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When saying

文学の好きな人はいますか?

I was corrected to

文学が好きな人はいますか?

Why aren't both possibilities correct? I thought that ga can always be replaced by no in phrases that are used attributively.

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1 Answer 1

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文学の好きな人はいますか?

I think this sentence is okay. BCCWJ has a number of similar examples, 歌の好きな人, マージャンの好きな人, 仕事の好きな人, お茶の好きな人, ...

After all, you can use が, の and even を interchangeably:

  • 文学が好きな人はいますか?
  • 文学の好きな人はいますか?
  • 文学を好きな人はいますか?

I personally prefer が or を here, but I expect people have different preference.


However, you have to pay a special attention when a noun representing a person comes in place of 文学.

太郎の好きな人は誰ですか?

For some reason, this sentence almost always mean "Who is the person Taro likes?", not "Who is the person who likes Taro?"

  • 太郎が好きな人: ambiguous. the person Taro likes / the person who likes Taro
  • 太郎のことが好きな人: the person who likes Taro
  • 太郎のことを好きな人: the person who likes Taro
  • 太郎の好きな人: the person Taro likes (!)
  • 太郎を好きな人: the person who likes Taro

Well, there can be exceptions; 子どもの好きな保育士を探しています is usually taken as "I'm looking for a nurse who likes children". But almost all examples of Aの好きな人 found on BCCWJ, where A refers to a person, mean "the person A likes". Please don't ask me why...

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