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I'm translating bits of Hyrule Historia to test myself a bit and I'm a little confused by this sentence structure.

お面を使うリンク

I'm inclined to say this translates to something along the lines of:

"Link uses a mask."

But can someone explain to me why the subject is appearing after the verb and without a particle?

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It is not a complete sentence. Is it part of a sentence, or something like a caption of a photo? (By the way, I do not know what “Hyrule Historia” is at all, and I may be completely off because of that.) –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 22 '11 at 23:28
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@TsuyoshiIto I believe it is something related to the video game series The Legend of Zelda. "Link" in the example seems to confirm this. :) –  atlantiza Dec 23 '11 at 0:16
    
@Tsuyoshi Ito Yes, you're correct, it's a caption on a photo. –  MGZero Dec 23 '11 at 4:35
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Just like adjectives, verbs in Japanese can be used to describe nouns. In this situation, the 連体形 of the verb is used, which happen to be the same as 終止形 (the form used to end sentence) in modern Japanese.

In this formation, a sentence is not formed. It only gets a descriptive phrase, which can be used as part of the sentence (as a noun phrase). So the translation given in @AHelps's answer may be more appropriate.

btw, the forms for adjective used to describe nouns are also called 連体形. For i-adjectives it is the same with sentence ending form, for na-adjectives it is not.

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I think your translation is incorrect. I believe this would be something closer to "The mask-using Link" or "Link, using a mask...". The verb precedes the noun because it is describing it. I'm not sure what that's called, but it happens a lot.

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