I'm playing a video game called 善人シボウデス, and I noticed some grammar I'm not familiar with:


This was said by the main character, who generally speaks in Standard Japanese. But I didn't know you could say 〜た+は like this in Standard Japanese, so I tried looking it up. I mostly looked under た and は, but I couldn't find a dictionary that covered it.

Later, in another part of the game, I noticed the same character saying a very similar sentence:


So I started to wonder if this 〜たは was part of a larger pattern. For example, is this 〜たは always followed by 良い and some kind of contrastive conjunctive particle like が・けど・ものの? I searched online and saw similar examples:


Can anyone explain this pattern?

  • 1
    I'm not quite sure what you're looking for but you do realise that it's just the person not putting the の before は? Although this does seem to be the more common way of saying it if I remember correctly. Also, it's not only たas you will see it with する etc for example, the answer to this question detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1211526297
    – roflcoptaz
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 22:41
  • 1
    Yeah, I'm familiar with the idea that sometimes people "directly nominalize" things, to use Martin's term (treat them as nominal without inserting a nominalizing particle like の). But it seems like most of those instances are in fossilized phrases and expressions, and it doesn't seem like you can generalize it to "you can just treat phrases as nominal whenever you want" without ending up with unnatural or ungrammatical Japanese. So it seems like it's worth discussing individual cases like this one. Thanks for the link :-)
    – user1478
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 0:14
  • 2
    Ah @roflcoptaz are you talking about スリッパを用意するはいいが、準備するはおかしい。in the linked page? No it's a different usage. 「~したはいいが・いいけど」 って決まった言い方があるんで・・
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


The verb-た + + いい/よかった + contradictory conj. makes a set phrase roughly means "have/had successfully V-ed, but now/then (the problem is/was)...". It's one of a few idioms still allowed with direct nominalization (technically, 連体形準体法). You can rephrase it in regular modern grammar as ~たまではいいが or ~たのはいいが with meaning (almost) unchanged. While those modern patterns also accept present form of the verb (~するまではいいが), the idiomatic one never allow *~するはいいが.

verb + combination generally doesn't show much productivity today, far less than verb + . Most surviving examples are old sayings or proverbs based on Edo-or-earlier-period colloquial language (e.g. 聞くは一時の恥、聞かぬは一生の恥; I couldn't find ~たは examples).

(Maybe) related papers: 「滑稽本と人情本における連体形準体法,準体助詞について」, 「準体助詞の全国分布とその成立経緯

  • I assume that this format with の is basically the same thing? For example, "こっそり着いてきたのはいいけれど…"; of course, the translation irregardless of the grammatical nuance in question would still be the same, but...
    – BigRigz
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:28
  • @BigRigz From one side, yes. The thing is ~のはいい is just a normal grammar shared with other constructions e.g. 今日来たのはいい (the one arrived today is good) が、昨日来たのは壊れていた。 ~たはいい has no such possible ambiguity because it is an otherwise obsolete grammar. Commented Jul 17 at 4:48
  • ...Oh, it is just a verb phrase, isn't it? Still, the translation of "it is a good thing that..." is still relevant, I think, even without the dated grammar rule.
    – BigRigz
    Commented Jul 18 at 5:12

It's using the phrase as the subject of the sentence.

Have you also seen は used after the て form of adjectives? It's similar to that.

来ているけど、まだ会ってない Although he is here, I haven't sent him yet.

So, as you might know, は is used to make comparisons. Let's take a look at your sentence: In your sentence:


This in English would be something like

Although it all went well with the radio's cord, I don't know what to do now (after that)...

The comparison being all being good up to attaching the cord, and then it not being good after that.

I hope this helps.

  • 4
    I don't quite see how it's similar because in 来てはいる, the は is optional and the phrase makes sense (i.e. is grammatical) without it (来ている). But つないだいいが isn't grammatical (as far as I know).
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 14:39
  • Regardless of whether it is grammatical or not, the usage of は is the same in both.
    – yorksensei
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 21:49

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