What's the difference? How do you know when to use one vs. the other?

I'm asking because I said 「話{はな}すことを止{や}める」, but was corrected to 「話{はな}すの...」 and I don't understand why.

(I searched for this question but was surprised to find it doesn't already exist!)


3 Answers 3


It doesn't make big difference concerning most verbs as other posts say, but some verbs can make big difference. For example, 見る and 聞く make these differences.

  • 傷{いた}んでいるのを見た I found it rotten
  • 傷んでいることを見た I considered/expected that it would be rotten

  • その人がピアノを弾くのを聞いた I heard him play piano

  • その人がピアノを弾くことを聞いた I heard that he would play piano

In addition, since の is a pronoun, it's not impossible to interpret の as substitution for こと and that interpretation makes sentences with の ambiguous.


This would depend on the context/situation in which either sentence is uttered, but if you used 「話すことを止める」 in a situation where you are only talking about "stopping talking for now or just momentarily", it could sound a little bit strange. It is not necessarily incorrect; It just sounds kind of too serious if you use 「こと」 there. In short, it could sound like you are saying that you will stop talking for good.

「の」 is slightly more informal than 「こと」 in nuance; therefore, it would fit that situation that much, if not very much, better.


Both is correct and has the samemeaning. However "こと" can be used for vast situation, so I think your adviser advised you the more proper way to express the same meaning. Actually "話すのを止める" is more smoothing Japanese expression I feel.

It depends on the person, but I feel the following. "抗議するのを止める" is more smoohter than "抗議することを止める"

"学校に通うのを止める" is more smoohter than "学校に通うことを止める"

"こと" also can be used for the following, "日本語を勉強することを始める(止める)" = "日本語を勉強し始める"

"実行可能な計画を策定することが重要だ" = "実行可能な計画策定が重要だ"

We can make Japanese sentences without "こと", and at the same time we can make Japanese sentences with "こと."

Japanese sentences without "こと" sounds smooth for me (It depends on the person.)

Nowasays, more and more Japanese natives use "部分" like the following, "安全に対する配慮が不足していた部分もありますので、今後はしっかり対応したいと思います"

Some people are sensitive for the exessive use of "こと" and "部分", but most of Japanese don't care abut it.


  • 「vast situation」の意味がわからない。及び1文目の活躍に間違いがある。
    – virmaior
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:06
  • @virmaior What do you mean by 「活躍」?
    – chocolate
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:45
  • Should have said 活用.
    – virmaior
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 5:12

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