Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 10: 6/12


To be good at, Proficient


Verb + + + 上手(じょうず)


  • Part of Speech


  • Word Type

    Adjectival Noun

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  • 品詞


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About のがじょうず

~のが上手(じょうず) is a phrase that behaves in almost exactly the same way as ~のが(), but rather than meaning 'to like' something, it means 'to be good at' something. This particular expression is used with the plain (dictionary) form of verbs only.

In these examples, we can see that there is no difference between Ichidan verbs and Godan verbs. Both will appear in their plain form. In this expression, のが is performing the same function as in the regular のは・のが construction. This function is nominalization (turning a phrase into a noun). However, のは cannot be used with this phrase, as is always required with adjectives.


If you want to express that you were good at something (in the past), the verb will still remain in the plain form, but 上手(じょうず) will change to the past tense.

  • (かあ)さん(わか)(ころ)(おど)のが上手(じょうず)だった
    When my mother was young, she was good at dancing.


This grammar point can sound a little bit arrogant if you are referring to your own skills, so the word 得意(とくい) may also be used if you want to sound a bit more humble.

  • (うた)のが上手(じょうず)です
    I am good at singing. (Like, how am I not famous)
  • (うた)のが得意(とくい)です
    I am good at singing. (I have confidence in my singing)



  • トムサッカーするのが上手(じょうず)です

    Tom is good at playing soccer.

    • 漢字(かんじ)(おぼ)えるのが上手(じょうず)

      (He) is good at remembering Kanji.

      • 田中(たなか)さん文法(ぶんぽう)勉強(べんきょう)するのが上手(じょうず)です

        Tanaka-san is good at studying grammar.

        • (かれ)日本(にほん)()ってから日本語(にほんご)(はな)のが上手(じょうず)になりました

          After going to Japan, he became good at speaking Japanese.

          • (かれ)漢字(かんじ)()のが上手(じょうず)でしょう

            He is good at writing kanji, isn't he?

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            のがじょうず – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (12 in total)

            • Asher


              Basically, all sentences are made up of 主語 (words that can be a sentence topic), and 述語 (words that describe the sentence topic). Because が will always mark the 主語, が cannot (or should not) mark a verb.

              Basically 主語 and 述語 work like this

              何が・誰が = 主語
              どうする・どんなだ = 述語

              Because the の turns する into a 何が, it allows it to become a subject.

              We could/should perhaps think of a clue to go with grammar points like this.

            • Megumin


              Alright, thank you everyone for the input.

              Highly appreciated.

            • mrnoone


              @Megumin @Asher @nekoyama @FredKore
              By the way, が in Verb + がゆえ comes from classical Japanese, the が was used for some time in the past to mark an attribute of the follwing noun, just like の does today. The attributive usage was the original use of が, there was no “subject” particle in the beginning.

              You can see it in some modern set expressions like 我が社 (私の会社) = one’s company, 我が家 (私の家) - one’s house and so on.

              This usage also applied to verbs that were in 連体形 (attributive form, like @nekoyama mentioned in modern Japanese it has become the basic form of the verb, but in the past verbs had separate 終止形 (final form) to which auxilliary verbs were attached), you can see it used with expressions like

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