When talking about hobbies, interests, etc. it's pretty usual, I think, to nominalize string of words chained by particles. For example drawing pictures is 「絵を描く」or playing soccer is 「サッカーをする」. If one of my hobbies is drawing pictures, I can say, for example (please correct the sentence if it's wrong):


However, I noticed that for such patterns, particles can usually be replaced with 「の」like:


I can't think of more complex examples that I'm very sure of but, for example when speaking about drawing using pencils, we say 「えんぴつで絵を描く」. However, when speaking about drawing with pencils, if I understand correctly, we can also use the pattern 「えんぴつの絵の描く事は〜」.

What are the grammar rules behind these? To be honest, I'm not sure if this question even has basis (because I'm not so sure about my examples), so please enlighten me on this.

  • 2
    I don't think the ga-no (and wo-no) conversion usually happens with the nominalising ~の or ~こと -- only with 'real' nouns. (That is, I mean to say that your examples sound odd.) But I'm sure someone will prove me wrong there.
    – oals
    Jul 25, 2016 at 17:24
  • Also, the canonical question about の in relative clauses is here: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/12825
    – oals
    Jul 25, 2016 at 17:30
  • 1
    @oals It's usually said that there is no conversion from を to の in Standard Japanese: meijigakuin.ac.jp/~hiraiwa/PDF/Hiraiwa_NGC_JK10.pdf But it has also been claimed that there is some limited conversion from を to の in Kansai Japanese: igg41.unistrapg.it/abstract/Inoue.pdf
    – user1478
    Jul 25, 2016 at 21:38
  • 2
    As mentioned by @oals (only with 'real' nouns), maybe you're thinking about something like 絵描く→絵画製作, ピアノ弾く→ピアノ演奏, 本買う→本購入 etc, no?
    – chocolate
    Jul 26, 2016 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


In subordinate clauses like these, ONLY が can be replaced by の (and only when the verb follows immediately after, to prevent confusion with the other Noun+の+Noun meaning). を, で, and other particles cannot be replaced by の in subordinate clauses. For example:

○ 私作った料理 → 私作った料理
○ 木村買った本 → 木村買った本

The phrase「絵の描くのは」is valid if the picture is the one drawing, not being drawn (which does not make sense).「えんぴつの絵の描く事は」looks crazy does not make sense. It looks like "the action of the pencil's picture's drawing".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .