In the following sentence, does もの mean "person" (qualified by 1人あたり) or "thing" (as in "the 費用 thing")。


For reference, below are the definitions I have for もの:

物 もの (n,uk) thing; object; the natural thing; a frequently done thing; used to express emotional involvement; used in giving a reason; (P)
者 もの (n) person (rarely used w.o. a qualifier); (P)

1 Answer 1



In this sentence, 「もの」 is used in order to avoid repeating the word 「費用」 because it would sound fairly awkward to use 「費用」 twice in such a very short sentence.

"Are the expenses above per person?"

Likewise, I am sure it would sound clumsy if I said in English:

"Are the expenses above the expenses for one person?"

  • 1
    Trick question: I learnt that 「こと」 generally refers to something more concrete than 「もの」, like, a 「もの」is a general concept, while a 「こと」 is a 「もの」but with a concrete context, such as a precise date and place. In this situation, I'd argue that the expenses 「費用」 have already been precised, and the speaker is talking about something determined. So, how about saying "1人あたりのことですか?" instead?
    – Right leg
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 9:32
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    @Rightleg 「上記費用は1人あたりのことですか?」とは言わないですね・・ 「こと」はそういう使い方しません。eg 「この指輪は母にもらった指輪です」→ ◎「この指輪は母にもらったものです」 ×「この指輪は母にもらったことです」
    – chocolate
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:36
  • @Chocolate 「この指輪は母にもらったことです」 definitely sounds strange, but assuming the explanation I got from my teacher (as I commented above) is more or less accurate, I don't really grasp why 「1人あたりのことですか?」 is wrong (although it does feel weird)
    – Right leg
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 17:18
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    Hmm.. 上記費用は一人あたりの費用ですか? can be rephrased 上記費用は一人当たりのものですか? but not 上記費用は一人当たりのことですか? (←sounds wrong) for the same reason as why この指輪は母にもらった指輪です can be rephrased この指輪は母にもらったものです but not この指輪は母にもらったことです (← sounds wrong). We don't use こと that way.. 前方照応的に反復の代用語として使わないです。「ジョージア州の田舎で話される英語は、インディアナ州の田舎で話されているものとは全く違います」The English spoken in rural Georgia is quite different from that of rural Indiana. の「もの」は「こと」にできないです。
    – chocolate
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 14:21

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