So I was wondering why in Japanese it's correct to say 寝る時間? Because I thought it was necessary to use the no particle in order to change the noun and add a verb. Anyway what grammar is used in phrases like 寝る時間, 食べる時間 and the likes?

  • Particle の only joins nouns to other nouns. A verb phrase can directly modify a noun. It's a piece of grammar that is used absolutely everywhere. To learn more try researching 'relative clause' e.g. guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/clause – user3856370 Dec 16 '16 at 22:15

Verbs can directly modify nouns. This is similar to the [NOUN] that [VERBS] construction in English, only with reversed order, and no need for the "that".


  • 歩{ある}く人{ひと} -- literally, "walks person" → "person that walks"
  • 読{よ}む本{ほん} -- literally, "reads book" → "book that [someone] reads"

When modifying a noun with another noun, you do need the の{no} particle.

  • 犬{いぬ}のおもちゃ -- "dog [POSSESSIVE] toy" → "dog's toy"
  • 携帯{けいたい}のカバー -- "mobile phone [POSSESSIVE] cover" → "mobile phone's cover"

Note that, when translating into English, sometimes the 's isn't needed: "dog toy, mobile phone cover" are also possibly correct, depending on context.


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