Meaning of のが

What does のが means in the below context? It's used TWICE here. Please listen to the podcast in the link provided below, she spoke the following sentences starting at around 07:14


Link to podcast:

March 31, 2019


It is a piece of grammar that is used to nominalize a subordinate clause. The nominalizing particle の followed by the subject marker が.

Basically, you use it when you want to make a verb or verb phrase into the subject of a sentence. Nouns can be subjects. Verbs cannot. So if you want to say something with a verb as the subject, first you have to nominalize the verb - change into a noun or noun-like structure (noun phrase). The particle の can be used as a nominalizer.

日本語はむずかしいです。 Japanese is difficult.
日本語を話すのはむずかしいです。To speak Japanese is difficult.

Japanese (日本語) is a noun. (I) speak Japanese (日本語を話す) is a verb phrase. By adding の after the verb, the entire phrase is "nominalized" and it can now be inserted into the sentence as if it was a noun, grammatically-speaking. In this case, the topic marker は is used, but you could do the same thing using the subject marking particle が

私は人を助けるのが好きだ。I like to help people.

By itself, 人を助ける would be a stand alone sentence that means "(I) help people". By adding の this sentence becomes a nominalized phrase "to help people". When you added it to the sentence pattern "私は....が好きだ。"I like ...." you get "I like to help people". You would do the same thing if you wanted to express liking to DO other things, since this would usually involve a verb phrase.

私はテニスをするのが好きです。 I like to play tennis

If you just want to say "I like tennis" you don't need the の particle, but if you are using a verb, like する, it must be followed by の to be grammatically correct in this sentence pattern. This is because 好き is an adjective. Adjectives are words that describe the characteristics of a noun. In this case, it describes something as "like-able" or "well-liked". In order to describe an action or activity as "liked" it first needs to become a "thing" (noun) instead of an "action" (verb).

You also must use nouns when forming copular sentence ending inです or だ. Copular sentences use the the basic sentence pattern AはBです "A is B". Both A and B must be nouns or noun phrases. So if you want to describe an action using an "A is B" sentence pattern, you will need to nominalize the verb phrase.

Shopping is fun. (買い物 is a noun, so it does not need to be nominalized)
(lit. As for shopping, (it) is fun.)

It is fun to go shopping. (行く is a verb, so you need to add の)
(lit. As for going shopping, (it) is fun.)

Baseball is exciting.

It is exciting to play baseball.

He watches TV every morning.
(lit. "As for him, watching tv in the morning is a daily routine")

The phrase [テレビを見る] is nominalized to form the noun phrase "to watch TV in the morning" or "watching TV in the morning" There are other nominalizing particles in Japanese, but の is one of the really big ones. Check what kind of words are next to の - if it comes after a noun, it is probably acting as possessive particle (私の犬は死んだ), but if it comes after a verb, it is probably acting as a nominalizer (泣くのは当然です)

March 31, 2019

Is that last parenthetical just an example or a comment about Japanese grammar? :P

March 31, 2019

Why not both?


March 31, 2019

Thanks a lot! But I don't see why のが is placed after すごく分かるっていう, what's the point of putting this のが, if it nomalizes the verb here then it should be followed by something that describes the nomalized verb, but it is followed by 随分のんびりしてるなという風に私は感じちゃったんですけどぉ instead, which talks about her own feeling I guess. How different in meaning the sentence would be if we remove のが from すごく分かるっていうのが?

April 1, 2019

This sentence is pretty advanced, but from what I can work out, that example of のが is probably not the same grammatical structure as the previous のが. Both の and が have various functions and it is possible to have multiple instances occur in the same sentence, if it is long enough.

I think in this case, が is being used as a break between two clauses. Notice how the particle が is followed by a comma 、This usually marks the end of a subordinate clause. When used in this way, が tends indicate that the two clauses are opposed in meaning. It is often translated as "but". Another particle that works in the same way is けど. So the speaker is probably contrasting what is said in the first half of the sentence with what follows in the second half of the sentence.

I went to department store but there was nothing I wanted.

I'm hungry, but I don't want to eat that.

I want to buy it, but I don't have the money.

However, it can also be used to connect low-contrast sentences, in which case, が might be translated as "and" instead.

I went to the department store and there was a lot of good stuff.

April 1, 2019

Got it! Thanks a lot!

April 2, 2019
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