Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 1: 18/18

~ing, The ~ that ~ (nominalization)

Phrase + いうこと
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使用域 一般
One of the ways to perform nominalization (turning a phrase into a noun) in Japanese is through the use of the expression ということ. This grammar point is a combination of (the particle), 言(い)う (the verb), and こと (the noun). Together, the literal translation is close to ‘that (A) is said to be’. However, in reality, it sounds far less formal than this.
To use ということ, attach it to the end of any phrase (without です, or ます). In most cases it will be written using hiragana.
  • 宇宙人(うちゅうじん)いるということです
    Does that mean aliens exist?
  • 一緒(いっしょ)に住(す)んでいるけど付(つ)き合(あ)ってない ?ルームメイトだということ
    You are living together, but not dating? So that means they’re your roommate, right?
  • あの先生(せんせい)教(おし)え方(かた)酷(ひど)ということ聞(き)いた。
    I heard that the way that teacher teaches is harsh.
In conversation, という is regularly shortened to simply って. This form will be heard/seen much more frequently in conversation/manga and similar things.
  • これ正(ただ)しってことです
    Does that mean that this is correct?
  • 車(くるま)壊(こわ)れ?電車(でんしゃ)くるってこと?遅(おく)れないで来(き)
    Your car broke? Does that mean you are coming by train? Please don’t be late.
ということ is also frequently used when clarifying what someone else has said. In these cases, it translates very similarly to ‘you mean that (A)?’, or ‘you mean to say that (A)?’
  • これ人工(じんこう)ってこと
    You mean that this is man made?
Although the kanji 言(い)う and 事(こと) may be used in this expression, the most common form does not use any kanji at all. This is a regular occurance in Japanese, as many set grammatical structures will not use kanji, simply because it makes the pattern easier to identify.
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I often hear that this restaurant is delicious. [phrase to noun]
Do you mean I should pay for everyone? [phrase to noun]
Do you mean that I have to wash the dishes all by myself? [phrase to noun]
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Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
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