I'm familiar with 「という」 and was somewhat confused why I saw 「のいう」 in the following sentence:


What is the role of 「のいう」 in this sentence? Is it incorrect to say 「という」? I thought that 「の」 is possessive, but I'm unsure of what it means when combined with 「いう」.

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    I think it's like... "人間対応能力とは、「他の人間と共に働く能力」とドラッガーが呼ぶものです", "人間対応能力 is what Drucker calls 他の人間と共に働く能力/what Drucker refers to as 他の人間と共に働く能力". So...the の言う is like 「~~が(~~と)呼ぶor呼んでいる」.
    – user1016
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 6:43

2 Answers 2


The の is in fact が here. Take the sentence and cut that little phrase to make it easier to see: 人間対応能力は、「他の人間とともに働く能力」のことです。The ability to get along with people is "the ability to work together with other people."

Now the author just attributes the quote to Drucker with the short modifying phrase ドラッカーのいう. This could be ドラッカーがいう, but の is used in cases where the modifier is kind of subordinate; it marks the subject of the modifying phrase but not of the entire sentence, I guess.

So basically it works out to: The ability to get along with people is what Drucker calls "the ability to work together with other people."

Other examples of the の replacing a が:

犬の舐めたボールを触るな! Don't touch balls that dogs have licked! (Ok, that example sounds dirtier and more awkward than I intended it.)

田中さんの選択した曲がかかってきた時、すごい盛り上がってきた。 When the song that Tanaka-san selected came on, he got super excited.

I guess a similar situation in English is choosing between that and which in modifying phrases.


Would the の be equivalent to が?

It seems that this modified phrase is slightly crowded. The event or こと is the quotation which is attributed to Drucker in a way that does not take emphasis away from the quotation itlself (placing it on Drucker instead).

  • Ahh so it means "something that he said/says"? Or is it like "a phrase that is his own"?
    – Chris
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 5:30
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    I think it may used to generalize slightly, by saying "It's like Drucker put it...". Not necessarily restricting itself to that exact quote, but his ideology in general relating to that quote.
    – Jeemusu
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 5:30
  • I am not sure if it is Drucker's exact quote or not: It sounds like an extract from his work that is used here as a label to refer to event/phenomenon/こと that he probably described in detail.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 5:37

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