Today, in my Japanese class, my sensei presented a conversation which went as the following:

Person A: Bさんのせんこうはなんですか。
Person B: コンピューターかがくです。
Person A: わたしもコンピューターかがくです。

My confusion comes on the placement of . Since the question is about the person's major, shouldn't Person A respond with "わたしのせんこうもコンピューターかがくです。" or even "せんこうもコンピューターかがくです" Otherwise, to my understanding, it assumes as if Person A is stating, "I am also computer science!"

Thus, this brings up my question: is the possessive (せんこう) obviously implied in this conversation?


2 Answers 2


To answer your question, let's forget about も for a while. も is a particle that can replace は, and this question is actually more about the usage of は.

Consider the following conversations:

A: Bさんのせんこうはなんですか。
B: コンピューターかがくです。
A: わたしはロボットこうがくです。 As for me, (it's) robotics. (× I am robotics.)

A: Bさんのめんせつはいつですか。 When is your (job) interview?
B: きょうです。 Today.
A: わたしはあしたです。 As for me, (it's) tomorrow. (× I am tomorrow.)

A: Bさんはどうやっておおさかにいきますか。わたしはバスです。
How do you go to Osaka? As for me, (by) bus. (× I am a bus.)

To understand A's statements, you have to keep in mind that は is a topic/contrast marker, not a subject marker. In Japanese, there is nothing wrong if you say わたしはコンピューターかがくです (when talking about one's major), わたしはライオンです (when talking about your favorite animal), わたしはピザです (when talking about the food you ordered), and so on. See: What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

Now, let's go back to your original example. When A's major is robotics, there are two options to say that (in contrast to B's major) without any omission:

  • (1): わたしせんこうロボットこうがくです。
      (lit. As for my major, it is robotics.)
  • (2): わたしせんこうロボットこうがくです。
      (lit. As for me, the major is robotics.)

You may be surprised to see Sentence (2) has two は's, but that's okay because the first は after わたし is used as a contrast marker. No possessive marker の is used in Sentence (2).

What if A's major is also computer science and you want to use も? Replace は with も:

  • (3): わたしせんこうコンピューターかがくです。
      (As for my major, too, it's computer science.)
  • (4): わたしせんこうコンピューターかがくです。§
      (As for me, too, the major is computer science.)

But せんこうは is redundant in the Sentence (4) and can be dropped:

  • (4-2): わたしコンピュータかがくです。
      (As for me, too, computer science.)

So, in your example, no possessive particle is omitted nor implied, because there was no の in the first place!

§ (わたし)せんこうコンピューターかがくです is grammatically valid but means something totally different: "(Not only my hobby but) also my major is computer science."

  • This great answer adopts topic-contrast syncretic theory but you don't necessarily have to follow it. Learners will eventually bump into a sentence like わたし が コンピュータかがくです and still get confused, but that's that.
    – user4092
    Mar 4, 2017 at 6:00

Yes, that's the literal translation and is an excellent example of very common 省{しょう}略{りゃく} ("omission", in this case, of parts of speech) in Japanese. In Japanese the subject and/or object is often omitted if it is obvious from context.

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