Gyūnyū-de ii-yo. (Milk is fine.)

Situation 1: It’s morning and Mrs. Okubo has overslept. She asks her husband what he wants to drink.

妻: コーヒー、紅茶、牛乳、どれがいい?

夫: 時間がないから、牛乳でいいよ。後片付けも簡単 だろうし。

Tsuma: Kōhii, kōcha, gyūnyū, dore-ga ii?

Otto: Jikan-ga nai-kara, gyūnyū-de ii-yo. Atokatazuke-mo kantan-darō-shi.

Wife: What would you like: coffee, tea or milk?

Husband: Milk is fine, as we don’t have much time. And it’ll be easy to clean up.

Today we’ll introduce the proper use of two expressions Xがいい and Xでいい. X(=noun)でいい, Xでけっこうです and Xでかまわない express that X is the next best thing or something acceptable, and shows an expression of concession. In other words, Xで いい shows the speaker’s passive choice. Example: ちゃんと動 (うご)くのなら、新品(しんぴん)じゃなくて中古品(ちゅうこひん)でいい (If they work properly, second-hand goods will do instead of new ones); お昼(ひる)ご飯(はん)は一番(いちばん)簡単(かんたん)な料理(りょうり)でいいです (The simplest dish will be enough for lunch). Xでいい shows the speaker’s consideration of the listeners or a reluctance in wasting the other person’s time or labor, as in the husband’s remark above. Xでけっこうです is the polite and reserved pattern. But note that when the speaker is asked to choose something, Xでいい conveys the speaker’s apathy because they are indifferent. In other words, if the speaker says Xでいい when their counterpart has prepared something with great difficulty, it sounds impolite. Check Mr. Okubo’s remark in the Bonus Dialogue for an example of this.

Situation 2: Mr. Sere is looking at some sweaters in a men’s clothes store with his girlfriend Yuri.

ゆり: このセーター、いいんじゃない? いろんな色の種類があるよ。

セレ: そうだね。この落ち着いた赤がいいな。

Yuri: Kono sētā, ii-n-ja-nai? Ironna iro-no shurui-ga aru-yo.

Sere: Sō-da-ne. Kono ochitsuita aka-ga ii-na.

Yuri: This sweater’s nice, what do you think? It has all these different colors.

Sere: Yeah. I like this muted red one.

Xがいい shows that X is the speaker’s top choice or that the speaker thinks X is the best. Expressions like Xがけっこう or Xがかまわない are not used. Particle が has the function of focusing on the noun before が, and Xがいい shows that the speaker actively chooses X. Example: 「お菓子(かし)を作(つく)ったんだけど、この中(なか)で、どれがほしい?」「これがいいな」 “I baked these sweets. Which one of these cakes would you like?” “I’ll take this one.”

Bonus Dialogue: At home, Mrs. Okubo asks her husband about dinner.

妻: きょうの晩(ばん)ごはん、何(なに)がいい?

夫: うーん、簡単(かんたん)なものでいいよ。

妻: じゃあ、カップラーメンでいいの? 全然(ぜんぜん)ちゃんと考(かんが)えていないのね。

夫: え? いや、そんなわけじゃ…。きょうはぼくが作(つく)るよ。

妻: え、ほんと? じゃ、お願(ねが)い。よろしくね。

夫: で、何が食(た)べたい?

妻: そうね、えーと、きょうはビーフカレーがいいな。牛肉(ぎゅうにく)は隣(となり)の駅(えき)の肉屋(にくや)がいいのよ。ちょっと遠(とお)いけど、安(やす)くていい肉(にく)があるの。

夫: うん、わかった。

妻: あとの料理(りょうり)は缶詰(かんづめ)か何かでいいわ。時間(じかん)が足(た)りなくなるだろうから。

夫: わかったよ。…いつものパターンをしっかり覚(おぼ)えているな。

Wife: What do you want to eat for dinner today?

Husband: Hmm, anything easy will do.

Wife: So cup noodles will be OK? You’re not thinking about it at all!

Husband: What? No, I didn’t mean … I’ll cook this evening.

Wife: Oh, really? Then, please do. Thank you.

Husband: Well then, what do you want to eat?

Wife: Let’s see … I want to have beef curry today. You should get the beef from the butcher at the next station. It’s a little far but they sell good beef for a reasonable price.

Husband: OK. I got it.

Wife: For the rest we can just have canned food or something. There won’t be much time.

Husband: Right. … You remember my regular routine very well.

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