Main Question: How can you tell the correct order of x の y (i.e. x の y VS y の x)

Where my confusion lies:

I kind of understand this particle, but sometimes it can be confusing. In my Japanese class, we described it's use as: x の y where y is the subject/base/main idea, and x is the descriptor/specification. we also talked about it showing possession.

My confusion comes from phrases or noun conjunctions like these:

しゅっしんのトロントです。vs トロントのしゅっしんです。

Neither are worded well (しゅっしんはトロントです would be 10x better I think, but this is just for example purposes).

When you read these two sentences, or if you are given any two sentences for that matter, how do you tell if it is nonsense grammatically or not. I was told that しゅっしんのトロントです is not nonsense, but it doesn't make intuitive sense to me...

Like, しゅっしん means one's origin, so shouldn't トロントのしゅっしん work, since toronto makes one's origin more specific (i.e. tells you where the person's origin is). How does しゅっしんのトロント (toronto as ones origin rather than ones origin being toronto) make more sense?

For that matter, what's the difference between x の y and xy?

Ex: ...しゅっしんのトロントです。AND (わたしは or something)しゅっしんトロントです。

  • Related japanese.stackexchange.com/q/16144/45489
    – sundowner
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 3:02
  • 3
    わたしはしゅっしんのトロントです is nonsense.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 3:07
  • @aguijonazo Ok, noted. But that doesn't answer my question... Which was WHY しゅっしんのトロント or the reverse is incorrect and how to know that, not the sentence as a whole... Sure, I am my place of origin or something similar is nonsense, but I am specifically asking whether しゅっしんのトロント is nonsense. I will update my post to reflect that.
    – Curulian
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 16:19
  • @aguijonazo Also, could you expand on the errors in わたしはしゅっしんのトロントです. The translator DeepL gives something like "I am a Toronto resident." or "I am an emigrant from Toronto." Are these valid translations? What is your translation?
    – Curulian
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 16:24
  • 1
    の works kinda backwards to English "of". See also this other answer post which goes into the syntax and meaning a bit more deeply. Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


の particle is used for belongings.
You can use it like this: トロントのしゅっしんです

Like this one: トロントのひとです。

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