Maybe this question should also be posted into the linguistic part. In Japanese a NP/DP like "世界三大唐木の一つとして有名な”黒檀”。(その中でも特に綺麗な...)"may compose a sentence by itself, and this is impossible in English or many other languages. Is there any previous syntax studies on this question?

  • 1
    Related japanese.stackexchange.com/q/48863/45489
    – sundowner
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 11:14
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    You can completely have a single noun phrase as a sentence in English as for example an answer to a question
    – Angelos
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 13:56
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    This answer has the name of two Japanese experts who wrote an article about this topic (in Japanese). Is this enough to you?
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


Syntactically, I don't feel like there is something particularly interesting going on in a noun phrase forming a sentence. Maybe it's more frequent in Japanese than in English, but that's it. I feel like what's more significant here is about rhetoric than grammar.

体言止め can be a rhetorical device because Japanese sentences don't normally end with a noun. They normally end with function words like だ, です, する, た, etc. Since those function words are a closed set, they can be monotonic especially when repeated in consecutive sentences. By getting rid of those function words at the end, you can create variety and vividness.

In a language like English, ending with a noun is not particularly rare and does not have a rhetorical effect in itself. I don't know if it's rare in many other languages, but I'd be interested in comparing among head-final languages (languages that tend have more postpositions than prepositions).

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