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I'm reading into the が particle's various functions and the book I'm reading states that apparently the subject with が receives only the exhaustive-listing interpretation "if the predicate is a static, stable state (described by a noun, an い adjective, a な adjective, or a stative predicate)".

I had a few questions concerning this:

  1. Does this mean all nouns are static, stable states and if not what kinds of nouns aren't static, stable states.
  2. Does this mean all い adjectives are static, stable states and if not what kinds of い adjectives aren't static, stable states.
  3. Does this mean all な adjectives are static, stable states and if not what kinds of な adjectives aren't static, stable states.
  4. What is a "stative predicate"? Could someone provide some examples for clarity?

I would really appreciate some help clarifying what constitutes a static, stable state.

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What you are reading is about the distinction between "general/known/old information" vs "new information". Compare the following sentences:

  1. 月は黄色い。
    The moon is yellow.
  2. 月が赤い!
    The moon is red!

The first sentence is about a general fact (like most sentences in Wikipedia), so は is used. This 黄色い is an i-adjective that refers to some "stable state". On the other hand, the second sentence is about a temporary fact the speaker just noticed. In this case, you have to use が, because 赤い is an i-adjective that refers to some "temporary state" or "news". Basically any noun, i-adjective and no-adjective can refer to both "stable state" and "temporary state / news". 赤い refers "static state" in a sentence like イチゴは赤い ("Strawberries are red").

Now, the sentence you are reading is about an exception to this rule. When someone asks you "Which is yellow, the earth or the moon?", then you have to answer like this:

月が黄色いです。
The moon is yellow.
It's the moon that is yellow.

This 黄色い still refers to some "stable fact", but you have to use が here, because you are selecting 月 (and only 月) from several possibilities. That is, this が has the "exhaustive-listing" function. I believe your textbook has already explained this usage of が somewhere before the page you are reading.


  1. What is a "stative predicate"? Could someone provide some examples for clarity?

Examples include "(ニューヨークはアメリカに)ある" and "(彼女はピアノが)できる". Basically non-action verbs that refers to some general fact are stative verbs. If someone said ニューヨークがアメリカにあります, it should be an exhaustive-listing sentence (i.e., a response to a question like "Which city is in the US, Paris or New York?").

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