Take a look at the lyrics of テルーの唄:


As I understand it, both 人影絶えた and 虫の囁く are relative clauses that modify 野の道 and 草原, respectively. But why don't we use the particle が here like:


When should I use の or omit the particle?


の can be used in place of が in relative clauses, although there are some exceptional rules. The basic rule of ga-no conversion is described in this question: How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

When ga-no conversion happens, が and の are almost the same in modern prose, but some sources say the use of の is gradually declining. I personally feel が sounds slightly more explicit and objective, whereas の is more "traditional" and has a subtle aesthetic quality suitable in lyrics and product titles. I remember my math teacher always encouraged the use of が because it sounded more academic and objective to him. (The difference is very subtle, and not everyone would agree with me. Please do not overthink this.)

In classical Japanese, a subject marker was not necessary, and you could directly join a subject and a predicate (e.g., 春が過ぎて = 春過ぎて). This is not found in modern formal prose, but you can still see a similar pattern in lyrics and fixed expressions. Especially in this song, the whole lyrics basically follow the haiku-like 7-5 pattern (七五調), so adding が or の to 人影絶えた would break the good rhythm of the song.

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.