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Expressing Ownership in Japanese: The の Particle

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

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こんにちは、everyone!Welcome back to Teach Me Japanese.


Today we're going to be talking about a key part of Japanese grammar, the possessive particle.


Let's get started, shall we?

 

TODAY'S VOCABULARY

  • particle

の ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- possessive article; of; ~one

  • noun

本(ほん)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- book

彼(かれ)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- he/him; boyfriend

車(くるま)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ car

お母さん(おかあさん)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ mother

誕生日(たんじょうび)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ birthday

来週(らいしゅう)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- next week

水曜日(すいようび)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wednesday

財布(さいふ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wallet

教科書(きょうかしょ)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- textbook

学期(がっき)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- semester

今学期(こんがっき)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ this semester

アート -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- art

先生(せんせい)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- teacher

州(しゅう)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- state

ボールペン ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ball pen; pen

彼氏(かれし)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- boyfriend

スーパー ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- supermarket

今(いま)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- now

先週(せんしゅう)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ last week

友達(ともだち)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- friend

人(ひと)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- person

同級生(どうきゅうせい)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- classmate

  • i-adjective

高い(たかい)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- tall; high; expensive

にくい ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ difficult to~; hard to~

新しい(あたらしい)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- new

厳しい(きびしい)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- strict

黒い(くろい)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- black

欲しい(ほしい)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ want

優しい(やさしい)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- kind; nice; easy

いい --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- good; nice

  • adverb

とても ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- very

  • question word

誰(だれ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- who

どれ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- which

どんな ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- what kind of

何(なに)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- what

  • u-verb

分かる(わかる)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ to understand

会う(あう)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to meet

  • ru-verb

いる ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to exist; to be present

 

1)の As a Possessive Particle


の has a few uses in Japanese, but it's main usage is in marking the possessive. We do this by connecting two nouns with の:


これは私の本です。

--->これはわたしのほんです。

--------->This is my book./This book is mine.


Here we have connected the noun 私, meaning I or me, with the noun , meaning book. By doing this we get 私の本=My book. The noun preceding is the possessor, and the noun following is the thing in possession. Here's a few more similar examples:


彼の車が高そう。

--->かれのくるまがたかそう。

--------->His car looks expensive.


お母さんの誕生日は来週の水曜日です。

--->おかあさんのたんじょうびはらいしゅうのすいようびです。

--------->My mother's birthday is next Wednesday.

*You might find yourself questioning, "if it's My mother's birthday, then why isn't there another possessive like this : 私のお母さんの誕生日は~?". And while there's nothing wrong with that grammatically speaking, it is a bit redundant. When you say お母さん, it is assumed that you are speaking about your own mother.*


You can also order the sentence like this, especially when asking questions:

~nounはnounの~


この財布はあなたのですか?

--->このさいふはあなたのですか?

---------> Is this your wallet?/Is this wallet yours?


Something important to note is that with questions like this:


この教科書はだれのですか?

--->このきょうかしょはだれのですか?

--------->Whose textbook is this?


Instead of answering like this:


その教科書は私のです。

--->そのきょうかしょはわたしのです。

--------->That textbook is mine.


It is much more natural to simply answer:


私のです。

--->わたしのです。

--------->It's mine.



2) の Meaning "Of"


Sometimes it may be helpful to think of の as meaning "of":


今学期は日本語の教科書がとてもわかりにくいです。

--->こんがっきはにほんごのきょうかしょがとてもわかりにくいです。

--------->The Japanese textbook this semester is very hard to understand.(textbook of Japanese)


あの新しいアートの先生が厳しそうです。

--->あのあたらしいアートのせんせいがきびしそうです。

--------->That new art teacher seems strict.(Teacher of art)


3)の for Location/Places


We can also use の when we talk about Geographical location:


私はアメリカのコロラド州からきました。

--->わたしはアメリカのコロラドしゅうからきました。

--------->I'm from Colorado, America.


It is important to list large>small, the opposite of English:


日本の大阪府の大阪市

--->にほんのおおさかふのおおさかし

---------> Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan


東京のディズニーランド

--->とうきょうのディズニーランド

---------> Tokyo Disneyland


4)の Meaning "~One"


の can also carry the meaning of "one"(not the number) by using the adj.の structure:


Aさん:Bさんのボールペンはどれですか?

Bさん:黒いのです。

--->Aさん:Bさんのボールペンはどれですか?

Bさん:くろいのです。

---------->A-san : B-san, which ball pen is yours?

B-san : The black one.


今スーパーにいるよ。ほしいのは何だったっけ?

--->いまスーパーにいるよ。ほしいのはなんだったけ?

---------->I'm at the supermarket now. What was that one thing you wanted again?(this one doesn't translate quite as cleanly, but the idea is the same)



5)Another usage of の


の can also be used in naming people in conversation:


先週は友達のあいちゃんと会いました。

--->せんしゅうはともだちのあいちゃんとあいました。

-----------> Last week I met with my friend, Ai-chan.


You can also use it to introduce someone you know to someone else:


この人は同級生のヘーリーです。

--->このひとはどうきゅうせいのヘーリーです。

---------->This is my classmate, Hayley.


 

That about wraps it up for today's lesson. Did you learn anything new? Feel free to leave your comments/questions/suggestions in the comments below and check out our resources tab for more fun ways to learn Japanese.


As always, がんばってね!



Lauren





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