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I was reading a manga where the character brings back some food as a souvenir from a recent trip. She is eating it with her family, but in the margin she makes a small comment: 「お店で食べた奴のがおいしかった」

I am confused by this statement because normally の is used to nominalize a verb phrase. Since 奴 is already a noun, it doesn't need to be nominalized.

This leads me to think that some noun is being dropped from her sentence, which could make sense since she is talking casually with her family.

My best guess would be that the noun is 方, because then the complete sentence would be「お店で食べた奴のがおいしかった」, or "the one I ate in the store was more delicious."

Is this the correct interpretation? Or am I way off? And finally, is it common for Japanese people to drop nouns like this when speaking casually?

  • AFAIK, 奴の can be a noun just as "hers" can be a noun in English. – lightweaver Jun 8 '18 at 12:21
  • That's very true! I didn't think of that. Although I assume 奴 would have to refer to a person for the sentence to work. 「奴のがおいしかった」would simply mean "hers was tasty", i.e. her food was tasty. But in my example sentence, 奴 refers to the food that was previously eaten at the store. If we tried to translate this the same way, we would have "food's was tasty", i.e. food's food was tasty, so it doesn't make sense. – skywalker Jun 9 '18 at 5:51
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「お店{みせ}で食{た}べた奴{やつ}のがおいしかった。」

「のが」 in this context is indeed the present-day contraction of 「の方{ほう}が」 that has been used quite commonly by the younger generation for the last couple of decades.

Thus, the sentence means:

"The one(s)/stuff we ate at the shop was more delicious (than what we are eating now)."

There is no nominalization occuring here; There is only the "lazy" dropping of the word 「方」.

And finally, is it common for Japanese people to drop nouns like this when speaking casually?

No, not really. We cannot generalize things like that upon our observation of the dropping of one particular word.

  • Thank you for the detailed response! I was not aware のが was commonly used like this! – skywalker Jun 9 '18 at 5:44

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