Like if I wanted to refer to the 食 in 食べる do I say

  1. 食べることの漢字 eating's kanji


  1. 食べるの漢字 eating kanji


  1. 食べるものの漢字 kanji of eating

or something else entirely? Also are my translations correct?

  • 2
    Why a verb? If you want to refer to a kanji, it usually has more than one words containing it, and you usually can choose a noun among them. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


In short, you can treat a verb as a noun, when you are mentioning it, not using it, so #2 can work. Trying to nominalize it (#1 and #3) will probably make it more confusing. You might want to insert a very short pause after 食べる, before の.

In general, when you want to discuss kanji in speech, you usually point to highly frequent (and unambiguous or nearly unambiguous) words containing the kanji you want. You can use the on'yomi reading to refer to the kanji itself, but since readings are highly ambiguous, they need to be disambiguated with examples and explanations. Phrases below work:




If you want a sentence:


(I intentionally avoided kanji here to imitate speech.)


If you watch Japanese YouTuber’s when they have to do it, it’s simply 食べるの字.

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