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What is the difference between using のは and というのは in a sentence to describe a part of the sentence? I'm having a hard time telling when to use either one, because it seems you can use というのは to describe a verb/phrase the same way you would use のは. Thanks!

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  • What type of actual sentence do you have in mind?
    – user4032
    Jan 31, 2018 at 11:58
  • Maybe this could be rephrased to, "Are there any general guidelines for when というのは is preferred/required over のは." That might be easier to answer...maybe.
    – G-Cam
    Jan 31, 2018 at 13:50
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    Ok, so here's one from Tae Kim: 主人公が犯人だったと言うのは一番面白かった。 How would it be any different than just using のは?
    – Sojourn07
    Jan 31, 2018 at 15:11

1 Answer 1

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The main difference is in the level of (personal) interest, excitement, etc. that the speaker wants to express regarding the subject matter.

Using 「というのは」 helps place a particular emphasis on what the speaker is trying to convey regarding the subject matter. It tends to express a higher level of interest, emotional involvement, etc.

「のは」 tends to make the statement sound quite neutral, factual and "objective" if you will. It does not carry the emphasis that 「というのは」 does.

For this reason, using 「というのは」 will often naturally necessitate the use of qualifiers within the sentence. In the sentence given in your comment above, that qualifier is 「一番{いちばん}」, which is like the ultimate qualifier that exists.

Compare:

「スキーをするのは楽{たの}しい。」 ("Skiing is fun.")

「スキーをするというのは、マジめっちゃ楽しい。」 ("That thing called skiing is so much fun!")

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