Can it be 不倫の原因で家庭が崩壊したり? What's the main clause and what is a subordinate clause?

2 Answers 2


I break it down like this:


  • Clause: 実際問題として

    This is just setting the scene.

  • Topic phrase: 不倫が原因で家庭が崩壊したり、離婚に至る例も

    • The head of the noun phrase is 例. (Technically も is the head of the topic phrase, but we will ignore that to simplify matters.)

    • Complement clause: 不倫が原因で家庭が崩壊したり、離婚に至る

      • Clause: 不倫が原因で

      • Clause: 家庭が崩壊したり

      • Main verb phrase: 離婚に至る

  • Main predicate: 少なくないです

I think this is a nice example of a quintessentially Japanese pattern of sentence construction: the bulk of the sentence is a large topic phrase containing a complex relative clause modifying a noun, and the actual comment is just a simple verb.

  • 1. 実際問題として is not a clause. It is a postposition phrase. 2. Calling as a topic marker is at least not standard. is rather close to a focus marker. 3. 不倫が原因で家庭が崩壊したり、離婚に至る is not a relative clause as there is no gap that can fill in. 4. 少なくないです is the main predicate + conjugation, but is not a verb.
    – user458
    Aug 5, 2011 at 7:41
  • @sawa: I did say it was my analysis. (I'm not a trained linguist.) 1. I think it is a clause, because it is a conjunctive form of the sentence 「実際問題とする」. I would also call it a clause even if it were 「……とすると」 instead. But I don't disagree that it is a postposition phrase. (The question then is, what is the head of this PP, として, or null?) 2. I agree. I'm not sure how to describe も succinctly, but it seems to me to function syntactically enough like は. 3. Hmmm. Yes, that does seem to be a problem. I tend to automatically call clauses using a 連体形 to modify a noun a relative clause. [...]
    – Zhen Lin
    Aug 5, 2011 at 7:48
  • What do you suggest this should be called instead? 4. Calling it a verb is indeed a simplification. On the other hand I don't want to call it a verb phrase (even though it is). What should it be called?
    – Zhen Lin
    Aug 5, 2011 at 7:49
  • 1. The head is として. 3. Just call it a clause. More precisely, this is a complement clause. 4. Call it a predicate.
    – user458
    Aug 5, 2011 at 13:37

The subject is


The main clause is your whole citation.

The subordinate clause is:


which is an object/complement of .


is further a subordinate clause of this clause.

  • What is the grammatical structure of 不倫が原因で家庭が崩壊したり? Can it be 不倫の原因で家庭が崩壊したり?
    – Steven
    Aug 5, 2011 at 7:30
  • 不倫が原因で is a clause modifying 家庭が崩壊したり、離婚に至る. In this case, is attached to a clause 不倫が原因 instead of a noun.
    – user458
    Aug 5, 2011 at 7:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .