Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 4: 1/13

のは・のが

Verb nominalizer, The one who..., That which...

Structure

Verb +

Details

  • Part of Speech

    Particle

  • Word Type

    Case Marking Particle

  • Register

    Standard

  • 品詞

    助詞

  • 単語の種類

    格助詞

  • 使用域

    一般

About の

In Japanese, のは and のが behave in a very similar way to the words 'that' and 'which' in English. This means that they perform a task called nominalization. Nominalization is when a phrase is treated in the same way as a single noun.
  • 沢山(たくさん)()のは(かれ)です
    He is the one that eats a lot. (Literally 'the one that eats a lot, he is')
  • (わたし)バスに()のが(きら)です
    I don't like riding the bus. (Literally 'that which is riding a bus, I hate')
Rather than a single noun, we can see from these examples that the phrases 沢山(たくさん)()のは and バスに()のが are behaving in the same way that a single noun would. In English, this can either mean 'that which', or 'the one who/that'.
This construction can be used after verbs in any tense, except for the polite ます or ません, which are only used at the end of a sentence, or certain clauses.
  • (かれ)(はし)のが()き。
    He likes running.
  • 菓子(かし)全部(ぜんぶ)()べたのは(むすめ)
    My daughter is the one that ate all of the candy.
  • (やま)(のぼ)ているのは今田(いまだ)さん
    Imada-san is that one who is climbing the mountain.
Caution
cannot be used as a substitute for こと in set expressions like ことができる, or ことがある. It also may not be followed by , である, or です, as this would become the explanatory ~んです, or のです in that case.

Examples

  • この仕事(しごと)するのは(わたし)

    I am the one who does this job.

  • ()のは(わたし)です

    I am the one who reads.

  • 寿司(すし)()べるのは(かれ)

    He is the one who eats sushi.

  • 漢字(かんじ)(おぼ)えるのは彼女(かのじょ)です

    She is the one who remembers kanji.

  • 文法(ぶんぽう)勉強(べんきょう)するのは(わたし)です

    I am the one who studies grammar.

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の – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (19 in total)

  • Daru

    Daru

    About 1 year ago

    Pretty much! Uses like this is what make は and が almost indistinguishable from each other at first.

    It’s worth mentioning that は would establish that プールで泳ぐ is going to be either what you’ll be comparing stuff to or the subject for the rest of the things you’ll be saying, whereas が has “shorter” range, and it’s energy or relevance in the sentence would pretty much stay in the same sentence you’ve said.

    This of course depends 100% on context, but you’d possibly need to clarify you’re still talking about プールで泳ぐ later on in this imaginary conversation.

    Hope this helps!

  • Glaciem52

    Glaciem52

    About 1 year ago

    Can someone explain me why is のは instead of こと. I don’t understand really well the difference betweeen nominalizers

  • Marcus

    Marcus

    About 1 year ago

    I’m currently watching Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You and mining it for example sentences to add to self study here in Bunpro (sticking to N5 and easy N4 sentences). The anime is very sweet and good fun, and mining it for sentences is really helping my Japanese a lot, making me think hard about grammar, and helping me see patterns.

    Anyway, I was about to add this sentence to the の(は) grammar point, but then I started thinking about it! It seems simple enough…

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