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What does ものが mean in this sentence : 私 は あなた に あげる もの が 何も ない。

As far as I understood, ものが means "nothing". But then why do we also have 何も, which also means "nothing"?

2 Answers 2

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What gave you the idea that ものが means 'nothing'? A natural sounding translation of the sentence might be 'I have nothing to give to you', but literally it's 'There are no things I will give to you.'

もの is simply 'things', and が is serving its usual grammatical purpose of marking a subject. 何も here is acting as mere emphasis for a negative sentence, much like in the sentence 何も心配する必要はない.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. "acting as mere emphasis for a negative sentence" made the explanation very clear. So as I can leave away "何も"? 私 は あなた に あげる もの が ない。
    – Starckman
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 11:48
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    @starckman Yes, 何も can safely be removed without changing the meaning.
    – Angelos
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 19:31
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「ものが」is not one word. It is two (「もの」("thing") + 「が」(subject particle))

Here, the modifying clause「あなた に あげる」("give to you") is put on the front of「もの」("thing(s)") to make「あなた に あげる もの」("thing(s) to be given to you").

This whole construction is then made the subject of the larger sentence by tacking on the subject particle (が), thus:

  • 私は -- "as for me"
  • あなたにあげるもの -- "(the) thing(s) to be given to you"
  • が (subject particle)
  • 何も -- "nothing" (used with a negative verb)
  • ない -- "isn't" (so 何もない basically means "(there) is nothing" or "(there) isn't anything")

--> "As for me, the things to be given to you are nothing." --> "There is nothing for me to give you" / "There is nothing I will give you" / etc.

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  • Thank you very much. The literary translation is very useful
    – Starckman
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 11:50

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