Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 3: 4/18

こと
Converting a verb into a noun

Can also express something that is concrete - a fact.

Structure
Verb + こと
Details
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使用域 一般
Information
In a very similar way to のは, こと is used in Japanese for nominalization (creating a noun-like phrase). However, unlike のは, which is a combination of two particles, こと is a standard 名詞(めいし) (noun). To use こと, just add it to the end of any non-past verb.
こと (or 事(こと) in its kanji form) is a noun that is often translated as ‘thing’, and in this way, literally means ‘the thing that is (A)’ when used for nominalization.
  • 近所(きんじょ)迷惑(めいわく)になることてはいけない
    You should not do things that will cause annoyance to your neighbors. (That which is ‘causing a problem in the neighborhood’)
  • ファックスすることが嫌(きら)い
    I dislike things like faxing. (That which is ‘faxing’)
  • お金(かね)使(つか)い過(す)ぎない大事(だいじ)です
    It is important to not use too much money. (That which is ‘not using too much money’)
As we can see from these examples, ない can also be used between the verb and こと, to form a ‘not’ statement. There are other auxiliary verbs that may be used with こと in this way, but ない is the most common.
Fun Fact
Unlike もの (another noun used to describe ‘things’), こと is a noun that is frequently used to describe things that are ‘intrinsic’. This basically means things that are describable, but not necessarily always observable (feelings, conditions, events, etc.).
Caution
When a sentence (usually short) finishes with こと, it quite often has the nuance of being a rule, or command. This こと is not actually a noun, but a 終助詞(しゅうじょし) (sentence ending particle).
  • 1.クラスメイトいじめないこと。
    1. Do not bully your classmates.
こと as a particle will almost never be written in the kanji form. However, it does originate from the same word.
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日本語(にほんご)話(はな)すこと難(むずか)しい
Speaking Japanese is difficult.
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スポーツすること好(す)き
I like playing sports.
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ダンスすること楽(たの)しい
Dancing is fun!
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Books
Marugoto Elementary 1 (A2) Rikai
Page 32
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 7 & 194