I was reviewing some concepts about the use of ということ in relative sentences, and there's something I still can't quite understand.

Looking at the sentence:

パンジーが食べられる花だということは知っている (I know that pansies are edible flowers.)

Is the ということ here necessary? Since the first clause ends in the noun 花, doesn't something like this has similar meaning?


2 Answers 2



This more literally means: "I know the thing that pansies are flowers whom (somebody) can eat.".

こと ("the thing") is direct object of 知っている, and という can be translated as "that".


After dropping of だということ, 花 becomes direct object of 知っている, so this sentence could mean e.g.:

"I know flowers whom pansies can eat."

"Pansies know flowers who are eaten."

"Pansies know flowers who can eat."

  • Thanks for the reply. So if I understood correctly, the benefit of using ということ is that it allows to express the state of being of the noun 花, in this way you make sure that the meaning of the sentence is that "pansies are flowers" and leave no room for other interpretations.
    – Majest
    Aug 17, 2023 at 16:04

Yes, ということ is necessary. Alternatively, you can use other nominalizing or quotative expressions and say パンジーが食べられる花なのは知っている or パンジーが食べられる花だとは知っている, but you definitely need one of these expressions.

Without ということ, 花は知っている would mean "I know (at least) the flower", but this is not what you want to say. What you know is the whole idea described by the sentence ("pansies are edible"), not just some kind of flower, so you need to either use と or nominalize the whole sentence using ということ.

Your suggestion:


This is actually an ambiguous sentence that could have several meanings including "I know the flower pansies can eat", "I know the flower that can eat pansies" and "Pansies know edible flowers", but all of them are nonsense.

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