この もんだいの ときかた（ ） わかりますか。
a. が b. で c. に d. を
わかる/わかります is often remembered as “to understand something” but わかる/わかります actually means “something becomes clear enough (so that (a person) can understand it)” and it usually takes the form of ～が わかる, instead of ～を わかる, because what becomes clear is the subject of the verb, not the object (= the target of the action of the verb).
In other words: while the English “understand” is a transitive verb, the Japanese verb “わかる/わかります” is an intransitive verb.
If you are intrigued by the words “transitive” and “intransitive,” this video explains what they are.
This が can be substituted with は if you are emphasizing “what you understand.”
Do you understand/know how to read this kanji?
I don’t understand English.
I don’t know John’s address.
Sometimes, you don’t need to use “understand” in the translation of わかる. “(something) has become clear” is enough.
テストの 結果（けっか）が わかりました。
The result of the test has come out.
The extent of the damage caused by corona virus is not yet clear.
If ”what has become clear” comes in a sentence form (a clause), you don’t need a particle が or は.
I don’t know what to do.
Do you know what time it is now?
In the above examples, I used the English word “know” for the translation of “わかる.” As I wrote in my previous articles, しりません vs わかりません , わかります/わかる overlaps with the English verb “to know” but you cannot replace the above わかる with しります or しっています. Because しります means “to get to know ～ for the first time” and しっています means “to have knowledge of ～” as opposed to “not to have any clue/knowledge about ～ at all.” For the difference between わかりません and しりません, please click the above links and read the linked posts.
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