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I have been studying for the N3 lately, and I'm very confused about these 5 points. It seems that they are all used to nominalize, but I'm confused about when and in what situations you would use these.

I also would like to know the differences and nuances between them. I'm particularly confused about のに as a grammar point being used aside from the N5 grammar of "even though," and I can't seem to find any info on the internet.

Does anyone have any useful links explaining のに as a connector?

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    The part that ends with の works as a noun phrase and the particles that follow it play the same functions they do when they follow a single noun. Do you have any concrete examples?
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 18 at 23:13
  • @aguijonazo のこと is the odd one out here. Mar 18 at 23:57
  • @KarlKnechtel - You know I meant の as a nominalizer. Besides, こと is not considered a particle, at least not in the sense を, に, が and は are. Anyway, the OP needs to add clarity, focus, or both.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 19 at 0:02
  • At this level of apparent confusion, I think it was understandable that OP put のこと in the same class mistakenly, and I felt it was worth writing an answer to clarify that.... Mar 19 at 0:29

1 Answer 1

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のを, のに, のは, のが

In these cases, の is a nominalizer following a verb phrase, and the other part is a perfectly ordinary particle following a noun, which works the same way that it would following any other noun. By using の, we get something that can be followed by the particle, since a verb phrase generally cannot. (The rules for te-form are more complex.)

In particular, のに really is just の followed by に. Analyzing it as a single particle is something done to facilitate translation into English. For example, the sense of "even though" really comes from an idiomatic interpretation of how に attaches to the main verb, that makes sense when the thing you're attaching is a verb clause. (Keep in mind, in English you cannot say something like "even though the cat, ...". A subordinate clause is required, not simply a noun.) The の is a grammatical device that makes this attachment possible. (Grammatically, the whole construction works more like "despite my action", rather than "even though I acted".)

のこと

In this case, の is the ordinary particle の following some other noun, and こと is 事, the ordinary word for "thing". As one might expect, こと can function as a nominalizer in much the same way that の (in the previous sense) does. (See also [物]{もの}, [奴]{やつ} - though this kanji is rarely used - etc.)

You can tell which の it is according to what it follows. A nominalizer needs to follow something that clearly isn't a noun (it'll be easier to understand if you think of it as a synonym of 事, a noun that doesn't actually tell you anything about the object in question, such that the preceding part is the ordinary use of a verb clause, i-adjective etc. attributively). A particle needs to follow something that's sufficiently noun-like (which can in some cases include the te-form or masu-stem of a verb).

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  • Breaking のに in the sense of "even though" into の and に might only add to the confusion, perhaps even more so than breaking ので into の and で.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 19 at 0:43
  • IDK, it makes sense to me. (Similarly でも.) Maybe it's counterproductive for others. Mar 19 at 0:44
  • The question is what idea that に conveys. で in ので is easier to understand as indicating a reason or cause from its other usages.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 19 at 2:13
  • Some of these particles can be also used after verbs. に: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/46930. を following verb (連体形) is archaic and means resultative conjunction or contrastive conjunction.
    – Arfrever
    Mar 19 at 2:31
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    @KarlKnechtel I think the issue is that both senses can exist at the same time and be ambiguous, as in “好きなのに気づかなかった” can mean “I didn't realize that I love him.” or “I didn't realize it even though I love him.” showing that “〜のに” to mean “even though” and simply adding “〜に” to a nominalized sentence are two different things as they indicate the meaning of the sentence here. Furthermore the “even though” sense is only possible with “〜のに” whereas “ことに” can also be used for “I didn't realize that I love him” showing that “〜のに” to mean “even though” is quite idiomatic.
    – Zorf
    Mar 20 at 14:05

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