From a book about space:


And from a ghost story:


The や seems like some kind of "and" but I can't quite grasp how it's working grammatically in these situations. What is this? (not 100% sure these are even the same grammar, but they appear similar)

I know や in the sense of 「トマトやオレンジが好きです」but I fail to see the connection between that grammar and these sentences, if there is any.

  • Possible duplicate of The many ways to say "and" in Japanese
    – naruto
    Jan 13, 2019 at 5:37
  • Reading that question and its answers didn't help me understand this. Seems quite different to me.
    – Aurast
    Jan 13, 2019 at 5:43
  • Okay, then it's because these are not well-written Japanese sentences. Retracted my close vote.
    – naruto
    Jan 13, 2019 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


This is the same や you already know, which is used to list two or more nouns (or noun equivalents). But these Japanese sentences are actually poorly-written because the second item after や is not a noun.

In your first example, 観測技術の向上 is a noun phrase, but 大きなプロジェクトとして取り組まれるようになって is not. The second part should be a nominalized clause, 大きなプロジェクトとして取り組まれるようになったこと.

Recently, the identification of a planet has been anticipated because of the advancement of observational techniques and the fact that it has been worked on as part of big projects.

In your second example, 学校帰り is a noun, but 家に帰ってから is not. The latter should have been a noun phrase such as 帰宅後.

I used to go into a mountain with my friends on my way home or after returning home, ...

  • Thanks, your corrected sentences make perfect sense to me. I think I understand this now. Another Japanese native I asked says that these kinds of sentences are somewhat common. Like 「あのお店よく行くの?」「うん学校帰りや、帰ってから行ったり」sounds okay to her. But I guess maybe it's not technically 100% correct. I'll mark your answer correct after giving it a couple of days in case anyone else wants to answer :)
    – Aurast
    Jan 13, 2019 at 6:45
  • @Aurast These sentences are at least easily comprehensible to me, and maybe we should not frown upon these sentences too much in casual speech. In formal text, I believe it's very close to a grammatical mistake.
    – naruto
    Jan 14, 2019 at 11:40

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