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耳の大きい

I heard this phrase a while ago and it's been bugging me since. Is this correct? I have looked and heard different answers from both sides, but I'm still quite unsure.

Although the question was asked on the site, I want to ask again since it's from 2014. Maybe they were right?

This was a stand-alone phrase in a YouTube video.

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  • 耳の大きい ~ "Big ears" but I don't feel like its right and should be ~ 耳が大きい
    – Brenden
    Jul 17 at 4:26
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    You can edit your own post instead of adding a comment. And are you sure it was not part of a noun phrase where 耳の大きい was followed by a noun?
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 17 at 6:19
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Whether or not it is allowed/correct depends on the context. By itself, you would be well advised to not use this construction in a regular conversation, since it is wrong/odd.

There are examples however, where this phrase is correct. For example in old Japanese, が and の were used interchangeably, so it can be correct in a historic context.

Most commonly, this construction is used as an abbreviation if it's clear from the context who or what the sentence is about (耳の大きい+[omitted noun]). You mentioned that you encountered this phrase in a YouTube video, so I think it's likely that it refers to something mentioned in that video (I guess something with ears?!).

A typical example would be, that the speaker made a statement about a person/animal, then realized that he/she forgot to mention an important piece of information (the big ears) and then immediatly adds this abbreviated sentence to leave it up to the listener to figure out the correct meaning and grammar.

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耳の大きい in isolation is not a valid sentence, but it is correct as a relative clause with ga-no conversion applied. For example, the following sentences are correct.

大きいゾウを見ました。
= 耳大きいゾウを見ました。

I saw an elephant whose ears are big.

Here, 耳大きい and 耳大きい are modifying ゾウ as a relative clause, in which case が and の are (usually) interchangeable.

For 耳の大きい to make sense, it must be followed by another noun. Otherwise, it's just a strange sentence "fragment". For example, if 耳の大きい is the only phrase printed on a T-shirt, it's plain wrong.

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