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  5. "I do not want green pants."

"I do not want green pants."


June 14, 2017



I thought you were supposed to use "ga" instead of "ha" here. Is either one correct?


The simple answer is that は is a topic marker and が is a subject marker. Usually, in these cases, the topic is implied to be "I"/"me", and the thing being wanted or liked is marked as the subject. However, it's possible to simply use a topic marker for the thing being wanted/liked instead.


Yes, my problem is that they DON'T accept が but が is perfectly grammatical. Especially when the original sentence says the subject is "I" and the object is "green pants."


There's only a slight difference of nuance. With "ha" you're emphasizing that green pants, in particular, you do not want (but you might accept something else). "Ga" feels more neutral here, to me. It's hard to explain.


I saw it explained the exact opposite way for 好き on another lesson, that は was more general and が more specific.


So should it be accepted?


You are correct because in this sentence there is a tacit subject (わたし) and the complete sentence would be 私は緑色のズボンが欲しくないです (watashi wa midori-iro no zubon ga hoshikunai desu). It should be ga.


It is nothing wrong also for 私は緑色のズボン欲しくないです. The first は is for the topic and the second is for contrast (or negative marker in simplicity). It is just a matter of whether the speaker wants to emphasize or not.

References -


Is the の necessary?


Yes, because both いろ and ズボン are nouns.


For green pants, i just used "みどりズボン" and it was counted as correct


midori cannot directly modify nouns so it should have required that you put na between midori and zubon. 緑な ズボン


I think it should be a の between the two, not a な


I believe this is correct. According to jisho.org, 緑 is a noun/no-adjective whereas 緑色 is a noun/no-adjective/na-adjective. So 緑のズボン, 緑色のズボン, and 緑色なズボン should be okay but 緑なズボン would not.


I thought it should be na as well.


In my impression 緑 is always followed by a の instead of な

みどりの窓口 the ticket office of Japan Railway (JR)

みどりの日 the "Green Day" - public holiday in Japan


Do you mean "In my experience"?


it's na because midori is an adjective not a noun.


緑 (みどり) is a noun, not an adjective.

It's exactly the same as how 灰 (はい) and 茶 (ちゃ) for their respective colours (grey and brown) are nouns, not adjectives.

  • 緑色 (みどりいろ) green
    = the colour(色) of verdure(緑)

  • 灰色 (はいいろ) grey
    = the colour(色) of ash(灰)

  • 茶色 (ちゃいろ) light brown
    = the colour(色) of tea(茶)

  • 水色 (みずいろ) light blue / aqua blue
    = the colour(色) of water(水)

  • 桃色 (ももいろ) pink / peach
    = the colour(色) of peaches(桃)

I know this is an old comment and you likely already know this. Just mentioning it for people who might get confused when reading this discussion.


Testmoogle, yes, this is an old comment. In high school I was always taught that みどり and other colours like it were な adjectives and when I lived in Japan I wasn't corrected even once for using them in that way - not that that is something uncommon for 日本人 ie. politely neglecting to point out your language errors. I guess in the big scale of things it didn't seem worth mentioning? I do wish that they had though or that someone had corrected one of the early/first learners attempting to speak/learn the language and then perhaps teachers wouldn't have perpetuated the teaching of these errors in schools. Thanks for pointing this out : )


Pants and trousers confusion again. Especially when パンつ is right there add an option and is more correct in my English. Trousers are a recognised terms across all English dialects why not use that?


We've been through this - you may have noticed a discussion about this in several of the comments above - pantsu - pants/trousers NOT underpants. zubon - also pants/trousers. shitagi - underwear - literally clothes worn under(neath) 下着


Pantsu is what is worn beneath. Zubon is what is worn above. "Shitagi" is rarely used now.


Asked a friend - she said pantsu - underwear, zubon pants as in trousers - but she used the past tense (indicating that's no longer current?) and then she said that now they both have the same meaning but zubon is more like slacks.

And jameschatt - all English speaking countries do not necessarily use the same words for the same things - in fact they may use the same word to mean something ENTIRELY different and that is why you cannot use trousers for everyone because not everyone does - look up Jay Foreman on youtube - he is a hilarious British comedian who writes clever and hysterical songs about anything and everything - in fact he happens to have a song about trousers in which he sings about what a fantastical word it is and laments that the US does not use trousers - the actual lyric is "In America they never say trousers - they say pants, and I believe they're missing out!"

Another example of English words with vastly different meanings: NZ English - jandals American English - flip flops Australian English - thongs. In NZ English a thong is a ridiculously uncomfortable type of underpants.

Tadashi C - I was quoting lyrics from musician and comedian Jay Foreman's song, "Trousers".


Is the use of いろ optional or not?


optional. I just tried and it was correct.


I didn't understand why hoshii was wrong in this context, but (I googled it and) apparently, hoshii is an adjective which is inflected (I guess that goes for all (-i adjectives) and the negative form is hoshiku.


ほしく is the adverb form. It's not negative by itself.


To extend on V2Blast's comment, the negative form of the adjective is hoshikunai.


Both replies are somewhat incorrect - hoshii is the self-contained form, which you use for adjectives, hoshiku is the continuative form, which is used to connect it to following words. This can be an adverb if a verb follows, or a negation if negation follows (nai). Japanese doesn't really care about distinguishing adverb/adjective, the change in form reflects its relation to other words in the sentence than its technical usage. The same thing happens with tte form verbs that will be encountered later.


The continuative form 連用形is also called adverbial form because it avts exactly like an adverb in the case of adjectives.

The true negative form for ほしい is ほしからず which is not really used any more in modern Japanese. Instead the negative form is made up of ほしく(adverbial form of adjective) + ない(adjective). So in this negative case, declaring ほしく as an adjective is not wrong.


2020.5 7 I think you meant to type ほしがらず

欲しがる is the verb form for 欲しい。


I'm 100% certain Keith meant to write it exactly how he did. ^^

欲しがらず wouldn't make sense in relation to his post.
欲しからず fits with what he was saying.

If you're curious why I'd say this, you might be interested in checking out the following excellent discussion threads Keith posted a while back. I've only glanced through them in the past, but I imagine he must have included the negative versions of adjectives there:



Hi @testmoogle,

I went through the whole post and didn't see anything related to ほしからず, which the 予測変換「よ・そく・へん・かん」 on my Japanese input didn't pickup the kanji for.

The thread was more about classical Japanese which I think is more of an N1 topic. Anyways, if we need classical Japanese to explain the grammar in these Duo's lessons, then it's way over the head of a beginning learner.

Maybe the true negative form is ほしかる、ほしからず and isn't used in modern Japanese anymore. I'm not even sure what he means by true negative form for 欲しい


@Alan946894, yes, this is a topic with classical Japanese. 欲し as a シク adjective - irrealis form ほしから + negative auxiliary verb ず. It does not come up with my 予測変換 also. We don't really need classical grammar to explain. For beginners, understanding adjectives have a different conjugation family as compared with verbs, is all we need to know.


@keithwong Where does your interest in classical Japanese come from? Even a lot of Japanese aren't fans, just like a lot of native speakers could care less about the English used in Shakespeare

There's already enough to learn in 現代文, let alone 古典


Hi Alan, I forgot why I studied into classical Japanese at the beginning. However when we look at the questions asked by Japanese learners, there are quite some chances that the answer is related to classic Japanese. e.g. this simple question: Why is は read as わ when it is a particle.

I have pretty much finished learning the modern Japanese as I am fluent enough. I find that classical Japanese helps a lot in deepening knowledge in the modern Japanese. I am always excited whenever I find a link between modern and classical, maybe that is what makes me continue looking for more in the classical space and continue learning Japanese.


Why is "が" not accepted here (in place of は)?


The texts are confusing ... Pants or underpants .... Pants or Trousers ? Zubon or Pantsu ?


The course uses American English, where both pants and trousers are ズボン. underpants/underwear (pants in British English) is パンツ.


Do I really need to use the particle の? because i didn't use that before and it worked


You need の if the descriptive word contains "いろ" (color) at the end, because it changes the word from an adjective to a noun. ("green thing" versus "something of the color green")


It gave me the option of ズボン and パンツ , so I used パンツ but got it wrong. Surely both should be accepted?


In watching recent Japanese TV shows I have seen instances where パンツ specifically meant underwear. I have never seen it used to refer to trousers or pants. (and yes @AnaLydiate I am an American and I use the word trousers, but then I also use latrine and other words which are common military terms).


... and ham. I do not want them サミアム


What is the difference between はしい and はしくas far as the verb "wear" goes?


The change relates to making the want negative into do not want.


I think you're getting a bit mixed up. ほしい an adjective meaning want, はく can either be a verb that is used for clothes worn from the waste down or to throw up - different kanji.


Shouldn't を be accepted here just as much, if not even more, than は?


With 欲しい (an adjective)?


Why for the love of god is this 緑色のズボンは欲しくありません wrong? Its not!


Why 緑色のズボン欲しくないです isn't accepted?


Because ほしい is not a verb and you cannot use を which marks direct objects.


Yes, it should be ga. Hoshii and ga go together - another set construction.


As you may have already know by now, は is used for stressing the negative clause that follows. は supersedes が here.


Hmm... Is that so?


ga plus hoshii is a set grammatical construction BUT sometimes rules can be changed depending on what sounds better or is easier to say. For example are wa hoshikunai sounds better than are ga hoshikunai and denwa ga hoshikunai sounds better than denwa wa hoshikunai.

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