Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 2: 12/22


Called, Named, Known as, As much as


Noun (A) + いう + Noun (B)


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About という

という is a combination of the case marking particle と, and the う - Verb ()う. It is a set expression that primarily uses only hiragana. という connects two nouns, and means 'the (B) that is called (A)', or 'the (B) known as (A)'.
  • ローラというモデルさん()ていますか?
    Do you know the model called Rola?
  • 本山(もとやま)という(えき)()てください
    Please get off at a station named Motoyama.
  • タナカタロウという少年(しょうねん)()つけたらここにお電話(でんわ)ください。
    If you find a child named Tanaka Tarou, please call us.
Fun Fact
という (and the verb ()う itself) is often quite misunderstood, as the closest translation in English is 'to say'. In Japanese, ()う actually refers to the information about something that cannot be discovered by simply 'looking at' it. For example, if you look at a man, you cannot know that his name is Bob, or that he works in an office, but you can know whether he is 'short', 'tall', etc. Due to this, という should only be used to express information that requires intimate knowledge, and not simple observations.
  • ここにボブという名前(なまえ)(おとこ)(ひと)()ませんでしたか。 (Natural)
    Did a man called Bob come here?
  • ここ(ちい)さいという(おとこ)(ひと)()ませんでしたか。 (Unnatural)
    Did a man known as small come here?
It is possible to see (A) という (B) in sentences where (A) is describing something that seems 'obvious'. However, in these cases, the speaker is usually implying that something about (A) is not exactly as it seems, or that their opinion/knowledge differs.
  • あの(ひと)(つよ)というんだけど、ステロイド使(つか)ているんじゃない
    That person is known as strong, but don't you think he uses steroids? (He looks strong, but isn't)
This particular nuance is not limited to nouns, and may be seen with almost any word type.




    Do you know the game called 'Pokemon?'


    Have you ever gone to a yakiniku restaurant named 'Rin?'


    We are now in the time of year called 'Tsuyu' (rainy season).


    I love the season (known as) 'Autumn.'


    Do you know a man named 'Sato Koichi'?

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という – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

  • mrnoone


    Hey and welcome on the community forums!

    Think of it as a convention, this way it is easier to distinguish it from other uses of という, like for example when it is used at the end of a sentence to express hearsay, where だ can precede it. (彼はアメリカ人だという I heard that he is an American)

    So, when you see ワンダという魚 you know it means a fish called wanda.

    I hope it helps cheers!

  • Johnathan-Weir


    So it’ll accept という and っていう but shouldn’t just って also be accepted?

  • Daru


    って on its own is understood as a は, as they serve the same basic function of topic marker particles. Only difference is that って is much more casual.

    When used as っていう、it’s a direct replacement of と。That’s why って only isn’t accepted. Hope this cleared it up!

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