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What is the difference between Something(Or Verb Dictionary form) + が できます and Something(Or Verb Dictionary form) + ことが できます?????

For Example:

母は すこし 日本語が できます。
vs
母は すこし 日本語 ことが できます。

Or

かんじを よむことが できますか。
vs
かんじを よむが できますか。

2 Answers 2

2
  • Verb Dictionary form + が できます
  • Something(=Noun) + ことが できます

are ungrammatical.

So

  • 母は すこし 日本語 (Noun) ことが できます。
  • かんじを よむ (Verb) が できますか。

are ungrammatical.

The following are the (only) correct forms

  • 母は すこし 日本語が できます。 
  • かんじを よむことが できますか。
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  • 2
    I would suggest you list what IS grammatical, not what isn't... I had to double check what is now really correct, because the logic was reverted
    – king_nak
    Mar 27 at 14:42
  • "Verb Dictionary form + が できます" is actually grammatical, but has different meaning. As you certainly know, besides post-nominal case particle が (subject marker), there is also clause-final particle が, which is translated to English as "but".
    – Arfrever
    Mar 28 at 19:56
  • @Arfrever If you mean the が meaning but, it is 接続助詞 and not 格助詞 which is relevant here. I'd not think "...が、できます" meaning ".., but it's possible" is an instance of "ができます".
    – sundowner
    Mar 29 at 13:25
  • @sundowner Yes, I meant 接続助詞. できる also has meanings "to be finished, to be ready" and "to be made", and subject can omitted...
    – Arfrever
    Mar 29 at 13:57
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In your first example sentence, 「母は すこし 日本語が できます。」日本語 is a noun and the subject of the sentence, so it is marked by が. In your second example sentence, 「母は すこし 日本語 ことが できます。」because 日本語 is a noun, it cannot attach directly to こと, meaning "thing," which is also a noun. To make one noun modify another, one needs to insert the particle の between them. But there is no need for こと in this example; it would be redundant following the clear meaning of 日本語. The noun こと can be used following a verb, to turn the verb into a noun-like construction. So you could say, for example, 母は すこし 日本語を読む[よむ] ことが できます。

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