I have encountered many grammatical structures used when describing things made of many parts, each one corresponding to a single grammatical structure in English: [numeral] [thing counted] [thing described]

  1. 3階建て 3 storey building
  2. 3ページ本 3 page book
  3. 3本の椅子 3 legged chair
  4. 3人女性会社 3 woman company
  5. 3匹の犬囲い 3 dog enclosure

I would like to know if there are rules to know which pattern to use.


1 Answer 1


The basic pattern is fairly simple also in Japanese: number + counter + の + noun. 3ページの本 follows this pattern pretty straightforwardly.

  • You can think -階建て and -本足 are basically counters on their own (although I don't know if they are true counters; some dictionaries may classify them as suffixes). Note that you have to say 3階建ての建物 to say "3-story building". There are a few long and specific "counters" like these, which you have to remember along with the meanings. Other examples include -人組, -人乗り, -人前, -本撮り and -枚落ち. These types of expressions are small in number and are rarely coined.
  • 3人の女性会社 literally means "three-person woman-company", but I'm not sure what 女性会社 refers to. 女性会社 sounds like this is a compound word with some special meaning. If you want to say "a company consisting of three women", use 女性3人の会社.
  • As for 3匹の犬の囲い, 3匹の犬 perfectly follows the pattern above. ~の囲い means something like "the fence for ~", but this part has nothing to do with counting things.

enter image description here

You must log in to answer this question.

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