There is this little article that im using to study japanese and one of its passages says:


I cant grammatically understand this part:


I understand that all of it is a relative clause modifying 人. I dont understand the grammatical role of ヘルパンギーナがうつったこと.

Is it actually the subject ? How would you write it in a non-relative-clause form?

I'd appreciate it if anyone could give me a grammatical analysis of this specific part.

3 Answers 3


Before 人 was taken out to be modified by the rest of it, the original sentence would have looked like:

Herpangina was found to have transmitted (itself) to people.
(lit. The fact that herpangina transmitted (itself) to people was found.)

(I couldn't find a good intransitive verb that would retain the subject-verb-destination relationship between ヘルパンギーナ, うつる and 人 and still convey the meaning more or less accurately.)

This became:

the people herpangina was found to have transmitted (itself) to

The particle に got lost in the process.

  • Thanks! your answer cleared it for me. Taking わかるhere as "to be known" as user 0149234 pointed out and also taking 人 as a に/ヘ holder makes a lot of sense.
    – Nima
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 7:29


The form of this sentence is:

[Rel clause] + 人

In the relative clause: ヘルパンギーナがうつったことがわかった

こと is the subject which is modified by another relative clause.

分かる in this context means "to be known".

So ヘルパンギーナがうつったことがわかった人 means (considering context)


The people for whom it (the fact they contracted herpangina) is known.


The known people who contracted herpangina

Consider that this clause is the topic of the sentence (marked by は) and as such it can be interpreted widely depending on what follows. So it could be the number of people, the place where they got infected, an average, etc. In your case,


The average of known people who contracted herpangina per hospital was 5.79.

  • The literally translation may have surpassed my knowledge of English grammar. If so, leave me a comment.
  • thanks for your help! your translation is on point in my opinion. I would translate it as: there is a average of 5.79 people per hospital in those who have been known to contract herpangina/to be infected by herpangina.
    – Nima
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 7:40

I dont understand the grammatical role of ヘルパンギーナがうつったこと. Is it actually the subject?

It is the subject of わかった, yes.

I infer from context that the うつる verb here is 移る, in the sense of "to be infected/contagious".

Let's understand the entire thing piece by piece:

ヘルパンギーナ -> mouth blisters

ヘルパンギーナがうつった -> mouth blisters infected (someone)

ヘルパンギーナがうつったこと -> the fact of having been infected with mouth blisters (i.e.: こと is a nominalizer here, which is to say a placeholder noun that is described by the relative clause ヘルパンギーナがうつった)

ヘルパンギーナがうつったことがわかった -> being infected with mouth blisters was known

ヘルパンギーナがうつったことがわかった人 -> person who knew about (personally) being infected with mouth blisters

An independent sentence equivalent seems straightforward: 人はヘルパンギーナがうつったことがわかった, "the person knew about being infected with mouth blisters". (Of course, this still contains its own relative clause. Rather than nominalizing that, I suppose we could use quotative-と or soemthing.)

  • 2
    Can't ことがわかった be impersonal as well? So, "people where it became known that they were infected with mouth blisters"? In context, that would make more sense imo.
    – Kaskade
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 20:18
  • @Kaskade yes, it can. That's why I use 人は...ことが in the conversion to an independent sentence, rather than 人が...ことを. I chose a personal interpretation for the translation, because a choice is needed to avoid awkwardness. But your way may make more sense in the overall context; I didn't try to translate the rest. The answer by 0149234 seems to be based on that premise. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 22:06
  • In general it's not a good idea to use は to explain these things because it hides how the component marked by it (人 in this case) is related to the rest of the clause, or more precisely the verb(s) in it. In this case it could be either 人にうつった or 人がわかった.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 22:25

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