I know Google Translate is not always your best friend when it comes to Japanese, but when trying to compare what I'm understanding of my lessons and what I find in guide samples I'm a bit confused about the mandatory usage of the の particle.

1. 今年春休み
2. 今年の春休み
3. 今年春の休み
4. 今年の春の休み

They all look to mean the same thing: "Spring break this year".

Now for my comprehension of the の particle usage I thought number 4 would be more correct, while the guide uses number 2. And now I wonder: is the の particle optional? It there a general rule I can understand for when it has to be used and when not? Thanks in advance for replies.

1 Answer 1


the possessive の particle is not optional, although in "lazy" speech some people might drop it in some cases when really they shouldn't.

Unfortunately for the sake of your question, (at least using the example of "Spring break (of) this year" / "This year's Spring break") the reason number 2 is correct while the other choices are wrong or slightly weird is simply because those two words, 今年 and 春休み are very standard Japanese terms.

There is no reason to place a の particle between 春 and 休み because "the break of Spring" is less intuitive than 春休み "Spring break".

Similarly, 今年春 is not a standard way of referring to "Spring this year", it's wrong because you're identifying 春 as belonging to 今年 and you need the の particle to denote that.

If there is a rule that helps you identify these situations other than simply "knowing common vocabulary", unfortunately with my level of Japanese I'm not aware of it.

  • Thanks, I apreciate any help even if it just partially fills in my lack of knowledge. :)
    – Frhay
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 12:28
  • a Japanese native will probably weigh in at some point with a more helpful answer. ;) Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 12:44
  • Should it not happen I will accept your answer as the solving one. :)
    – Frhay
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 12:47
  • @ericfromabeno Have you heard の actually dropped in lazy speech? In my sense, that's not likely to happen. If any, it rather feels experts using technical compound words which ordinary people would use combination of words instead of.
    – user4092
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 16:25
  • I'm around Japanese kids all day every day... in a typical month, I hear lots of lazy speech. Dropped particles are part of that. Even sometimes from junior high kids. Dropping の less often than は or が or です Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 16:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .