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Recently, I was replying to a comment on YouTube. I wrote this:

でも、「 ラットが死んだ」と「レッド・パージ!!!」が知名そうです

(But, Rats Died (a particular song) and Red Purge!!! (another song title) seem to be well-known.)

What I really wanted to say was that only those two songs were well-known. Is it okay to just do this:

でも、「 ラットが死んだ」と「レッド・パージ!!!」だけが知名そうです

or is that not correct? And what other ways can you say "only /a list of objects/" instead of only just one thing?

Thank you!

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  • seems ok to me, but using しか would feel more natural I think. Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 0:26

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As far as grammar is concerned, it is perfectly grammatical to say:

「A B だけが~~~です。」

You might, however, want to remember that native speakers do not use 「だけ」 nearly as often as Japanese-learners do to say these things. The sentence pattern that is commonly used by native speakers would instead be:

「A と B しか / だけしか / 以外{いがい}は + negative expression」

The first expression using 「だけ」 could sound "translated", meaning that it could sound unnatural at times if not always.

(Funny thing is that a sentence using 「しか」, which must be followed by a negative expression, would often sound more positive as a sentence than a sentence using 「だけ」 followed by an adjective, verb, etc. with a very positive meaning.)

The mistake in your sentence that actually stands out even more is the phrase 「知名{ちめい}そうです」, which makes little to no sense. Again, it was "translated", was it not? The phrases I might suggest would be 「有名{ゆうめい}なようです」、「よく知{し}られているようです」, etc. If you used 「しか」, those phrases would need to be turned into their negative forms.

The sentence I would recommend would be:

「でも、『ラットが死んだ』と『レッド・パージ!!!』しかあまり知られていないようです(ね)。」

The sentence that is 100% grammatical but would not necessarily be recommendable would be:

「でも、『ラットが死んだ』と『レッド・パージ!!!』だけが有名なようです(ね)。」

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  • Sorry this is late! Anyways, thank you for your help. Is そう only used with things that "look like they are about to?" I thought そう could just mean "seeming," but is that not correct?
    – Smoothie
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 21:50

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