Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 6: 12/13

Possessive use (Noun omission)


Noun + + (previously mentioned noun)

Note: The previously mentioned noun is dropped.


  • Part of Speech


  • Word Type

    Case Marking Particle

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About の

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.

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 word stacking/redundant words ((かさ)言葉(ことば)) 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(くるま)、あなた()ているです
    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.



  • その帽子(ぼうし)(むすめ)(帽子(ぼうし))です

    That hat is my daughter's (hat).

    • あのパソコン(きみ)(パソコン)でしょう

      That computer is your (computer) right?

      • 木綿(もめん)スカーフ(わたし)(スカーフ)です

        The cotton scarf is my (scarf).

        • この(ほん)(だれ)((ほん))?」

          'Whose book is this (book)?'
          'It's the customer's (who came in last week) (book).'

          • この駐車場(ちゅうしゃじょう)あなた会社(かいしゃ)(駐車場(ちゅうしゃじょう))です

            This parking lot is also your company's (parking lot)?

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            の – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (3 in total)

            • gyroninja


              To me it seems like the structure given is not used by the example sentences. The example sentences seem to all use a structure of

              • Noun 1 ・ Pronoun + のOptional Noun 2

              I don’t see any sentences where a pronoun immediately follows a noun.

            • Kai


              The・is often used in Japanese to mean “or.”

              So, the structure is [Noun 1 -or- Pronoun + のOptional Noun 2]. The・would have to be a + instead to indicate that the noun and pronoun are to be used in sequence together

            • gyroninja


              That’s the problem. Bunpro uses a + which is why I am confused.
              I am familiar with the convention of ・ meaning or and I even used it when explaining what I was seeing in the example sentences in my previous post.

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