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Note that this is not a duplicate of this. I am taking about the ものだ and ことだ that expresses exclamation and strong feelings.

My textbook says that 〜ことだ means:

本当に〜だ(驚き・感動・皮肉などを表す)

and 〜ものだ means:

  1. 〜ということを非常に強く感じる・感心する・あきれる

  2. 〜という過去の習慣が懐かしい

and 〜ものがある means:

〜という感じがある

After reading that, I was very confused because all three of them seem to mean roughly the same thing. For example, this JLPT question:

迷惑をかけてしまった人たちのことを考えると、今でも心苦しい( )。

a ものだ b ことだ c ものがある

If we substitute the meanings, we get:

a 迷惑をかけてしまった人たちのことを考えると、今でも心苦しいということを非常に強く感じる

b 迷惑をかけてしまった人たちのことを考えると、今でも本当に心苦しい

c 迷惑をかけてしまった人たちのことを考えると、今でも心苦しいという感じがある

All three sentences seem to mean the same thing! Yet the "correct" answer is "c". Why? What are the differences between these three grammar?

  • I can't give a full answer, but I think the reason the answer is c might in part be because this is 一般の話 – weirdalsuperfan Aug 19 '18 at 11:52
  • How is this 一般? It is not general at all. "Whenever I think of those people who I have troubled, I feel very sorry". Isn't that referring to a specific event where "I" troubled some people? @weirdalsuperfan – Sweeper Aug 19 '18 at 11:55
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First, ことだ is a response to the opponent (like "Oh, that's ... !"). to things about someone else. So, it doesn't work when it comes to your own issue.

Second, ものだ makes your raw emotion into general criteria, which reduces sense of commitment (note that I don't mean "degree of the adjective").

In this regard, however, combination of 今でも and extremely personal adjective like 心苦しい is more or less too intensive to use the structure above. If the adjective was 悲しい without 今でも, then, ものだ would be fine too, aside from lack of responsibility.

ものがある means that you partially acknowledge your emotion, and it works in this example.

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