Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 3: 4/18


Converting a verb into a noun

Can also express something that is concrete - a fact.


Verb + こと


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About こと

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 noun. To use こと, just add it to the end of a verb in its dictionary form.
こと (or (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(きら)
    I dislike things like faxing. (That which is 'faxing')
  • (かね)使(つか)()ないこと大事(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.
Although this lesson discusses こと pairing with the dictionary form of verbs, it can actually pair with any standard verb form. Standard form just means anything that does not finish with the polite ます.
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.).
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 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.




    Speaking Japanese is difficult.


    I like playing sports.


    Dancing is fun!


    Not talking loudly.


    Not using a fork, using chopsticks.

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こと – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (21 in total)

  • TurboSushi1


    I’m confused, I think. I thought 〜ている was adding ~ing to the end of a verb.

    Is this the difference in English?

    〜ている I am eating. (The ~ing focuses on the continuous state of eating, as a verb)
    〜こと I like eating (The ~ing focuses on the act of eating, as a noun)

  • Fuga


    Hey @TurboSushi1 !

    〜ている is used to convey that someone/something is in a constant state of ‘doing’ the verb it is attached to, and this こと is to nominalize verbs that comes before it.

    For example, the sentence 想像することは大切なことです is translated as ‘Using your imagination is important.’, but a closer translation would be, ‘That which is to use your imagination, is important’.

  • TurboSushi1


    Nice, thank you!

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