If possible could someone explain this to me? I have the Genki I book that explains it pretty well but I guess I'm still having difficulty grasping it. I'll leave a example sentence in case my question is unclear.


あそこ で ほん を よんでいる がくせい は みちこさん です

I get that あそこ で ほん を よんでいる is qualifying がくせい but what is that part of the sentence and when would I use it?

I think what may be confusing me is the different sentence structure then what I've been use to seeing thus far in what I've studied although I know Japanese sentence structure does tend to be a little more "loose" than English.

Apologies for the unclear question yet again. It seems I'm terrible at asking questions

  • 1
    あそこで本を読んでいる学生はみちこさんです The student reading the book over there is Michiko. I still don't understand exactly what you are asking...
    – 3x14
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:10
  • 4
    Not quite sure what you're asking. Can you tell us the parts you do understand or which part specifically you don't understand?
    – istrasci
    Apr 30, 2015 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


That's a relative clause. We have them in English, too:

〔あそこで ほんを よんでいる〕がくせいは みちこさんです。

The student [who is reading the book over there] is Michiko.

In Japanese, you don't have words like who in relative clauses, but apart from that, it's pretty similar. In both languages, the relative clause corresponds to a main clause:

がくせいは あそこで ほんを よんでいる。

The student is reading the book over there.

In each case, the subject is pulled out ("relativized") and moved outside the clause.

I wrote a longer explanation comparing relative clauses in English and Japanese in another answer. It's not perfect, but if you'd like to read more, you can see what I wrote there.

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