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I've come across two similar examples of a usage of の I am not familiar with.

彼は運のいい男だ 意志の強い人だ

I kinda understand how it is supposed to work but feel like I could parse it better if I were to hear how they are supposed to be broken up mentally.

Like this (運のいい)男 OR like this 運の(いい男)

In other words... I want to know if it is saying that he is a man of good fortune or saying that is is a man good of fortune.

ALSO: How often does this come up? Is it any different in meaning to 運がいい男だ? Is it more polite or something?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think it carries the technical name "が・の conversion" and both 運がいい男 and 運のいい男 mean the same thing. The conversion occurs when a phrase modifies a noun. The subject of the modifying phrase is then marked by の instead of が. It should be parsed as (運のいい)男. This construction works not only with "i-adjectives", but also with verbs, for example:

勇気のある人
a man of courage / a brave man

肌の綺麗な人
a person with beautiful skin

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So when would 運がいい/肌がきれい/勇気がある be used? And is it still correct to use が when the phrase modifies a noun? –  Ataraxia Sep 2 '13 at 16:03
    
@Ataraxia 運がいい can still be used as in a normal sentence, where 運 is the subject, e.g. あの男は運がいい. 運がいい男 is still correct, but 運のいい男 is the preferred construction. –  Earthliŋ Sep 2 '13 at 18:22
    
Thanks, very helpful! –  Ataraxia Sep 2 '13 at 19:03
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