I have always had problems with sentences ending in ”を”

For example: それで後任を?

(a) Who is the subject? (b) What is the object? It is confusing because it ended with a "を"

  • 「良いお年を」is also confusing at a first glance. The complete sentence is 「良いお年をお迎え下さい」. – Kim Jong Un Dec 6 '16 at 16:42

(a) Who is the subject?

It must be decided from the context. It's perhaps "you", but it can be "he", "they", or whatever, depending on the context.

(b) What is the object?

The object is 後任, of course. を is the object marker. The corresponding verb is implied and omitted.

Generally speaking, a sentence that ends with を tends to have an implied verb that relates to desire, wish or wanting. Without any context, an (incomplete) sentence like "自由を!" makes perfect sense, and it means "Give Us Freedom!".

See: Does the particle "を" (wo) have a special use when at the end of a sentence?

All in all, if I have to guess the meaning of this incomplete sentence without any further context, it would be "So that's why you want a successor?" Depending on the context, however, it can mean "So that's why the president fired his successor?" or "Is that the weapon that she's gonna kill the successor with?" or anything.


Unless you show us the full context, it is almost impossible to guess what it means as the sentence has only three pieces of information.

  1. それで means because of that or therefore. We can assume the other party mentioned something about his/her successor [後任]{こうにん}.

  2. 後任 means a successor. It is the object of a next action which is elided.

  3. を is a particle that indicates the word before it is probably an object of the next transitive verb.

Without any context, we can never know what (which verb after を) is implied.

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