2

絵画は絵の一種だ。
A painting is a kind of picture. (given translation)

If I was told to translate the English sentence to Japanese I would have written 絵画は一種の絵だ, since the basic sentence is 絵画は絵だ not 絵画は一種だ.

If I were to translate 絵画は絵の一種だ to English I would say "a painting is of the picture variety"· This sentence sounds a bit more formal but essentially has the same meaning.

Are both Xの一種 and 一種のX grammatically correct? Do they have the same meaning? Do they have the same formality?

4
  • 1
    Why do you say "A painting is a kind of picture" in English when the basic sentence is "A painting is a picture" and not "A painting is a kind" then?
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 25 at 16:11
  • 1
    A painting is a picture of a kind とは言わないのね
    – Chocolate
    Jun 26 at 3:18
  • @aguijonazo Good point. But I can say that '...is a picture of kind' is wrong. I'm not saying that I think the ordering is weird. I;m just trying to understand if both ways work and if there is a difference. For example I have definitely come across sentences with 種類のX rather than Xの種類. Jun 26 at 7:32
  • 1
    @Chocolate Yes, we can say "A painting is a picture of a kind", but I think it sounds a little awkward. You'd have to be very careful with the intonation to make it sound natural. I also feel that it has a slightly derogatory feel to it, as though you like pictures but you think that paintings are a second-class kind of picture. Jun 26 at 7:38
2

Xの一種 is a matter-of-fact phrase that is used to say something is one type of the category X. Considering the fact that の and “of” in English work in the opposite direction, we could see this as the direct equivalent of “a kind of X”.

一種のX seems to imply the referenced thing is a somewhat unconventional, or depending on the context, even substandard member of the category X. ある種のX also has similar connotations.

5
  • Interesting how the reverse order seems to imply 'substandard' in both languages. Does your answer apply to 種類 as well? I think I normally see this as 種類のX, which is the opposite way round to 一種. If it behaves differently can you think of a reason, or is it something I should just remember and move on? Jun 26 at 8:53
  • 1
    @user3856370: No, it doesn’t. N種類のX is used to count types of X. Its focus is on the number of types. 一種類のX simply means that the number of types just happens to be one. So, 絵画は一種類の絵です sounds weird. If not counted like that, 種類 is usually modified by some adjective or phrase, as in いろいろな種類のX. is not usually used in this way (except when it is used as a scientific term to mean “species” of animals or plants). Xの一種類 would be understood as the same as Xの一種 but it sounds a bit awkward.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 26 at 9:58
  • Sorry for the confusion. I didn't intend to to have '一' in the sentence. It was a question of 絵画は絵の種類だ versus 絵画は種類の絵だ. Maybe you are saying that 種類 with no modifier in front is weird. I'm afraid I've got a little confused. Jun 26 at 10:02
  • @user3856370: 絵画は種類の絵だ makes absolutely no sense.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 26 at 10:05
  • Fair enough. Then I have a serious failure in my understanding of 種類. Maybe a should ask a separate question. Jun 26 at 10:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.