Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 2: 14/22


~ Known as ~ is, ~ Called ~ is, ~ Means ~, Because


Phrase + という(1) + (Definition) Phrase(2)

(1) って
(2) (Reason) Phrase


  • Register


  • 使用域


About というのは

というのは is a phrase that combines the case marking particle と, the う - Verb ()う, and the nominalizing particle combination のは. Together, they are usually translated as 'the ~ known as ~ is ~', or 'the ~ called ~ is ~'. Sometimes, it can even simply be '~ means ~'. In essence, というのは is just a way to turn an entire phrase into a noun, before explaining that noun further. This explanation of (A) will either be to give a definition of it, or to give a reason for it.

To use というのは, attach it to the end of a phrase that you would like to indicate as being something that will be explained further '(A)', and then follow it with your definition/reason, '(B)'.


Unlike というのは, which is mainly used to strongly present facts, or highlight points of discussion, replacement of は with the adverbial particle も can be used either as a rebuttal or as an extension of the original statement. This is when someone wants to show that (B) has equal weight when compared to (A). It may also be used to give the reason or cause for (A).

  • 今週末(こんしゅうまつ)(あそ)べなくなっちゃった。というのも義理(ぎり)両親(りょうしん)()ることになったからだ。
    It looks like I won’t be able to hangout this weekend. The reason for this is because it has been decided for my in-laws to come.
  • 今年(ことし)大会(たいかい)優勝(ゆうしょう)することができた。というのも、コーチが頑張(がんば)ってくれたからだ。
    We were able to win the competition again this year. The reason for this is because the coach worked so hard (for us).


というのは is sometimes used at the beginning of a new sentence, when the speaker wants to add extra information about what has already been said. In these situations, the translation is similar to 'what I mean to say is ~', or 'because of that, ~'.

  • 差別(さべつ)になること()ってはいけません。というのは私達(わたしたち)はみんな(おな)人間(にんげん)だからです
    You shouldn't say anything that could be taken as discriminatory. What I mean to say is, we're all human.
  • あなた()った(こと)否定(ひてい)するつもり()っていませんというのは(わたし)それ間違(まちが)ている(おも)から()ったのです
    I don't mean to disprove what you just said. What I mean is that, I said what I said because I personally thought that it was wrong.


というのは is regularly abbreviated as とは, or って. This can be a little bit hard to identify in casual speech, but the '(B) explains (A)' concept will still almost always apply, so should be identified that way.

  • おかずとはなんですか。
    What are side dishes?
  • あの(ひと)70(さい)とは(しん)じられない
    I can't believe that person is 70. (70 years old, as I know it)
  • (ゆめ)って簡単(かんたん)(あきら)められないね。
    Dreams are so hard to give up. (Dreams as we know them)
  • 法律(ほうりつ)ってほんとうに必要(ひつよう)なのか。
    Are laws actually necessary? (Laws as we know them)




    Jihanki (vending machine) means jidouhanbaiki (vending machine).
    (the thing called... is)


    Foreign language means a language other than Japanese.
    (the thing called... is)


    (The thing called) Snow is a natural phenomenon.


    (The thing known as) Life is such a fleeting thing, isn't it?


    So what you really mean by your request is that you want to borrow money?
    (the thing called... is)

  • Get more example sentences!

    Premium users get access to 12 example sentences on all Grammar Points.

Self-Study Sentences

Study your own way!

Add sentences and study them alongside Bunpro sentences.

というのは – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • nekoyama


    いう is a verb, so という modifies nouns like in …という言い方は… in the second sentence, where the meaning ends up being an “let’s meet again if we get the chance” kind of 言い方.

    というのは is the same thing but except a normal noun, there’s の as a stand-in. The examples you posted have the exact same structure: descriptionというthingはcomment on that thing. In one case thing is 言い方 and in the other it’s の.

    という modifies a following noun, but that alone isn’t enough to differentiate because the comment after というのは could also start with a noun. There also are some other grammar points that look similar like ということ. But the questions that want というのは tend to say “the thing known as” etc. When it says that even the “thing” part is missing, you know you still need to write something that represents “thing”, which is what the の does.

  • ljoekelsoey


    Following on from @nekoyama’s explanation, here’s how the use of both will affect a sentence.

    (The thing called) Rice is the staple food of Japan
    In this sentence, the subject is The thing called Rice.

    Rice, the staple food of Japan, (is very tasty.)
    In this sentence, the subject is Rice, the staple food of Japan.

  • dom1911


    I am interested in differentiating the casual use of this grammar point って from the casual use of は (also being って), how do I tell them apart?

Got questions about というのは? Join us to discuss, ask, and learn together!

Join the Discussion