Most of the time (?) a following dummy noun is required when the speaker wants to put a 用言 where a 体言 is expected, as shown by the sentence below:


However, it seems that sometimes a 用言 on its own can function as a 体言, namely, with no dummy noun added, such as:



So the question boils down to:

When a 用言 is used as a 体言, in what case is the addition of a dummy noun 1) required, 2) optional, 3) plainly wrong?

All three instances are from the novel Botchan.

  • 3
    I think this link may be relevant for one of your examples (close to the bottom of the answer): japanese.stackexchange.com/a/36739/7944 Jan 10, 2021 at 12:02
  • 1
    A 用言 used as a 体言 is a type of 準体言, and such conversion in function is called 準体法. Apparently 準体法 was much more common in the past and now is on the way out, but we still have a lot of holdovers. There were also の and other dummy nouns for nominalization coexisting with 準体法, and they have extended their distribution to fill the increasing gap left by it, according to this abstract on 日本言語学会.
    – goldbrick
    Jan 10, 2021 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


The attributive form of a verb worked as a nominalized verb in archaic Japanese.

In particular, Verb + が + いい/よい is a highly old-fashioned and pompous way of making a request/command. It's mainly used as role language of pompous nobles today.

(待ってるがいい sounds a little unnatural today, though. 待ってる is a fairly colloquial contraction of 待っている, and がいい doesn't go well with such a colloquial expression. 待つがいい, 待っているがいい or 待っておるがよい would be more natural.)

However, this type of nominalization works only in fixed idioms, proverbs and set phrases in modern Japanese. This sentence:


...is regarded simply as grammatically incorrect by today's standard. You simply need の after 迫った. Since this is from an old and famous novel, I imagine something like this may have been more tolerated in those days, but you should not do this in modern standard Japanese.

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