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The examples I've seen of [中]{ちゅう} as a suffix seem to only use nouns that can form suru-verbs, such as [準備]{じゅんび}中. I assume I can't use it for most ordinary nouns, because people say 〜の[中]{なか} instead.

Is there any kind of general rule for this, or a category for noun suffixes that expect a suru verb-forming noun? More generally, is there a way to figure out how productive a given suffix is?

What about if I use a pronoun along the lines of this sort of アレ? Can it be understood as standing for such a compatible noun?

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    There's also 考え中. I see this 考え more as a verb stem than a noun.
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 28, 2023 at 16:01

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The ~中{ちゅう}suffix means 'in the middle of doing something', basically. 家中{いえちゅう} makes no sense because a house is not an action, and would be interpreted as 家中{いえじゅう} 'all over the house'. ~の中 usually just means 'inside something'.

I don't believe there are too many suffixes of this nature so it should be easy enough to learn them all.

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  • I understood the specific meanings here, but I'm looking more for a general grammatical principle. Sep 28, 2023 at 23:41
  • What counts as a grammatical explanation? Sep 30, 2023 at 3:10
  • Well, for example, I should be able to understand if there are rules for it, or if I just memorize a list of suffixes that work like 中 vs. others that take any noun. I also still have the question about substituting the noun with アレ etc. Sep 30, 2023 at 9:37

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