I have been searching high and low for how to express appositives in Japanese, yet the most I have come across is how to express something like "my friend John". I would like to know how to express more complex appositives in Japanese, something like:

1.) Dogs, one of my favorite animals, are going to be featured in tonight's show.
2.) John, the person you were talking to yesterday, will be at the party tonight.
3.) Brian McKnight, a very popular R&B singer, has just written a book about the music industry.

More specifically, I was writing a post and trying to express the following idea:

I had learned that Japanese people consume the greatest amounts of iodine, up to 13 mg per day!

I have expressed the first part of the sentence below, but have no clue how I would express the appositive "up to 13mg per day" without outright creating a new sentence.


I appreciate any help you can provide.

  • People do call certain grammatical relationships 同格{どうかく} 'apposition' in Japanese, although I'm not sure it's what you want here.
    – user1478
    Oct 16, 2014 at 0:18
  • @snailboat Thank you for the link. It looks very interesting. It does look like a type of apposition, but not the kind that I am looking for. I will definitely have to study that paper more, though. Oct 16, 2014 at 0:47
  • I feel で or だが is often used like English appositives. For example: Brian McKnightは人気のR&Bシンガーで、音楽産業に関する本を書いた。 You may even say something like Brian McKnightが人気のR&Bシンガーで、音楽産業について書いた本
    – Yang Muye
    Oct 16, 2014 at 2:00
  • @YangMuye Your sentences seem like they could work to express the ideas I had in mind. Thank you. Oct 18, 2014 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


I don't think categorically ruling that "complexity" is always bad would be wise. A lot of rather sophisticated constructions are perfectly natural to a native speaker, and thus may be preferable over simplified options.

Now, in the case of your sentence:

I had learned that Japanese people [...]

... I'd say that depending somewhat on the context, connecting the first statement with the second using けれども or some of its variants (けど, けれど) would result in a natural and not overly complex sentence, and there are many other simple options as well (が, possibly ~て-form and more, aside those presented by @krnk).

Depending on your feeling towards your finding (thinking of the exclamation mark), you may want to follow that up with something like なんと to express a sense of "surprise".

  • Thank you for your response. In the cases I listed, I'm not really seeing how けれども could fit, because I wanted to express a continuation of the topic at hand rather than showing contrasting ideas. The ~て-form seems like it could potentially work. The exclamation mark in the sentence about iodine was definitely to convey surprise. The RDA suggests getting 150µg of iodine per day, while the Japanese consume 13mg, over 85 times more. I will have to learn more about how to use なんと. Oct 17, 2014 at 17:52
  • けれども does not necessarily mean that the two clauses represent "contrasting ideas". For example, けれども is also used to connect to a main point as in 突然ですけれども、帰らせていただきます, or to simply connect two statements (like a comma), e.g. 富士山は景色がきれいだって聞いたけど、本当にそうだよ. けれども shares the property of sometimes not carrying any particular meaning with the particle が. Ending a sentence it conveys a sentiment of "wishful thinking". Oct 17, 2014 at 21:14
  • Would it be too much trouble to ask for English translations of the two sentences you provided so that I can better understand this connecting usage of けれども? Or better yet, should I just create a new question about this topic? I tried looking up information on this other usage of けれども, but only came across information on how it would be translated as "but", "however", "although", or "even though". When I read the two sentences, I understand them as: (1) Although it is sudden, please let me return home, and (2) I heard that Mt. Fuji is beautiful, but it really is so! Oct 18, 2014 at 3:22
  • I think you can start a new question. けれども and が are often used to introduce some background information. When you hear けれども or が, you know that what you just heard is unimportant and the next sentence is what the speaker actually intends to say. I think although, however and but usually put emphasis on the second clause, which has a similar function as が/けれども. Because が/けれども deemphasizes the first clause and sounds less abrupt, people often use it to smoothly change the conversation topic, or make comments.
    – Yang Muye
    Oct 18, 2014 at 6:26
  • @MarnellSample Sure, no problem (English is not my native language though). But I think your translations are fine. Instead, I went back in time to get some quotes from my old Particles Plus (Atsuko Kawashima, Harcourt, Tokyo 1992). It lists many English approximations, and for "like a comma" the examples are: 犬がほえているけれども、だれか外にいるんじゃない? = The dog's barking, isn't there someone out there? この地方は寒いと聞いたけれども、本当に毎日冷え込むね。 = I had heard that it was cold in this region, and it's truly quite chilly every day. Oct 18, 2014 at 9:38

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