I have the following Japanese sentence:


and I was wondering if the bolded のが nominalizes the 身につけている before it, as Darius says that

"...Basically, all the 〜の does is make a verb act like a noun, and then syntactically-speaking, that noun-like thing can fit into any spot a noun would normally go, and that spot will already be marked with が, の, or some other case particle" (Darius).

But I'm unable to wrap my head around what the nominalization of 身につけている is, which in turn makes me doubt the のが's ability to nominalize 身につけている in the above sentence.

page 17 of book that contains above sentence, added for providing additional context

1 Answer 1


In this case, you can forget nominalization. One way to interpret this sentence is to think of this の as a vague noun meaning "thing" or "one". Then 身につけているの on its own can mean "the thing which I'm wearing" rather than "(the act of) wearing".

What I'm wearing is a hospital gown.

But this construction has a broader use and has a specific name called cleft sentence.

I'm wearing a hospital gown.

It's a hospital gown that I'm wearing.

Technically speaking, this の is still a kind of noun and 身につけている is a kind of relative clause. Note that のが can be used instead of のは since it's in a subordinate clause (~だから).

  • In light of the fact that me normalizing the first part of the sentence can NOW be tossed out the window, would the following still work as a accurate English translation? " I am dressed in clothes they can put on you at a hospital that are similar to western examination clothes, I guess it can’t be helped, but no matter how you look at it this place is a hospital or something like it." (I've been agonizing over trying to understand the above sentence for the past several hours, and I'm just now discovering that the... what I think is a normalizing のが... can be forgotten....
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 5:34
  • @Toyu_Frey "It (=my initial misunderstanding that this place was a hospital) may not have been helped because what I am wearing is something like an examination gown people are told to put on at hospital. However, (after some consideration,) this place is definitely not a hospital no matter how I look at it." So, he initially thought this place was a hospital (due to his clothing), but he now thinks this place is not a hospital.
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 5:56
  • so then, my translation is not a accurate one? I'm confused as to how you are parsing the sentence to reach your own translation.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 6:03
  • @Toyu_Frey {[身につけているのが、(病院で着せられる検査服のようなもの)だ]から}仕方ないのかもしれない / が、(どう見ても)ここは病院なんかじゃない。 But can I confirm the previous context? Did he initially think he was in a hospital? (e.g., "Where am I? A hospital?")
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 6:04
  • 1
    @Toyu_Frey Okay, now I see why this 仕方ない is tricky. This 仕方ない is still someone who mistakes the place as a hospital. How about this free translation: "Since what I am wearing is an examination gown used at hospital, I cannot blame someone if he thought this was a hospital, but no matter how I look at it, this place is definitely not a hospital."
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 6:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .