This is kind of a follow-up question to this one: Problem with のが in this sentence

To give a quick overview, in this sentence そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見たが地図Aである  had a function I must admit I still can't really explain^^ To me it kind of works like a nominalizer, but if you follow the answers in the thread you will find that it is (also) something else.

However, I thought that this might be worth a new thread: Could one replace の with こと here? Both can be used as nominalizers, and maybe I can better differentiate between の as a mere nominalizer and の in the function of the respective construction above, if someone explains to me why こと can/can't be used here instead of の ^^

2 Answers 2


の is called a nominalizer when it turns a verb into a noun that means "(the act of) ~ing".

  • 食べるのが好きです。
    I like eating.
  • 明日寿司を食べるのを楽しみにしています。
    I am looking forward to eating sushi tomorrow.
  • 晩ご飯を食べるのと風呂に入るの、どっちがいい?
    Which do you like, eating dinner or taking a bath?

This type of の is sometimes interchangeable with こと. For details see this question: What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

However in cleft sentences の does not do that.

  • 明日寿司を食べるのは太郎です。
    It's Taro who will eat sushi tomorrow.
  • 明日太郎が食べるのは寿司です。
    It's sushi that Taro will eat tomorrow.
  • 太郎が寿司を食べるのは明日です。
    It's tomorrow that Taro will eat sushi.
  • 明日太郎が寿司を食べるのは銀座です。
    It's in Ginza (town) that Taro will eat sushi tomorrow.
  • 明日太郎が寿司を食べるのは誕生日だからです。
    It's because it's his birthday that he will eat sushi tomorrow.

In the first sentence の is a placeholder for a person (Taro); in the second sentence, a thing (sushi); in the third sentence, a certain time point (tomorrow); and in the last sentence, a reason!

If you treated this の as a nominalizer, the first sentence would be translated as something like "[×] Eating sushi tomorrow is Taro," which does not make sense.

Finally, this type of の is not interchangeable with こと. You have to always use の to form a cleft sentence.

  • そもそもこの場合「地図」は「こと」ではないような気がするのですが… Apr 14, 2017 at 17:07
  • ごめんなさい、もう少し説明していただけると…
    – naruto
    Apr 15, 2017 at 0:23
  • あ、すみませんでした。分裂文の焦点側を「こと」で締められないことの説明としては素晴らしいのですが、質問本文を見ると、質問者が「地図」という語を「こと」で受ける前提に立っています。この場合どっちみち「こと」は適用できない気がします。 Apr 15, 2017 at 0:51

They are all natural as Japanese sentences and sound almost the same;

  • そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見たが地図Aである。
  • そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見たものが地図Aである。
  • そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見た地図が地図Aである。


  • そこで、マッカーサーが自分で作って見たことが地図Aである。 This is not natural as a Japanese sentence.

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