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I've just come across this sentence on Kanji Web Easy:

まず、体を冷たくするスプレー服を着た人形にかけました。

So many を and the second one really confuses me. How should I understand this?

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First of all, to answer the unasked question, this usage of を is acceptable.

In English, as you are no doubt aware, sometimes we need a phrase to describe our nouns. For example:

This is an air conditioning shoe.

The extra information, though far fetched, tells us why our noun of interest (shoe) is special.

Likewise in Japanese we have phrases that modify nouns. In this case, the nouns that are being modified are スプレー and 人形.

To keep this answer from getting too involved, you should research noun modifiers in order to understand the many ways that nouns can be modified. I would recommend this website as a reference.

However, from the source I attached, I want to emphasize the following about these particular noun modifiers. This will be a direct quotation, except for the examples, which I change to relate to this particular question.

1)The Japanese noun modifier always comes in front of the noun you are describing. In the above case, it should be in front of [スプレー(supure-) and 人形 (ningyo).]

2)Change the sub-sentence to Plain form. That means you will need to change [します (shimasu) to する (suru).]

As an appendage to the second ponit, this also applies to verbs in past tense. You will change 着けました (tsukemashita) to 着けた (tsuketa).


With that background, lets make sense of the sentence:

まず、体を冷たくするスプレーを服を着た人形にかけました。

Lets bold our noun phrases (noun + modifying phrase, and yes, there is more than one).

まず、体を冷たくするスプレー服を着た人形にかけました。

For the time being, I'm just going to simplify it to a single noun (スプレー and 人形).

まず、スプレーを人形にかけました。
First, [I] used the spray on the doll.

What kind of doll you ask? Lets add some of that information back...

まず、スプレーを服を着た人形にかけました。
First, [I] used the spray on the doll wearing clothes.

What kind of spray? Lets add the last bit of information...

まず、体を冷たくするスプレーを服を着た人形にかけました。
First, [I] used the body cooling spray on the doll wearing clothes.

This was a tricky bit of parsing, but if you still are having issues with noun modifiers, please take a look at the linked website. It should help you learn the concepts.

  • Regarding the 体を冷たくする part, is it appropriate to state that 「Aを(Bに or B in 連用形)する 」means "to make A into or like B"? I've seen this construction before but never completely got to the bottom of it. – G-Cam Aug 6 '18 at 1:33
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を is the object marker. 体を冷たくするスプレー is a noun phrase. 服を着た人形 is also a noun phrase. The basic structure of this sentence is AをBにかける. If you think A is 体を冷たくするスプレー and B is 服を着た人形 , the sentence is easy to understand.

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