Japanese Nouns Part 2 -
Free Japanese Lessons: 3

This second part of Japanese nouns will cover another feature of nouns in Japanese.

In Part 1, you learned to form simple sentences, namely questions and statements, using only nouns and several basic particles e.g. は (wa), も (mo) and か (ka).

Here you will learn to use one noun to modify another noun using the particle の (no). There are several meanings to this, depending on the context.

First, let's take a look at the following model:

NounA の NounB
NounA no NounB

Note: NounA is modifying NounB, and の (no) is used as a particle to connect the two Japanese nouns.

There are five meanings when using this model:

  1. Possessor
  2. Content
  3. Belonging
  4. Location
  5. Nature/Attribution

1. Possessor

In this case the subject NounA possesses the object NounB. For example,

  • トムさんのとけい
    to mu san no to kei
    Meaning: Tom's watch
  • わたしのかさ
    wa ta shi no ka sa
    Meaning: My umbrella

2. Content

In this case, NounA explains what NounB is about. It tells us the content of NounB.

  • りょうりのほん
    ryou ri no hon
    Meaning: Book on cookery (cookbook)
  • にほんごのきょうかしょ
    ni hon go no kyou ka sho
    Meaning: Japanese language textbook

3. Belonging

In this situation, NounA is an organization, company or a particular group to which NounB belongs.

  • American School (NounA) のせんせい (NounB)
    American School no sen sei
    Meaning: American School's teacher
  • Sony (NounA) のかいしゃいん (NounB)
    Sony no ka i sha in
    Meaning: A Sony office worker

4. Location

In this case, NounB gives the more exact location in relation to the place given by NounA.

  • つくえ (NounA) のうえ (NounB)
    tsu ku e no u e
    Meaning: On top of the desk
  • へや (NounA) のなか (NounB)
    he ya no na ka
    Meaning: Inside the room
  • ビル (NounA) のみぎ (NounB)
    bi ru no mi gi
    Meaning: Right-hand side of the building

5. Nature/Attribution

In this last case, NounA describes the gender and nationality of person NounB.

  • おんな (NounA) のせんせい (NounB)
    on na no sen sei
    Meaning: Female teacher 
  • かんこくじん (NounA) のがくせい (NounB)
    kan koku jin no ga ku sei
    Meaning: Korean student

Related Pages

Lesson 2: Nouns - Make simple sentences using Nouns.

Lesson 13: Nouns Part 3 - Action before and after Noun.

Lesson 27: Noun Modifier.

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