Japanese Grammar noni のに -
Intermediate Lessons: 36

のに noni is used when what is stated in the second sentence runs against to what is expected from the first sentence.

The second sentence carries the implication of unexpectedness or dissatisfaction and it's often used for complaint.

Let's check out the sentence patterns of this grammar のに (noni). Just like ので (node), のに (noni) follows verbs, adjectives or nouns.

Sentence 1 のに Sentence 2 (Contrary Result)
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Verb plain-form のに Contrary Result
い-adj plain-form のに Contrary Result
な-adj plain-form(~ → ~な) のに Contrary Result
Noun plain-form(~ → ~な) のに Contrary Result

Note: Non-factual sentence like an intention, an order, a request, a permission or a suggestion cannot be used in the second sentence.

Let's look at some examples...

  1. 約束をしたのに、彼女は来ませんでした。
    yakusoku wo shita noni, kanojo wa kimasendeshita

    Meaning: She did not come, even though she promised.

  2. 今日は祝日なのに、働かなければなりません。
    kyou wa shukujitsu na noni, hatarakanakereba narimasen

    Meaning: Even though today is holiday, I have to work.

In example 1, the speaker expects that the woman will come because she promised to do so. So he naturally feels disappointed that she did not come. In example 2, Holiday is normally a rest day, yet the speaker has to work so he feels dissatisfied. The second sentence implies feelings of unexpectedness or dissatisfaction.

Difference between ~ので and ~のに

ので (node) indicates the cause or reason of certain event while のに (noni) shows the contrary result. Let's use some examples to show how the result changed using either ので (node) or のに (noni).

Japanese Grammar のに noni

  1. 今日は暑いので、T-シャツを着ています。
    kyou wa atsui node, T-shatsu wo kiteimasu
    Meaning: It is hot today, therefore I am wearing a T-Shirt.

    今日は暑いのに、セーターを着ています。
    kyou wa atsui noni, se-ta- wo kiteimasu
    Meaning: Even though it is hot today, I am wearing a sweater.

  2. 昨日は休みだったので、一日中寝ました。
    kinou wa yasumi datta node, ichinichijuu nemashita
    Meaning: Yesterday was my rest day, therefore I slept the whole day.

    昨日は休みだったのに、仕事をしました。
    kinou wa yasumi datta noni, shigoto wo shimashita
    Meaning: Even though yesterday was my rest day, I went to work.

  3. 来週テストがあるので、弟は一生懸命勉強しています。
    raishuu tesuto ga aru node, otouto wa isshoukenmei benkyou shite imasu
    Meaning: There is a test on next week, therefore my younger brother is studying very hard.

    来週テストがあるのに、弟は遊んでいます。
    raishuu tesuto ga aru noni, otouto wa asonde imasu
    Meaning: Even though there is a test on next week, my younger brother is playing.

  4. ダイエットをしたので、痩せました。
    daietto wo shita node, yasemashita
    Meaning: I lost weight since I went through a diet.

    ダイエットをしたのに、太りました。
    daietto wo shita noni, futorimashita
    Meaning: Even though I went through a diet, I put on weight.

  5. 日本語を十年勉強したので、日本語が上手です。
    nihongo wo juunen benkyoushita node, nihongo ga jouzu desu
    Meaning: I have studied Japanese for ten years, therefore I am good at Japanese.

    日本語を十年勉強したのに、日本語が下手です。
    nihongo wo juunen benkyoushita noni, nihongo ga heta desu
    Meaning: Even though I have studied Japanese for ten years, I am still bad at Japanese.

In example 1, normally when it's hot, you'll wear something thin like a T-shirt. But for のに's case, you wear something thick like a sweater, showing unexpected contrary result.

In example 2, you rest because it's your rest day. But for のに's case, you went to work instead, showing your unsatisfied feeling.

The rest of the examples also show the unexpected or dissatisfied contrary results in のに's cases.

Difference between ~のに and ~が/~ても

When translating のに (noni) into English, you can simply use the word "but". There are some other terms which also carry the meaning of "but", like for example, が (ga) and ても (temo). However, they are being used in different situations.

が (ga): Fact
ても (temo): Possibility (you can have contrary result)
のに (noni): Fact (contrary result with surprising or unsatisfied feeling)

Let's use some examples to show the difference between ~のに and ~が/~ても.

  1. 私の部屋は狭いですが、きれいです。
    watashi no heya wa semai desu ga, kirei desu

    Meaning: My room is small but clean.

  2. 明日雨が降っても、出かけます。
    ashita ame ga futtemo, dekakemasu

    Meaning: Even if it rains tomorrow, I will go out.

が (ga) in example 1 above cannot be substituted with のに (noni) - "狭いのに". This is because が (ga) simply joins two different evaluations together and the second sentence therein does not represent an unexpected consequence of what is stated in the first sentence.

Similary, ても (temo) in example 2 cannot be replaced by のに (noni) - "雨が降るのに", the first sentence suggests a possibility, but のに (noni) can only indicate things that have actually occurred in reality (fact).

Let's look at another example.

  • 約束をしたのに、どうして来なかったんですか。
    yakusoku wo shita noni, doushite konakattan desu ka

    Meaning: You promised to come. Why didn't you come?

In the above example, のに (noni) cannot be substituted with が (ga) or ても (temo) - "約束をしましたが" / "約束をしても". This is because the second sentence expresses a strong reproach (dissatifaction).

Practice using が, ても and のに

Let's practise on connecting the following sentences using either が (ga), ても (temo) or のに (noni). Some of the examples might be able to use more than one of them to connect the two sentences.

  1. この部屋は広いです。暗いです。
    kono heya wa hiroi desu. kurai desu

  2. 明日雨が降ります。サッカーをします。
    ashita ame ga furimasu. sakka- wo shimasu

  3. 姉は沢山食べます。太りません。
    ane wa takusan tabemasu. futorimasen

  4. 昨日うるさかったです。よく寝られました。
    kinou urusakatta desu. yoku neraremashita

  5. 来年お金がありません。日本へ行きましょう。
    rainen okane ga arimasen. nihon e ikimashou

  6. すみません。トイレはどこですか。
    sumimasen. toire wa doko desu ka

Have you figured out which one (or more) to use to connect the sentences? Below are my answers and the explanation on why which one was used (or not used).

Example 1
  • この部屋は広いですが、暗いです。
    kono heya wa hiroi desu ga. kurai desu

    Meaning: This room is spacious but dark.

In example 1, we are using が (ga) to join two different evaluations together. There's no relationship between the two. Only that one is positive meaning (広い) and the other is negative meaning (暗い). You cannot connect them using ても (temo) or のに (noni) because the second sentence does not contain contrary result of what is expected.

Example 2
  • 明日雨が降っても、サッカーをします。
    ashita ame ga futtemo, sakka- wo shimasu

    Meaning: Even if it rains tomorrow, I will play soccer.

In example 2, it's not a fact but only a possibility which may happen tomorrow. Therefore only ても (temo) can be used in this case.

Example 3
  • 姉は沢山食べますが、太りません。
    ane wa takusan tabemasu ga, futorimasen
    Meaning: My elder sister eats a lot, but she doesn't get fat.

    姉は沢山食べても、太りません。
    ane wa takusan tabetemo, futorimasen
    Meaning: Even if my elder sister eats a lot, she doesn't get fat.

    姉は沢山食べるのに、太りません。
    ane wa takusan taberu noni, futorimasen
    Meaning: Even though my elder sister eats a lot, she doesn't get fat.

が (ga), ても (temo) and のに (noni) can all be used in example 3. However, there are slight differences in terms of the meaning of each sentence, especially the feeling of the speaker.

When using が (ga), you are just describing the fact about your elder sister that she eats a lot but never get fat. There's no personal feeling when you say that.

When ても (temo) is used, you are saying that your elder doesn't usually eat a lot but even if she eats a lot, she won't get fat. You are talking about the possibility.

If のに (noni) is used instead, you are saying that even though your elder sister eats a lot, she never get fat (with some dissatisfied feeling). Probably you are jealous with your elder sister since you gain weight easily even if you eat a little. You are feeling some unfairness.

Example 4
  • 昨日うるさかったですが、よく寝られました。
    kinou urusakatta desu ga, yoku neraremashita
    Meaning: It was noisy yesterday, but I could sleep well.

    昨日うるさかったのに、よく寝られました。
    kinou urusakatta noni, yoku neraremashita
    Meaning: Even though it was noisy yesterday, I could sleep well.

Example 4 is a past event on yesterday. Therefore ても (temo) sentence (possibility) cannot be used. For the sentence using が (ga), you are just describing the fact that you could sleep well although it was noisy yesterday. There is no personal feeling.

For sentence using のに (noni), there is a surprising feeling. You are amazed that you are not sensitive to the noise and could sleep well yesterday.

Example 5
  • 来年お金がなくても、日本へ行きましょう。
    rainen okane ga nakutemo, nihon e ikimashou

    Meaning: Even if we don't have money next year, let's go to Japan.

The event for example 5 may happen in next year which mean it's only a possibility. Therefore only ても (temo) sentence can be used.

Example 6
  • すみませんが、トイレはどこですか。
    sumimasen ga, toire wa doko desu ka

    Meaning: Excuse me, where is the toilet?

In example 6, the が (ga) here is introduction no が (ga), which works as an introduction before you bring out the actual thing you want to say. ても (temo) and のに (noni) cannot be used here.

Related Pages

Lesson 14: Introduction no が (ga)

Lesson 20: Japanese Grammar for Cause and Reason ので (node) Sentence.

Lesson 25: ても (temo) Sentence.


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