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I lived in Japan for some time and can communicate quite well. However, sometimes there are some constructs in Japanese which I know but can't explain with grammatical rules.

最終 + noun is one of them. For example the last entry time to a restaurant could be 最終入館:22時.

Grammatically thinking it should be 最終の入館, but I've never heard that. Is there a reason why the の is not present in these constructs or is there just some irregular thing going on that you have to know?

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最終入館 is the short form of 最終入館時刻。

Grammatically, 最終入館(時刻) is considered as a single noun, which is why you don’t have to say 最終の入館時刻(最終-noun, に-particle, 入館時刻-noun).

In English, there are a few cases that a noun works as an adjective. Example; rabbit hatch / cat food / tennis racket

Similarly, 最終(noun) works like an adjective that qualifies 入館時刻(noun). However, gramatically, we don’t consider 最終 as a single adjective. 最終入館(時刻) is seen as a single noun instead.

最終の入館 literally sounds like "entry of the last" and a bit awkward whereas 最終入館 is the same as "the last entry", which sounds pretty natural.

When you see a sign board which says " last entry : 8pm", doesn’t that make sense to you? (Although it should be written as "the last entry time : 8pm"). It’s like the same kind of thing in Japanese.

Those words are collocations, and there is no certain rule to see when to eliminate の, which connects two nouns. In English, "chocolate bar” would never called "a bar of chocolate" even though there’s no grammatical explanation for it. In Japanese, 最終入館 is one of the same cases.

-Examples of collocations that eliminate "の"

  1. 起床時刻{きしょうじこく} 、就寝時刻{しゅうしんじこく} (time to wake up/sleep)

  2. 友達関係 {ともだちかんけい} (relationships with friends)

  3. 勉強時間 {べんきょうじかん} (hours of study)

Not always, but 〜関係、〜時間 、〜期間、〜確率 are mostly the case that eliminates の.

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Basically this answer from Dim, if you like this answer go upvote where it counts please.

Bottom line is 最終 is not used as a noun, but as an adjective (I'd say 連体詞, rentaishi, same as e.g. 大きな, but I can't guarantee it). Jisho.org just might be wrong (actually JMdict from which it takes the data).

最後 is used as a noun or a の-adjective. (e.g. 列の最後, 最後の晩餐).

最終 is used as an adjective right before noun. (e.g. 最終列車, 最終的)

When they are adjectives, they are usually interchangeable, e.g. 最後のバス is interchangeable with 最終バス. Again notice the の with 最後 and the lack thereof with 最終.

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最終 is not a noun but a suffix prefix unless it means an abbreviation of 最終列車 (the last train). So, it doesn't need の.

According to this dictionary, it shows an example in which it's used as a noun. So, I correct my idea. I haven't seen it used that way, though I'm Japanese. I'm sorry. I have to answer it as "最終 is usually a suffix, rather than a noun".

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    Actually, I don't understand your answer. I never said that it was a noun. But it is definitely not a suffix. It stands in front of whatever you want to modify. I don't get the "unless it means [...]" part. Why "unless". This is exactly the same case. – GNA Jul 20 '18 at 6:50
  • 最終 alone can be used as an equivalent to 最終列車. And I should have said "prefix", not "suffix". I don't know why you thought it should grammatically be 最終の when you understood it's not a noun, because case particle の must follow a noun. – user4092 Jul 20 '18 at 11:43
  • Ah. Now it clicked. Sorry, I somehow didn't get it. Now it makes sense. However, Jisho jisho.org/word/%E6%9C%80%E7%B5%82 says that it is a noun. I'm kind of confused. – GNA Jul 20 '18 at 14:23
  • It doesn't show any examples on the other hand (of course it can't :P). Incidentally, I've seen many errors from that online dictionary in this forum. It seems automatically assigning template attributions to developing entries. – user4092 Jul 20 '18 at 21:03
  • I'm still not really clear on the actual grammtical pattern used. However, is there some official dictionary (preferable online) that you can use to look up Japanese words. In every dictionary I've looked, saishuu is listed as a noun. I'm looking for something similar like the "Duden" for the German language. – GNA Jul 27 '18 at 7:58
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The book A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar by Makino & Tsutsui has a section on "Newspaper Grammar" that states:

"Japanese newspapers use certain sentence forms, phrases, and words which are not common in other writing"

One of the forms that it lists is "Ellipsis of no[: ] The noun contractor no is often dropped in long noun compounds (particularly, in those that contain more than one no) "

That's probably the best way to understand a phrase like 最終入館: as a noun compound 最終の入館 where the の has been omitted for the sake of brevity.

  • Yes. I already know about that. However, 最終+noun is a construct I know from many situations - not just newspaper headlines. – GNA Sep 21 '18 at 8:20

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