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この本は読むのに簡単だ。This book is easy to read.
この本は読むのが簡単だ。This book is easy to read.

I was wondering if anyone could explain to me how these two readings differ in nuance?

When there is a sentence like the one below I can see how it would be different if が was used.

彼女は夕食を料理するのに忙しい。 She is busy cooking dinner.

It seems like it is saying "She is busy in the act of cooking dinner"

So would it be that のに focuses on being IN the act whereas のが just connects the following attribute to the preceding verb?

BONUS QUESTION: can you say 料理するのには忙しい ??

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料理するのには忙しい -- She is so busy that she can't do cooking. –  jovanni Nov 10 '13 at 10:03
@jovanni That is not even something we native speakers would say in a natural setting. How could you translate it? –  非回答者 Nov 10 '13 at 23:55
「暇なら料理手伝ってよ。」「あいにく、料理するのには忙しいなぁ」 (料理する:動詞)(の:名詞化)(に:目的)(は:トピックマーカー)(私は:省略された主語)(忙しい:私はの述部) –  jovanni Nov 11 '13 at 1:40
Hm... I'm wondering about the grammaticality of "この本は読むのに簡単だ". Sounds slightly odd to me, kinda like a word-by-word translation of "easy to read". –  dainichi Nov 11 '13 at 7:01
@dainichi: この本は読むのに簡単だ sounds awkward to me, too. Probably the same holds for ~は~するのに簡単だ/難しい in general. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 12 '13 at 1:15

3 Answers 3

I would translate the first sentence slightly different.

この本は読むのに簡単だ。To read this book is easy.
この本は読むのが簡単だ。This book is easy to read.

Although both sentences share the same subject("この本"), the first one directs your focus to the action "read" and explains how it is while the second one describes the book itself.

So, put it differently, you can shorten the second one like この本は簡単だ。 while keeping its meaning exactly the same.

And aside from grammatical perspective, we hardly use the first one. It just doesn't sound smooth. You would hear この本は、読むことが簡単だ。 or the second one more often.

料理するのには忙しい ?? You can say this, but the construct is different (you put the extra 「は」). You probably want to post another question for that.

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As I understand it "no ni" highlights the noun, and "no ga" is highlighting the action. So


means that the book is simple to read. The book is written in a nice way.

In the case of "no ga" you are highlighting the action. So


actually means "the act of reading this book is simple". The book has a large font perhaps, or the pages are not stuck together.


声を出して読むのがうまい - good at reading aloud

ベッドで読むのによさそうな物 - a thing that is good bedtime reading

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The subject of ~だ in この本は読むのに~だ is "この本" and the subject of ~だ in この本は読むのが~だ is implicit "I".



= (この本は)(読むのに~だ)

This book is ~ to read.



= (この本は読むのが)(~だ)

It is ~ to read this book.

(Hmm.. I can't find any differences between these English translations, though.)

The reason why この本は読むのに簡単だ sounds odd is the fact 本 cannot be 簡単, only reading book can be 簡単.

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(1) The subject of 簡単だ in この本は読むのが簡単だ is not the implicit “I.” この本は読むのが簡単だ does not imply 私は簡単だ (whatever the latter means). (2) I fail to understand what “(この本は読むのが)(~だ)” means. I think that the usual explanation for AはBがCだ (such as この本は読むのが簡単だ and 象は鼻が長い) is that the “Aは” part sets the topic of “BがCだ.” (3) I do not know what you mean by “本 cannot be 簡単.” A book can be easy or difficult, and この本は簡単だ is a usual sentence in Japanese. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 13 '13 at 0:43
@TsuyosiIto (1)The word "subject" was not apropriate, the actor who feels 簡単だ is I. (2) 「象は鼻が長い」 は文法的解釈の曖昧さの例としては結構有名な例だから、いろいろな説明が見つかると思います。In this case B is "読むこと" , "読むこと" is not an attribute of "本", ( in contrust to "鼻" is an attribute of "象" ). (3) この本は簡単だ is a usual sentence , but この本は簡単だ is an abreviation of この本は(読むのが)簡単だ。 –  jovanni Nov 13 '13 at 9:29
(1) If the word was inappropriate, you can edit the answer. However, if your “subject of ~だ” means the actor who feels ~だ, what do you mean by “The subject of ~だ in この本は読むのに~だ is この本”? I am afraid that your usage of the term is inconsistent. (2) I do not see the relevance of your comment. (3) I do not see any reason why we should view この本は簡単だ as an abbreviation of anything. It is a full-fledged sentence. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 13 '13 at 11:44
Being completely honest, I have no idea what you're trying to say in this answer. –  rintaun Nov 13 '13 at 11:55
(1)日本語では、topic markerの は、も、動作主の は も「主語」と呼ぶので、それに引きずられて subject という単語を使ってしまっただけですよ。(2)文の構成要素の関係が違うのだから、比較すること自体がナンセンスです。(3)「この本は軽くて簡単だ」と「この本は軽くて‌​白い」といったときに"軽くて"の意味が違うのは、(読むのが)が省略されているせいですよ。 –  jovanni Nov 13 '13 at 11:59

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