According to my low level of Japanese, I know two ways to "categorize" a noun with an another noun + adjective:

  • 髪が長い男の人が少しいる。
  • 長い髪の男の人が少しいる。

Are these two sentences grammatically correct? Are they natural? What is the difference?

1 Answer 1


I think the following three sentences including your two are all grammatically correct and almost natural to native speakers of Japanese without any particular difference between them.

  1. 髪が長い男の人が少しいる。(two が in a short sentence)
  2. 長い髪の男の人が少しいる。(two の in a short sentence)
  3. 髪の長い男の人が少しいる。(two の in a short sentence)

But as a writer I would like to avoid these sentences in my writing because of two particles in a short sentence, and the phrase of 人が少しいる sounds a little awkward. Then I have created this sentence with the same meaning.

  1. 髪の長い男性が数人いる。
  • Thank you for your reply, it rings me two questions : 数人 can be use as an adverb ? (I though it was a noun) . 髪の長い男の人 sounds odd for me because I don't understand the structure nounのadjective+noun (I would translate this as "long mens with hair" and not "mens with long hair") can you enlighten me a bit ?
    – Poulp
    Mar 27, 2021 at 13:39
  • @Poulp In 髪の長い男の人 the first の is equivalent to が. So 髪の長い or 髪が長い is a relative clause that modifies 男の人. See this link for example: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/12825/… Mar 27, 2021 at 22:50
  • As a native, I am not really conscious of a word being used as a noun or an adverb. But as you pointed out, it must be used as an adverb. Next, 長い is ’long’, but we have no notion of the word combination of 長い男, because 長い only refers to things or parts of human body, but not to humans.
    – samhana
    Mar 27, 2021 at 23:14

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