Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 4: 1/13

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

Verb +
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
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)食(た)べのは彼(かれ)です
    He is the one that eats a lot. (Literally ‘the one that eats a lot, he is’)
  • 私(わたし)バスに乗(の)のが嫌(きら)いです
    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)食(た)べのは and バスに乗(の)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.
  • 彼(かれ)走(はし)のが好(す)き。
    He likes running.
  • お菓子(かし)全部(ぜんぶ)食(た)べたのは、娘(むすめ)
    My daughter is the one that ate all of the candy.
  • 山(やま)登(のぼ)っているのは、今田(いまだ)さん
    Imada-san is that one who is climbing the mountain.
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.
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I am the one who does this job.
["to do this job" becomes a noun]
I am the one who reads.
["to read" becomes a noun]
He is the one who eats sushi.
["to eat sushi" becomes a noun]
Marugoto Elementary 1 (A2) Rikai
Page 42
みんなの日本語 II
Page 84 [CH 38]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 7, 318 & 337
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 70