I would like to know how to translate something like this:


where there is a noun followed by a verb in masu from without any other details.

Is it something like "Burglar, I('ll) catch him" or "The catch of the burglar"?

  • without context I would say it is the former.
    – yadokari
    Jun 13, 2012 at 0:05
  • 4
    It's just a case of particle elision. Put back the を and it should be fine.
    – Flaw
    Jun 13, 2012 at 1:25
  • 1
    Is that "the" burglar? If it were ドロボー、つかまえて or ドロボー、つかまえるぞ, it would be "the" burger. However, ドロボー、つかまえます sounds like "We catch burglars/thieves" to me.
    – Gradius
    Jun 20, 2012 at 6:16

1 Answer 1


I recognize this pattern from the titles of 黒{くろ}執{しつ}事{じ} (Black Butler) episodes. The pattern is that case is [noun], [adjective], and it's directly translated into English that way.


His Butler, Able

From that I'd say that you would say something like: "The/that burglar, I'll catch him"

That being said, this format is a little poetic in English, so I would only use it in something like a title, where you can use some creative licenses...If this where a person speaking I would say something more like "I will catch that burglar!"

  • If this isn't right, can someone correct me, instead of just donwvoting. Much more helpful that way. Jun 22, 2012 at 12:56
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    Unfortunately, the permissibility of [NはADです]->[N、AD] as given doesn't necessarily imply the permissibility of [NをVます]->[N, Vます]. If you were getting downvoted, it might be bcuz ppl don't like your description of "The/that burglar, I'll catch him" being poetic. You should rather say stylized or deviant. Old English did not have the modern SVO word order of today, both SOV and VSO were both acceptable in Old English. Instead case particles had the role of word order. That's why mixing word order can sometimes seem novel or exotic (read poetic) when in fact it's just old syntax (read literary).
    – taylor
    Jul 16, 2012 at 12:05
  • @taylor: Thanks for your input :) I feel like the reason some people found this answer lacking was because it's a little more anecdotal than definitive. I can't say for sure the linguistics behind this construction, but I thought I'd give my understanding of it. Jul 16, 2012 at 20:55

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