This sentence is an excerpt from https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10012813311000/k10012813311000.html


Is my understanding correct?

  1. うつる人が is the subject of the intransitive verb 変わる, so it must take が
  2. 新しいコロナウイルスが is the subject of the relative clause, and so it also must take が?

So essentially this sentence can be loosely translated as: Professor Hiroshi Nishiura from Kyoto University has calculated how people who will become infected with new corona virus will change in Tokyo from now on?



1 Answer 1


There are nested clauses, and that's why there are two が's. To break down:

  • 新しいコロナウイルスは人にうつる。
    The novel coronavirus infects people.
    (Note that うつる is an intransitive verb in Japanese)

  • 新しいコロナウイルスがうつる人
    people which the novel coronavirus infects
    (Simple relative clause)

    → people infected by the novel coronavirus

  • 新しいコロナウイルスがうつる人(の数)がどのように変わるか
    how the (number of) people infected by the novel coronavirus changes

Judging from the remaining part of the article, this sentence is clearly about the change in the number of (infected) people, not the change of people themselves. I don't know why the text said 人がどのように変わるか ("how people changes") instead of 人の数がどのように変わるか ("how the number of people changes"). Sometimes this "easy" news from NHK omits words a little too aggressively...

  • Hey Naruto, I actually did interpret it as "the number of people" (I guess my brain just filled in the gaps). The one thing I do worry about with these easy NHK articles is that it really isn't natural at all, but I think the original articles are too complicated for me at the moment :s Bit of a catch 22. Jan 18, 2021 at 6:59

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