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This is probably an easy question, but I can't find a clear satisfying answer to it after looking it up so I figured I'd ask here.

自分がどんな人であるか知ってもらいたい

1) Why can を act on a particle? I understand のか, なんか as they are compound words which can be treated as nouns, i.e direct objects by を (or so I believe), but why here?

Is it simply omitting the の because it's obvious (のかを)→(かを), and if not what's the difference between のか and か in that sentence?

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「自分{じぶん}がどんな人{ひと}であるか知{し}ってもらいたい。」 ("I want you/them/people, etc. to know what kind of person I am.")

This is a completely grammatical and natural-sounding sentence, including the use of 「を」.

Why can を act on a particle? I understand のか, なんか as they are compound words which can be treated as nouns, i.e direct objects by を (or so I believe), but why here?

The 「を」 does not act only on the particle 「か」 here. It is acting on the whole preceding phrase 「自分がどんな人であるか」, which is a noun phrase. 「noun phrase + を + 知る」 is perfectly correct. It does not have to be a simple single-word noun that immediately precededs the 「を」.

「どんな人である」 means virtually the same thing as 「どんな人であるのか」 and both are noun phrases.

Is it simply omitting the の because it's obvious (のかを)→(かを), and if not what's the difference between のか and か in that sentence?

I would not say it is omitting the 「の」 because it is already "complete" without it. This 「の」, if used, helps emphasize the statement. It would be, in a way, analogous to the difference between "what kind of person I am" and "what kind of person I really am".

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  • Can I ask why/how it becomes noun phrase with か? I understand when it ends with の, こと, もの, etc and nouns, but not here.
    – Amerain
    Mar 8, 2018 at 1:14
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    @Amerain "what it is" "who she is" "where it is located" can all be noun phrases in English, too, right? Likewise, 「それが何(である)か」「彼女が誰か」「それがどこにあるか」 can be noun phrases in Japanese.
    – chocolate
    Mar 8, 2018 at 2:06
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    @Amerain This is called an embedded question, which is a sort of a noun clause. This を is optional.
    – naruto
    Mar 8, 2018 at 2:33

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