The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb. and Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? are noted as possible duplicates; however, I haven't seen an analogous structure. The examples I have seen use a verb on the right-hand side, rather than an adjectivial noun.

Please compare two sentences:




Both are correct, right? Is このかばん emphasized in the sooner sentence and すき emphasized in the latter sentences? Or are these sentences completely the same? Or is there something else going on?

Please, feel free to just explain the difference. Thank you.

3 Answers 3


In this case, 好き is a na-adjective, and the situation is different from potential verbs, which optionally allow accusative case marker . In order to have a noun phrase marked as accusative case, there has to be a transitive verb. In the expression このかばんを好きです, there is no transitive verb that can assign accusative case, and so it is ungrammatical.

× このかばんを好きです

However, if the relevant part is embedded as a subordinate clause of a transitive verb, then you can use . In the example below, 思う has the ability to assign accusative case, and since it does not have its own direct object, and hence has not used up this ability, it can assign accusative case to the object このかばん of the subordinate clause.


  • Sawa, I can see that を indicates an accusative case, but が seems to do the same thing. Can you tell me what case the same sentence using が would indicate? Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 5:51
  • @Wolfpack'08 is usually considered the nominative case (although there are also claims that it is sometimes a focus particle). Japanese is known to be able to have multiple nominative phrases in one clause, so having is not a problem.
    – user458
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 5:58
  • So を is 'I think I like this bag,' and が is 'This bag is what I like, I think.' Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 6:05
  • 1
    Anyway, even if the translation is junk, great answer. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 6:06
  • @Wolfpack'08 You may take it that way. (But 'he likes this bag')
    – user458
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 6:07


を is used here to avoid repetition of が.


Can't comment yet, so I'll add an answer.

(There are different ways to explain this, and every one will have limits, but maybe this will help.)

In English, we have verbs which take object complements instead of objects. Be and seem are prime examples.

In Japanese, we have verbs which do not take what we call objects in English, and they come in a wider array.

In the case of 「好」、 the form with an object is 「[好む]{このむ}」、 but it is generally considered too stuffy for ordinary use. (Explaining why it sounds stuffy can get into arguments about perceptions of culture so I won't.)

「好き」 should be considered to mean something more in the sense of "is liked", not grammatically, but in nuance. (Thus, the suggestion from @Wolfpack'08.)

And, if you wonder about 「好かれる」、 it should generally be considered a polite form rather than a passive form.

Oh, and relative to @user11740 mentioning the workaround in 「…を好きだと思う」、 the 「を」 in that construction attaches to the 「と思う」 rather than to the 「好きだ」.

Last thought (from the similar question today), 「…を好く」 has recently begun to gain acceptance in near-mainstream Japanese (ca 2017).

  • 1
    「…を好く」 has recently begun to gain acceptance -- recently っていつごろからですか? 古語辞典(角川書店)で「好く」を引くと「甘いを好いて...」って例文載ってますけど。あと、1963年出版の国語辞典(岩波)でも「好く」は「五他」ってなってますが。
    – chocolate
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 9:46
  • つまり、現代文にまた通用されるようになってきています。 The social reforms that occurred in both the east and west during the 18th and 19th centuries included a lot of arbitrary rules that didn't actually improve or simplify things. There was a bit of disconnect between what the dictionaries recorded and what was taught in schools. And there were serious gaps in what was taught to foreigners. My wife listens to the radio talk show hosts and I listen to the teachers I work with. 「アラシを好きです。」 has been considered incorrect, but now it's becoming acceptable (again?). ( Consider 「私はアラシを好くような人です。」)
    – Joel Rees
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 0:12

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