I know that の can be used instead of が when modifying a noun like in these examples:

  1. 日本語のわかる人
  2. 私のできる日本語

But in these cases:



Why is の used here in the parts in bold? Isn't it supposed to be が? I get the meaning but don't understand the grammar here.

  • 1
    Case one is like the example you already understand. 一方 is a noun. Case two is totally different. There is no verb so I'm not sure why you expect to see が. 違い is a noun and it's being modified by the preceding question using の. Apr 29, 2022 at 16:12
  • @user3856370: Comments are not for answers.
    – istrasci
    Apr 29, 2022 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


As you say の can replace が as a subject marker.

For the first sentence, just as in 1 and 2 in the question, の/が are (to an extent) interchangeable: スポーツのある/スポーツがある are both fine.

In the second one, using が is most probably possible and won't change meaning much. But grammatically, as noted in the comment, they are different:

The sentence as is has an implicit subject which should be what is being discussed: (それは)...どこを歩いているのか違いであり, which literally means It is a matter of where you are walking....

On the other hand, using が would make where you... the subject (of である): どこを歩いているか違いである = Where you are walking ... is the difference. This is ok grammatically, but it sounds like emphasizing the difference and does not seem to fit the context (the emphasis should be 変わりはない).

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