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Why is の used here after the object in this sentence? Can it be omitted and still have the same meaning “Why didn't you buy the right size?”

どうしてちょうどいい大きさのを買わなかったの?

Obviously, it's not a verb nominalized. By meaning, it substitutes something like Tシャツ but it not a substitution for a noun like Aいの (e.g., 大きいのです).

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Other than the usage as a verb/adjective nominalizer, the particle の that follows a noun (or noun phrase) acts like a noun, just as if もの is omitted right after the particle. So here ちょうどいい大きさの can be interpreted as ちょうどいい大きさのもの “the one of the right size”

どうしてちょうどいい大きさを買わなかったの?

The variation where の is also omitted is sometimes heard in daily conversation, but it allows strange interpretation “buy size itself” as well and thus sometimes confusing.

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    Rather than 'mono' being omitted, it is perhaps better to view it as 'no' having being omitted, then we can treat other phrases similarly. For example, in this exchange それは健さんの本ですか — いいえ、私のです, 私の is a reduction of 私のの; the sequence のの is obligatorily reduced to の. In the example, ちょうどいい大きさのの ➞ ちょうどいい大きさの.
    – N. Hunt
    Nov 9, 2023 at 20:33

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