I was reading this article and there are a couple of spots that I don't understand when it comes the grammar.


Roughly: The specialist said 'It is the first time I have seen a beetle that has a male and female body'

Why/What is the purpose of the bolded の? Why does it comes after 見た? の particles that look like this come up a few times in the article actually


1 Answer 1


The の particle we're talking about here is a nominalizer, basically it turns verbs into nouns, so that you can work with them in the way you work with nouns, like turning them into topics, subjects, direct objects, and so on.

I'll try to illustrate some quick examples here:

鳥を見た。 - Tori wo mita. (I saw a bird)

彼が走っているを見た。 - Kare ga hashitteiru no wo mita. (I saw him running)

You can't use the direct object particle 「を」 with a verb 「走っている」, so you use 「の」 in order to get that result.

That applies to all different particles, like は for instance:

数学は難しい。 - Suugaku wa muzukashii. (Math is hard.)

野菜を食べるは難しい。 - Yasai wo taberu no wa muzukashii. (It is hard to eat vegetables.)

Once more, 「の」 is nominalizing the verb 「食べる」 so that you can use the particle 「は」 with it.

  • 1
    How did I miss this. I even know about this concept. The は being so far into the sentence must have thrown me off. Thanks! Jun 20, 2018 at 21:49
  • Don’t worry bout it, sometimes despite we know a certain grammar point it gets lost in middle of big sentences :) Jun 21, 2018 at 2:22

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