4

I am currently struggling with wrapping my head around こと and how it nominalises adjectives/sentences with adjectives to turn them into noun phrases.

With verbs, it's easy:

べんとうを食べる (I eat bento/I will eat bento)
べんとうを食べること ((the act of) eating bento)

However, with adjectives (and particularly nouns) I'm not quite understanding the transformation, other than the fact that the phrase now functions as a noun/noun phrase and can be moved around the sentence.

スイスがきれいだ (Switzerland is beautiful)
スイスがきれいなこと ((as for the fact that?) Switzerland is beautiful... or (on the notion that???) Switzerland is beautiful).

This sentence was taken from: スイスがきれいなことは写真で知っています。

To me, the nominalised adjective/noun phrase does not sound like a noun, merely a statement that Switzerland is beautiful.

Any helpers? If I'm not clear I'm happy to try and elaborate further.

  • 2
    +1 for the good question, but romaji is detrimental. It is べんとう and not べんと. It is とうきょう and not ときょ. – l'électeur Jan 26 at 0:53
  • Could one say スイスがきれいだということ to mean the same thing, i.e. 'the fact that Switzerland is beautiful' ? – Chewie Jan 26 at 9:07
  • "I know that Switzerland is beautiful based on pictures." – Mathieu Bouville Jan 26 at 15:34
5

There are several ways to translate "adjective + こと":

  1. Add "being" before the adjective, optionally with a possessive noun to show its subject. This is probably the most literal choice, but this way of showing a subject may sound stilted in English.
    • 美しいこと
      being beautiful
    • 彼女が美しいこと
      her being beautiful
    • 彼女が美しいことは皆に知られている。
      Her being beautiful is known to everyone.
    • 健康なこと
      being healthy
  2. Simply use the noun version of the adjective, such as "beauty", "friendliness" and "wealth". These nouns mean either "the degree of ~" and "the fact that ~" depending on the context. But practically speaking, this approach works in most cases.
    • 美しいこと
      (one's) beauty
    • 彼女が美しいこと
      her beauty
    • 彼女が美しいことは皆に知られている。
      Her beauty is known to everyone.
    • 健康なこと
      (one's) health
  3. Use the fact that + (clause). This is the most verbose choice, but it works.
    • 美しいこと
      the fact that someone is beautiful
    • 彼女が美しいことは皆に知られている。
      The fact that she is beautiful is known to everyone.
    • 健康なこと
      the fact that someone is healthy
  • The most natural translation here is "Everyone knows she is beautiful". – Mathieu Bouville Jan 26 at 15:30
0

The important thing to mention here, I feel, is that these will not be true nouns, but noun phrases (as you have already noted in your post). It translates more closely to 'Switzerland's being beautiful' or 'The fact that Switzerland is beautiful', rather than simply 'Switzerland's beauty'.

If you truly want to change an adjective into a noun you can add さ (and remove final い for i-adjectives). Switzerland's beauty would be スイスのうつくしさ or スイスのきれいさ.

For na-adjectives, just add な and の or こと to nominalize it.

スイスがきれいなこと は 写真で知っています。
More literally: That Switzerland is beautiful is known from pictures.
More colloquially: 'I know of Switzerland's beauty from pictures.'

Other noun phrases using na-adjectives:

好きなのは読書{どくしょ}です。/ 好きなことは読書{どくしょ}です。[The thing I like] is reading.
賑{にぎ}やかなことは大好きだ。I love gaiety.

Here's a link that might be helpful: https://www.wasabi-jpn.com/japanese-grammar/nominalizers-koto-and-no/

  • I think OP's main concern is about the nominalization of な行形容動詞...。 – Kentaro Jan 26 at 5:29
  • @KentaroTomono Good point. I've added a bit to the answer. – BJCUAI Jan 26 at 6:14
  • +1 for your effort ( and the lack of my answer ). But yet, it seems you are not yet answering to the OP's question somehow ( I am sorry I can not explain. ) – Kentaro Jan 26 at 6:20
  • @user27280 好きなことはイチゴです。 はおかしいです。「好きなものはイチゴです。」とか「好きなことはピアノを弾くことです。」とか「好きなことは、読書とスポーツです。」とかならいいですけど・・ – Chocolate Jan 26 at 7:30
  • Right. I should've read more carefully. – Kentaro Jan 26 at 7:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.