないさ 明日も頑張るあなたに いいね 心配ない もう 心配ないさ 明日にもがいてる あなたでいいですよ」
    この文は「あなたに いいね」と「あなたでいいです」も入れています。

    1. @レーナ

      これはどこかの歌詞ですか? 誰かにいいねという言い方はあまりしませんが、
      「明日も頑張るあなたに いいね」 は、「明日も頑張るあなたはいいですね。」ということです。

      You know Facebook has a “Like” button. We called it いいね. So it means “I like you who tries hard tomorrow./ You are great”

      明日にもがいているあなたでもいいです。This あなたでもいい means I still like you even + something negative” In this case,
      I like you who struggles tomorrow/ Even you struggle tomorrow, you are great”

  10. Great lesson, thank you.

    But how does this differ from “nounがほしい” or the “たい” form of verbs?

    1. @nibill

      Hi nibill,

      OK, let’s compare the following sentences.
      1) 水が飲みたいです。 = I want to drink water. (たい is always used with a verb.)
      2) 水が欲しいです。= I want some water. (You are expressing what you want clearly.)
      (We use 1) and 2) when you tell people what you want/what you want to do)

      3) 水がいいです。= I prefer water. (When someone asks you what you want to drink.)
      4) 水でいいです。= (I don’t mind) Water is just fine. (When someone asks you what you want to drink.)
      (We use 3) and 4) when someone asks you what you want first.You don’t usually say these when nobody asks you what you want to drink.)

  11. ありがとう、役に立つ表現です。

    1. @John

      若いよね〜。犬の2歳は人間の24歳以上だから大丈夫! ♪ Uo・ェ・oUノ

  12. Thank you for the lesson :) How do I send you emails? I have a helper for you. Her name is Leelu :)

  13. ありがとう先生。とても便利な表現です。少し聞きたいことがあるんですけど。In English, we’d often answer a questions like ‘Where should we go for lunch’ with something like ‘anywhere is fine’. In Japanese, is it 「どこでもいいですよ」?Grammar ok? Politeness ok?
    Or if we want to say either one (of two or more options) is fine with me:「どちらでもいいです」、「どれもいい」
    Is the pattern usually どこ/どれ/どちら + でもいい? Or just もいい? Or either one?

    Also, if someone asks a question like 「夏休みはどこに行こうか」and we want to list some possible answers and/or be vague:
    「さあ。。イタリアやフランスなどがいい」someplace like italy or france is good
    「日帰りはどう?鎌倉か箱根などでいい」how about a day trip? someplace like Kamakura or Hakone would be fine
    Can you add など to make it sound less specific?
    Thank you!

    1. @elainelink

      Grammar ok? 

      →Yes. We say that often in conversation.

      Politeness ok?

      → どこでもいい means “wherever” and it implies “I don’t care” so if you are talking to someone superior,
      どちらでも結構です(= dochira demo kekkou desu) sounds more polite.


      Can you add など to make it sound less specific?

      AやBなど means “A and B and etc.”

      If you want it sound less specific in conversation, I would use とか

      someplace like A or B would be fine = AとかBとか*がいい
      (Sometimes we skip the second とか in conversation)

  14. Hi, Maggie Sensei! Another great lesson, but there’s another usage of いい that I would like to ask about. What does it mean when は precedes いい?From what I understand, it can mean ‘It’s fine, don’t bother’.

    Scenario I encountered:
    A: お茶を入れて?それとも水はどうかしら?(Person A is very nervous at this point and is trying to start a conversation with Person B in this context)

    (What I’m guessing is that Person B is trying to imply ‘It’s fine, so calm down’ even though いい is used in this context)

    Would you mind elaborating? P.S. Is there a lesson concerning the usage of the casual 意向形動詞available? 

    1. @Blossom

      Hello Blossom,

      いい means “good/nice” and also “yes” and “no”

      Your guess is right. お水はいいから means お水はいらないから = “It’s fine. / I’m good. / Don’t worry about water./ I don’t need water now so don’t bother.”
      So いい means “good/nice, yes and no” depending on the context.

      I will show you some examples.

      Ex. 1) 自然はいいね。
      = Shizen wa iine.
      = I love nature. / Nature is good.

      Ex. 2) B: マギー先生、このお菓子食べてもいいですか?(asking for a permission.)
      = Maggie sensei, kono okashi tabete mo ii desuka?
      = May I eat this snack, Maggie Sensei. ?

      Maggie : いいです。
      = Iidesu.
      = Sure! / Yes!

      Note : This いい means “Yes” .
      (← 食べてもいいですよ。= Tabete mo iidesuyo= You may eat it.)

      ☆When you ask someone a permission or request someone to do something and they say いいです/いいですよ/いいよ(more casual) , they mean “Yes, you can. You are allow to do that. /Yes, go ahead”

      Now what confuses you is the following one.

      Ex. 3) Blossom: マギー先生、このお菓子食べますか。
      = Maggie Sensei kono okashi tabemasuka?
      = Do you want to eat this snack, Maggie Sensei?

      Maggie: いいです。
      = Iidesu.
      = No thank you.
      (Variation : 私はいいです。= Watashi wa ii desu = I am good, No thank you./ 今、いいです。= Ima iidesu. = not now. )
      The polite way is : 結構です。= Kekkou desu. = No thank you.

      ☆This いいです means いらない(です)(= iranai (desu)) “No thank you” and saying “No” to someone’s offer.

      So when you offer someone something and they say いいです・いいから、いい, they mean “No thank you”

      I will make a short lesson for you in near future.

      I might have made a mini lesson on Facebook but I will add it on the request list.

  15. Domo arigatou gozaimasu…
    Maggie mo, bunta mo, soshite saikou no yukari sensei
    sasuga yukari sensei…

    1. @Layol
      =Layol, comment arigatou!! Hai ganbatte lesson tsuzukete ikimasune. Korekara mo yoroshiku!!

  16. ほ~、新しいレッソンだ! ブタ先生、どうもありがとうございました!ご苦労さんでした。
    cf. きみがやっていいよ。(モの省略可)」 によるものです。


    1. あのう、ブタじゃなくてブンタ先生でした!読み違えてしまって本当にごめんあさい 。゚・(>Д<)・゚。

    2. @天人
      Hi 天人


      OK, I saw the site and I agree.
      It is not natural to skip も here.

      When you give someone a permission, you say
      Ex. 食べてもいいよ/ 食べていいよ。
      Ex. 質問してもいいですよ。/ 質問していいですよ。
      (Note : In my opinion, ていい is more colloquial and you are supposed to use てもいい in your Japanese class.)

      When you offer to do something for someone (that what they meant “申し出”) , (Ex. I can do that for you.), you don’t say 〜ていい

      Ex. 教えてもいいですよ。I don’t mind teaching. / I could teach (for you) (X 教えていいですよ。)
      Ex. 見せてもいいですよ。I don’t mind showing something to you./ I could show something to you.

      If you say 教えていいですよ。it sounds like you are giving a permission to someone to teach (“You can teach/ You are allowed to teach.”)
      if you say 見せていいですよ。it means “You can show something.” /”You are allow to show something.”

      1. I’m very grateful for your help. This was the only part in 禁止/許可 that I had problems with.
        Finally I understood it, ノートダン!Thank you very very much! You are the best! \(^o^)/

        PS “ていい is more colloquial and you are supposed to use てもいい in your Japanese class” うん、そうだね。でも実は私、日本語学校に通っていません。ずっと一人で勉強していますね(^ω^)

        1. @天人

          1. 了解!

            Here’s my learning method:
            1. Learn the language basics from the Internet.
            2. Buy the best available books for the Japanese language proficiency test (up to N1).
            3. Use the best Internet websites that will help you to learn Japanese. ==> <==
            4. Learn every day (no excuses) new words, new 漢字's, new expressions, new grammar forms; systematicity is the key.
            5. Make notes. The most important grammar information you've read should be in one place. Unfortunately there are no perfect books. So every book, every website will bring you tons of new information.
            6. When you reached the N2/N1 level then it's time to read Japanese school books, just like the Japanese do at school (ex. 日本語文型辞典) . Use 100% Japanese dictionaries like No English allowed on this level.
            7. Buy some Japanese novel books (written in Japanese) and the English version of it. Read them simultaneously.
            8. Watch every day for few hours NHK or listen to Japanese Radio or just watch anime if you don't have access to NHK or jap. radio.
            9. Stop thinking in your mother language, start thinking in Japanese!
            10. Learning Japanese = FUN!!!

            And in 5 years you should:
            – master over 12000 words;
            – master over 2000 漢字's;
            – master the Japanese grammar on a higher level than N1;
            – have the satisfaction that nothing's impossible.

            I am in the middle of my path to master Japanese.
            And Japanese is my forth language.

          2. @天人
            WOOOOW!! I am VERY impressed! Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information.
            I bet many people can learn from this list. I like your learning attitude a lot. Not just setting the goal but you actually make a great effort. Haha, thank you for including my site in your list. I feel flattered. :)
            I totally agree with No.10. Let’s have lots of fun learning Japanese!

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