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What is the difference between using の and using が in these two expressions?

  • 興味がある
  • 興味のある

The full sentence:

それは学生にとって興味のある問題だと思う。

I understand the meaning, but it seems to me you could replace that の with a が and produce exactly the same sentence.

Why choose one over the other?

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  • Does this answer your question? japanese.stackexchange.com/q/12825/9831
    – Chocolate
    Sep 3 at 1:52
  • @Chocolate Thanks. I found that thread before posting my own; it actually does not answer my question though. I'm trying to figure out if there is a reason to choose one particle over the other. I know how to use both particles, and I know they mean the same thing in a relative clause. But how does one know when の sounds better or more natural? Sep 3 at 2:27
  • @SevenOclock Is it confusing? I explicitly state that I already know the meaning and want to know why one would choose の over が other. The fact that there is a choice to be made implies there is a difference. Sep 3 at 16:06

1 Answer 1

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In the attributive usage, the が/の are generally interchangeable.

  • それは学生にとって興味のある問題だと思う。
  • それは学生にとって興味ある問題だと思う。

Both are fine.

As a predicate 興味のある is not acceptable.

  • 私はその問題に興味ある。
  • ×私はその問題に興味ある。

Practically it would be better to remember 興味のある is a phrase meaning of interest.


興味のある looks more common to me than 興味がある (as a modifier).

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