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I have been reading What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)? In the "contrastive wa" section, there is this example sentence:

わたし知っている人はパーティーに来ませんでした。

As 7600+ people have read that posting, surely that is grammatically correct. But, isn't using が with 私 a little unusual? So, what about the following sentence:

「わたくし知っている人はパーティーに来ませんでした」

Is this also correct grammar?
Does it sounds more natural?

  • Why do you think 私が is unusual? I'm not following that. – virmaior Aug 18 '15 at 0:42
  • @virmaior My thinking is that "私" is always in the "universe of discussion". In fact, my sense is that all pronouns are less likely to be followed by "が". All pronouns require antecedents. So, by the time you say the pronoun, the antecedent must have already been said (thus placing it in the universe of discussion). But, of course "が" carries other meanings. I'm just speculating. I really don't understand "は" vs "が" that good. – david Aug 18 '15 at 1:04
  • Are there two different questions being asked? I can't tell if this is a は vs が question, or a が vs の question... – Blavius Aug 18 '15 at 2:11
  • @Blavius This is only a "が or "の" question. (1) Do native speakers think "私が知っている人は.." sounds strange? Is it grammatically correct? (2) Would changing "が" to "の" be grammatically correct? Why? Do native speakers think that would sound more natural? – david Aug 18 '15 at 2:31
  • In that case, take a look at this question. In fact, this is probably a duplicate of it. – Blavius Aug 18 '15 at 2:56
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My thinking is that "私" is always in the "universe of discussion".

Yes, and that's why you should always say, for example, 「私は本を買った」, but not 「私が本を買った」in simple sentences, unless "exhaustive listing" is clearly intended.

But in relative clauses modifying a noun, we have to use が or の. は is the "topic marker", and a relative clause does not serve as the topic of the sentence (contrastive wa may be found in some complex relative clauses). We can say either 「私が買った本は面白い」 or 「私の買った本は面白い」, but 「私は買った本... 」 is ungrammatical.

(1) Do native speakers think "私が知っている人は.." sounds strange? Is it grammatically correct?

「私が知っている人は...」 is grammatically correct and sounds perfectly natural.

(2) Would changing "が" to "の" be grammatically correct? Why? Do native speakers think that would sound more natural?

Yes, 「私の知っている人は...」 is also grammatically correct and sounds perfectly natural.

How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

The difference between 私が知っている人 and 私の知っている人 is very subtle, but one may say that the latter sounds a bit more euphemistic and milder, and thus goes well with keigo.

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