this is a continuation of this question


歯が欠ける - tooth is chipped; お金が欠けている - money is lacking


XXは面白みに欠ける/XXは説明能力に欠ける XX is lacking in 面白み/説明能力

then with:


君に欠けているもの - "the things you are lacking"

My confusion lies initially with how i would interpret XXは面白みに欠ける. This appears similar to XXは試験に受かる.

  • In this case, 試験 itself cannot "pass", only XX can "pass" in regards to the 試験.

  • Therefore: XX passed the test ~= XX passed, in regards to the test.

  • So: XXは面白みに欠ける - XX is lacking in 面白み/説明能力 ~= "XX is lacking in regards to 面白み"

According to the link, because "試験 itself cannot pass", 試験が受かる cannot be grammatical. This is where 欠ける is different. In 歯が欠ける, 歯 itself can be 欠ける'd.

So going back to 君に欠けているもの, i don't have the option to interpret it like XXは面白みに欠ける. In fact i feel like i can only read it as if it were "君が欠けているもの", just like 歯が欠ける.

  • 金が欠けている - money is lacking

  • 君(に/が)欠けているもの - the things you are lacking

In this case, what is the difference between 君に欠けているもの and 君が欠けているもの?

Thank you.


There are two valid ways to use the intransitive verb 欠ける. This is a fact you have to memorize.

  • A: person + (に)は + thing + 欠けている
    • 君(に)は面白みが欠けている。
    • 彼(に)は説明能力が欠けている。
  • B: person + + thing + 欠けている
    • 君は面白みに欠けている。
    • 彼は説明能力に欠けている。

(And you can also use 欠く, the transitive version of 欠ける, and say 彼は説明能力を欠いている. BTW, in English you can say "to lack detail", "to lack in detail" and "detail is lacking"...)

How can we form relative clauses from these patterns and say "the thing which you are lacking"? The grammar rule you need is explained in detail in this answer. In particular, please keep in mind that the topic marker は is not used within relative clauses.

From pattern A:

 君には 面白味が 欠けている。
[君  ____ 欠けている] もの

From pattern B:

 君は 面白味に 欠けている。
[君 ____ 欠けている] もの

That is to say, 君欠けているもの and 君欠けているもの are interchangeable. They mean the same thing. (EDIT: As pointed out in the comments below, 君に欠けているもの is much more common.)

に here can be understood as "situation marker" in both patterns A and B, and 試験に落ちる might be somewhat closer to pattern B. But let's not try to overgeneralize.

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  • Do you mind explaining the difference between A and B? Maybe i am lacking in something fundamental here, but i don't see how you can write 君に欠けているもの in terms of A or B as there isn't a 面白み/説明能力 as the 2nd ~ in 君に欠けているもの。thanks. – charu Nov 13 '18 at 3:43
  • @charu Do you understand は is not used as a subject marker within relative clauses? It's a very basic rule. A and B are just two valid ways to use 欠ける, and there is no significant semantic difference. – naruto Nov 13 '18 at 3:49
  • Sorry, maybe you have to spell it out for me in this instance, something about looking at it in terms of this sentence just doesn't click. I could rewrite it as 君は何か(が/に)欠ける, but probably not what we're looking for. – charu Nov 13 '18 at 3:54
  • @charu I edited my answer. – naruto Nov 13 '18 at 4:45
  • so working back, does that mean 歯が欠ける / お金が欠けている and 歯に欠ける / お金に欠けている are interchangeable as well? – charu Nov 13 '18 at 5:11

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