Question Related to the Restaurant Skill

During a learning session on my phone, I came across these two sentences:


One is translated as "The rice is hot" while the other is "it is hot rice." My question is how are these two sentences different? What is the nuance if it has any? Is the word order difference emphasizing a particular word more?

This has been driving me a little bonkers ever since I've come across it.

Thank you for all replies in advance!

October 23, 2018


"The rice is hot." You're saying something about "the rice". (is hot)

  • ご飯 "rice"= the topic
  • は = the topic marker
  • 熱いです "is hot" = the comment (the thing you're wanting to say to the listener about the topic)

The adjective 熱い in this sentence is in its "predicative" or "terminal" form. Predicative 熱い = "is hot". In Classical Japanese this predicative form is 熱し.

"It is hot rice." You're saying what "it" is. (is hot rice)

  • (nothing) "it" = the subject
  • です "is" = the copula
  • 熱いご飯 "hot rice" = the subject complement

熱いご飯です "is hot rice" = This is simply the predicate. The subject "it" has to be spoken in English, but it's not necessary to state a subject in Japanese if it's obvious what you're referring to.

  • 熱い "hot" = an adjective
  • ご飯 "rice" = a noun

The adjective 熱い in this sentence is in its "adnominal" or "attributive" form, meaning it modifies whatever noun comes after it. Adnominal 熱い + noun ご飯 = "hot rice". In Classical Japanese this adnominal form is 熱き.

"The meal is hot rice."

  • 食事 "meal" = the topic
  • は = the topic marker
  • 熱いご飯です "is hot rice" = the comment

You can think of it like this:

食事は "As for the meal," (topic)
熱いご飯です。 "it is hot rice." (comment)

October 23, 2018

Ooooh, okay. I think I get it now, thank you Moogle! Thank you for the interesting tidbits of Classical Japanese as well, I didn't know that!

October 23, 2018

Update: I'm doing a lot better with those sentences now thanks to your explanation! :)

Thanks again!

October 25, 2018
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