Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 6: 12/13

Possessive use (Noun omission)

Structure
Noun + + (previously mentioned noun)

Note: The previously mentioned noun is dropped.
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
Information
A common pattern in Japanese is referring back to a noun that has already been mentioned, without actually repeating it. This is achieved through the use of the particle , in a similar way to its standard possessive use. The noun that would usually follow is dropped, as it has either been said earlier in the sentence, or is understood clearly from context.
  • この本(ほん)たけしさんです
    This book is Takeshi-san’s (book).
  • そのペン誰(だれ)?あなた
    That pen, whose (pen) is it? Is it your (pen)?
In these examples, it would also be grammatically correct to use the same noun following , but as can be seen in the English translation, it results in unnecessary repetition. This is called 重(かさ)ね言葉(ことば) (word stacking/redundant words) in Japanese, and is considered a poor writing/speech habit. Despite this, it is important to know that this is exactly the same as the possessive (with the following word simply being left out).
In the following sentence, we can see another common use of の that translates similarly to ‘one’ in English, when referring to non-specific things.
  • あの車(くるま)、あなた乗(の)っている車(くるま)です
    That car, was it the car (one) you drove? (‘Car’ repeated, when ‘the one’ should have been used instead)
From this, it is clear that the repeated noun is not needed. Japanese is a language that avoids repeating words in many situations. This example shows noun replacement, rather than noun omission, another common use of の which we will cover in another lesson.
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その帽子(ぼうし)娘(むすめ)(帽子(ぼうし))です
That hat is my daughter's (hat).
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あのパソコン君(きみ)(パソコン)でしょう
That computer is your (computer) right?
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木綿(もめん)スカーフ私(わたし)(スカーフ)です
The cotton scarf is my (scarf).
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Books
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 233
みんなの日本語 I
Page 21 [CH 2]
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 70