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What is the difference between the two:

  • 高{たか}い値段{ねだん}レストラン
  • 値段{ねだん}が高{たか}いレストラン

In other words, what is the difference between:

  • adjective-noun
  • noun-が-adjective

Another example would be this:

  • ボブは魚{さかな}が好き{すき}だ
  • ボブは好き{すき}魚{さかな}だ

I was reading http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/adjectives which uses the first form in these examples, but it also says you can modify a noun just by placing an i-adjective before it, and Google Translate gives me the same translations for both forms.

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    What's the difference... One phrase is plainly wrong, the other is correct.
    – macraf
    Feb 22, 2016 at 2:15
  • I chuckled when I read your second example: the latter half isn't grammatical, but it almost says "Bob is a liked fish (i.e. a fish that I like)." :) Feb 22, 2016 at 2:29
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    Lol, well I'm just starting out with grammar, so my made-up examples probably don't make sense, I'm just wondering why this is so.
    – Asik
    Feb 22, 2016 at 2:38
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    「値段が高い」 in 「値段が高いレストラン」 is a relative clause, no? Literally... "restaurant whose price is high"
    – Chocolate
    Feb 22, 2016 at 9:14
  • I'm not entirely sure of the scope of your question, so let us know if Yuuichi's and my answers don't fully address what you're asking. Mar 23, 2016 at 17:16

2 Answers 2

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To expand upon Yuuichi's answer, the difference is one of nuance and emphasis, and of the grammatical requirements of the construction, much as in English.

  • 赤{あか}い車{くるま}​で行{い}きます。
    We will go in a red car.
  • 行{い}く車{くるま}​は赤{あか}いです。
    The car that we will go in is red.

Japanese is a bit more flexible than English when it comes to what terms are allowed to directly modify other terms. We can say 行{い}く車{くるま} in Japanese (literally "goes car", or depending on context, "will be going car"), but in English, relative clauses modifying nouns like this require grammatical words to tie things together: "the car that goes".

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Adjective-Noun is a noun phrase like 高い値段、好きな魚.

Noun-が-Adjective is a sentence or modifies noun like 魚が好きだ, 値段が高いレストラン.

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