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I was writing a small essay about comfort dogs given to veterans. I had my friend review it for mistakes and they made this correction:

お国の意図はその犬が兵士をなぐさめることだった。

They said that it is more understandable with the こと at the end. Could someone explain why please?

Thank you.

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    What do you want to say (in English), and what was your initial attempt? While this is certainly a grammatical Japanese sentence, no one can tell if the correction was legitimate. – naruto Jan 20 '17 at 2:23
  • Oh sorry, I understand now why it is used. This question can be closed. The final こと is just nominalizing the countries intent. – Tyler H Jan 21 '17 at 7:02
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The final こと nominalizes the

その犬が兵士をなぐさめる

part of the sentence.

お国の意図は「名詞」でした。

but without the こと it is as if you are saying the intent is doing the action.

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I believe こと is used here to create a noun phrase. Turning なぐさめる from a verb into a noun. This only applies with the dictionary form of Japanese verbs. The meaning between this and: 

お国の意図はその犬が兵士をなぐさめます。

are almost identical, but as your friend said, its easier to understand.

Hope this helps! 8)

  • I agree about the noun phrase thing, but also think that adding こと makes the meaning much more clear. Without こと it isn't entirely clear whether the country's goal was specifically to have the dogs console their soldiers or if that was just the outcome of whatever intent they had. – vel Jan 19 '17 at 22:09
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    「お国の意図はその犬が兵士をなぐさめます。」 は、文法的におかしいです。「意図は」の述語がありません。 – Chocolate Jan 20 '17 at 9:44
  • @vel I'm still learning myself, and that makes much more sense! – Charlie Barry Jan 20 '17 at 10:55

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