If, for example, I wanted to say "I like the book that my sister gave me", would it be 姉がくれた本が好きです?

I'm using Genki to study, but they don't seem to have any examples of this particular structure that ends in "が好きです".


Yes, 「姉がくれた本が好きです。」 is correct.

The first が, because it is in a clause that modifies 本, can be also be swapped with の. So 「姉のくれた本が好きです。」 is also correct, and has the same meaning.

This is not the only reason that が can appear multiple times in a sentence.

Predicates like 好きだ are called "double-ga" or "affective" predicates1. This class also includes 分かる, いります, and できる, and all of these take が instead of を for the equivalent of the English direct object. So if you ask,


The answer could be,


This has three が, and only one of them is in a relative clause. This also implies that the other people don't like the book.


1: This is the terminology used in "Japanese: The Spoken Language". Your text may use different terminology.


Yes, these particles mark the subjects for the following verbs, so you can use to create relative clauses. (There are other particles in Japanese, such as the phrase-ending version).

Note that (topic-wa) does not work this way, but most of the other particles that mark a noun do, such as , and .

  • This sounds as if the two がs in the sentence are different. By the "phrase-ending" version, I suppose you mean the nominative particle, not the conjunct. – user458 Jun 11 '12 at 0:24

Yes. You have two nominative noun phrases in your English sentence, one in the main clause and one in the relative clause. Japanese is no different.

  • Hi sawa, I'm going to try to look it up, but could you point out which parts are the nominative noun phrases? – Louis Waweru Jun 11 '12 at 4:02
  • @Louis They are "I" and "my sister". These don't correspond to the Japanese one though, which are "ane" and "ane ga kureta hon" (I cannot input Japanese from my computer now), but the point was that they belong to different clauses. – user458 Jun 11 '12 at 4:20
  • @Louis If you are wondering about the form of the nominative case, you can't explicitly see it in English unless you have pronouns. So for the second one, replace those parts with a pronoun. Would you say "she gave me ..." or "her gave me ..."? – user458 Jun 11 '12 at 5:01
  • thanks, I think I get it. Actually Sineads original topic was about modifying nouns. – Louis Waweru Jun 11 '12 at 5:43

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