A girl asks her mother why she can't keep a catalogue and is told:

I'm going to buy the year end presents tomorrow afternoon, so I'll use that (catalogue) as a reference.

How should I parse the part in bold? Why is it not それ参考にするの

I'm familiar with the idea of replacing が with の in relative clauses to move the emphasis away from the thing marked by が. But, the only way I can make a relative clause is if the の at the end of the sentence is something other than the explanatory の, which seems unlikely. What am I failing to understand?

  • 参考 is a noun. Is that any help?
    – Angelos
    Mar 13, 2016 at 11:26
  • @Nothingatall I thought about that. But if that is the case then why is it それの参考 and not その参考? Mar 13, 2016 at 11:29
  • それが参考にする sounds wrong to me; shouldn't it be それ 参考にする?
    – oals
    Mar 13, 2016 at 14:38
  • @oals I suppose 参考にする does seem like a transitive verb. In which case I'm even more confused, since I've never seen を replaced by の. Mar 13, 2016 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


I think Aは(が)Bを参考にする is translated as A consult(refer to) B like 私はこの本を参考にした( I referred to this book).

I think AはCをBの参考にする is translated as "A refer to C for B" like 私は、この絵を、私の絵の参考にする( I refer to this picture for my picture).

  • Thanks. I understand your two examples but I'm struggling to fit my example into the structure you have given. Mar 13, 2016 at 15:47
  • 1
    Do you think your example can change to "私もお歳暮を買いに行くから、そのカタログを、それの参考にするの"? If it can be, it means "I refer to the catalogue for the year end presents.". Mar 13, 2016 at 16:13
  • Now I understand. それ refers to the presents, not the catalogue. That makes sense. Thanks again. Mar 13, 2016 at 16:16
  • Yes, If it is それを参考にするの, それ is the catalogue. Mar 13, 2016 at 16:45

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