Could someone explain the construction v-ta no? I saw it in the article title

東京などで雪 11月に降ったのは54年前

  • I could understand the meaning of the sentence. I wasn't sure why <no> was used there (I wrongly thought it formed a construsction with the verb before it) . Having checked what nominalizers could do it seems it refers to the whole first part of the title <東京などで雪>. Is that correct?
    – user18849
    Nov 27 '16 at 19:05

This の is a nominalizer, but more specifically, this can be understood as a marker that introduces cleft-sentences, which are used to focus some part of the sentence.

  • (雪が) 54年前に 11月に 降った。
    Snow fell in November 54 years ago.
  • (雪が) 11月に 降った は 54年前だ。
    It's 54 years ago that snow fell in November. (54年前 is focused)

だ/です at the end is omitted because it's a news title which is expected to be short.

To be clear, this type of の does not have to follow the ta-form of a verb.

  • この映画を初めて見ます。
    I see this movie for the first time.
  • この映画を見るは初めてです。
    It's the first time that I see this movie. (初めて is focused)

This の functions as a nominalizer of the sentence

Snow fell around Tokyo in November

The rest of the title talks about this sentence:

Snow falling in and around Tokyo in November [was last] 54 years ago

or, more idiomatically,

The last time it snowed in November in and around Tokyo was 54 years ago.


There's not really a special construct going on here, just a sentence modifying a noun, and that noun being replaced by の due to reference locality.

In 「11月に降った[の]{雪}は54前」,「の」is used to refer back to 「雪」from 「東京などで雪」, modified by 「11月に降った」.

As a whole, the headline reads roughly: "Snow in Tokyo and surroundings – First time in 54 years"

  • 1
    (I didn't downvote you, but) I don't think the way you interpret the grammar is correct. I would say it's something like (最後に)東京などで雪(が)11月に降ったのは54年前(だった).
    – Earthliŋ
    Nov 27 '16 at 15:38
  • @Earthliŋ Yep, I'd say you're probably right. Fixing. Nov 27 '16 at 15:46
  • @Earthliŋ Although, if it's the first time in 54 years, it's also technically more than fell in any November in the same period. ;) Nov 27 '16 at 15:48

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