Good afternoon all,

After a discussion, I was wondering is "今の" in "今のは誰?" considered a synthetic noun?

My analysis of the sentence "今のは誰?" is:

  1. noun 今: just now

  2. genitive particle の (converts the noun 今 into an adjective to describe 人)

  3. noun 人: person (optional due to ellipsis)

  4. topic-marker は (optional due to ellipsis)

  5. (pro)noun だれ: who

Flaw's analysis of the same sentence "今のは誰?" is:

  1. noun 今の: just now that one

  2. topic-marker は (optional due to ellipsis)

  3. (pro)noun だれ: who

Flaw's argument is that "今の" is a synthetic noun (it can be used anywhere where a noun can be used). Assuming that that holds true, it must mean that we can say "今のの[noun]" because "[noun]の[noun]" is surely grammatical.

So basically, I was wondering Is 今のの[noun] considered grammatical?

For example, is "今のの状態" (phrase found here) considered grammatical?

  • 1
    My gut instinct (which I warn you is worth relatively little) says that 今のの状態 is grammatical. I'm pretty sure I heard that kind of usage, though of course just because it's used doesn't necessarily mean it's grammatically correct. That's my two cents until someone comes along who knows what they're talking about :)
    – ジョン
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


Note that 赤いの (the/a red one(s)) also functions in place of nouns. 赤いのの... seems strange, but it parses, and it does express "the ... of the red one".

どちらの車のドアが開けっ放しですか? (Which car's door has been left open?)

あの赤いののです。 (The one of the red one there.)

”今のの” yields 5300,0000 (go sen, sanbyaku man) hits on Google.

So のの is not a ... no-no. :)

  • Thanks for the help =D Yes if it is an adjective then it passes the parsing, However I was wondering if it still grammatical if it's a noun (e.g. 今). Google ignores the commas even though I included the quotes, it turns up "今の、の" for a match of ”今のの”..
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 22:52

This a is a simple case of omission.

For example you could say 私の本 and shorten that to 私の when 本 is obvious.

Like wise you could say 私の本の10ページ and shorten that to 私のの10ページ.

The problem with cases like this is that it is often very hard for nonnative speakers to identify what is considered obvious and what isn't.

  • Cool, so does it mean that if it is obvious from context, even a sentence like "私のののは赤い。" is grammatical? (responding to the question "だれの母さんの兎の人参は赤い?")
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 6:19
  • 2
    The grammatical correctness of it relies on the listeners ability to assumed the obvious. Personally I would say 2 のs are the limit, but I would not consider myself a native speaker either. This question is best suited for a native.
    – Ian
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 6:23
  • I'm not native either but I agree with Ian. Although ののの might strictly speaking be possible in some contrived situation, it is simply not used.
    – ジョン
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 8:14
  • Well there is also the general rule of using no more than 2 or a maximum of 3 のs in a noun before you just start omitting them. Because of that general rule of thumb it is extremely rare to even have something with 3 のs in it?
    – Ian
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 1:19
  • @Pacerier "だれの母さんの兎の人参は赤い?" is ungrammatical. You probably mean "だれの母さんの兎の人参が赤い?"
    – dainichi
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 2:36

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