Replacing が with の

Asbel

New Member
English
Hello dear Japanese speakers

Excuse me, I have a grammar question.

When you have a phrase with a が in it like 目が堅い and you put it in front of a noun like 目の堅い子

I dont understand why the が some times changes to の and other times it doesnt.

Is it just the sound of it. Or is there some rule to this.
 
  • tos1

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    が can be replaced with の in order to decrease は/が in sentences.

    Please Imagine translating "I like tall guys" to Japanese.
    私は背が高い人が好きだ is possible but hard to find the subject due to too many は/が.
    私は背の高い人が好きだ one は/が was decreased to improve.
    私は背の高い人を好きだ is grammatically not wrong but unnatural.

    Similarly, we can improve
    私が背が高い人が好きな理由が私が背が低いから。
    to
    私が背の高い人を好きな理由は、私の背が低いから。

    Incidentally, the same can be said for to many の.
    私の背の低いのは親からの遺伝かもしれない。
    can be replace with
    私の背が低いのは、親からの遺伝かもしれない。

    Japanese comma (読点「、」) also helps to be easy to read.
     

    Tonky

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    When you have a phrase with a が in it like 目が堅い and you put it in front of a noun like 目の堅い子

    I dont understand why the が some times changes to の and other times it doesnt.

    Is it just the sound of it. Or is there some rule to this.
    The reason is because languages are alive and they continue to change.
    Historically, が has been taking over some の functions and vice versa. It is said that we tend to prefer using が more than using の lately except for using の as a possessive case marker ([noun] no [noun], e.g. 私の家/我が家), although the choice depends hugely on each speaker/writer or generation.
    (Such change happens with English too, like "mind my ~ing" and "mind me ~ing" or "despite your being busy" and "despite you being busy".)

    There should be some rules, but the theories have been rather controversial for decades and many researchers are still studying it.
    I cannot give you a clear and absolute solution when and where, but can give you some basic rules that are generally agreed by native speakers.

    1) Interchangeable ga/no are those nominative case markers in attributive modification clauses.
    友達本を書いた My friend wrote a book.
    →友達書いた本 The book my friend wrote.
    →友達書いた本 The book written by my friend.
    Aさんは髪長い A has long hair.
    →髪長いAさん A who has long hair.
    →髪長いAさん A who has her hair long.

    2) It does not switch when the clause is long.
    :tick:Aさん送った手紙 The letter A sent.
    :tick:Aさん送った手紙 The letter sent by A.
    :tick:Aさん 先月東京の実家から送った長い手紙 The long letter A sent last month from her family's home in Tokyo.
    :cross:Aさん 先月東京の実家から送った長い手紙 The long letter sent last month by A from her family's home in Tokyo.

    3) The modified should belong to the actor that the nominative case marks.
    :tick:あげた着物 The kimono I gave you.
    :confused:あげた着物 The kimono given to you by me. (The given kimono does not belong to me any more. ※私の着物ではない)
    :tick:犯人撃った男 The man the perpetrator shot.
    :confused:犯人撃った男 The man shot by the perpetrator. (The man does not belong to the perpetrator.)

    4) It should not change the meaning by switching the particle.
    友達髪を切った美容院 The beauty shop where my friend had her hair cut.
    友達髪を切った美容院 The beauty shop who cut my friend's hair.

    There probably are more, but I'll have to see the error examples to find out.

    が can be replaced with の in order to decrease は/が in sentences.
    Yes, that is one thing, but I'm afraid it can only happen when interchangeable, and the rule does not necessarily say you must not repeat the same particle. For example, I find both 私の背の低いのは and 私が背が低いのは fine and natural enough. It usually relies on each person's speech(or writing) preference and the context.
     

    Asbel

    New Member
    English
    Thank you very much for your replies. Seeing so many example sentences is really helpful. I feel like I have a much better idea about it now.
     

    hailsatyr

    New Member
    Russian and Ukrainian
    Since I don't know how to form my search request for this question, I decided to make it a thread.

    Would it be correct to use の instead of が in the following samples? My textbook says it is sometimes possible, but doesn't give an extensive explanation.

    ない人 -> 車ない人  A person that doesn't have a car
    作った料理 -> 母作った料理 Food that mother cooked
    いい人 -> 頭いい人 A person that is smart
    長い女 -> 足長い女 woman whose legs are long

    I'm used to using が in relative clauses, and if I were to read a text with の instead, I would be very confused. I would translate the third sample sentence as "Head's good person"...
     

    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The both versions are all fine, and can be used equally.
    They can be interchangeable each other without changing their meaning.
     
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