I was reading the bible in Japanese a bit and came across this bit of Jonah 1:


Notice how the noun-phrase "Jonah son of Amittai" in the NIV became "アミタイの子ヨナ" in the Japanese JLB. From what I can tell it could also have been written "アミタイの子のヨナ" but instead the second possessive is implied by word order.

I've seen this in other instances as well, and I'm really curious: when exactly can one get away with implying the possessive like this? I'm really curious as whenever I try to, apparently I can never get it right and still have no clue what I'm doing wrong.

PS. If asking when can you imply the possessive is to much, feel free to answer when you CAN'T imply it if that would make it more answerable.

  • 3
    This is apposition, not possession.
    – user1478
    Dec 8, 2018 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


Apposition without の (i.e. …子ヨナ) sounds fairly formal, or could be theatrical or narrative, compared with the one with it (…子のヨナ). So, you will do it when you want that rhetorical effect.

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