こと - Grammar Discussion

Conversion of a Verb into a Noun

Structure

  • Verb + こと, > *Verb[ない] + こと

View on Bunpro

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I’m confused. Are they the same?
のが好き=ことが好き?
nogasuki
koto

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Hey :grin:

In this case (with 好き・嫌い) の and こと can be used interchangeably.
BUT の is used much more often.

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This might help:

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Thank you very much for your explanation.

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I’ve been struggling a lot with this grammar point. Most things I’ve encountered on Bunpro up to this point, I’ve been able to just understand from the meaning page and the examples, without having to do outside reading, but this one was a real struggle to comprehend. I didn’t find the linked articles in BP helped me… however, I found this page https://jlptbootcamp.com/2011/02/jlpt-n4-grammar-battle-of-the-nominalizers-no-and-koto-2-of-2/ to be useful.

Also in the forums, user Kai helped me explain some of the other uses of こと (i.e. ending a sentence in こと) that appear in the Bunpro examples that I didn’t find in the articles I read either: https://community.bunpro.jp/t/have-you-done-your-bunpro-review-today/1120/308?u=jul3

I’m a little confused by this example sentence:

この部屋の中で遊ぶ こと はしないでください。

Why use こと here? It’s followed by する, which, in a way, turns the noun back into a verb.

So couldn’t I just get rid of both and use

この部屋の中で遊ばないでください。

instead to mean the same thing?

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Hey :slight_smile:

They are very similar.

It is a difference like between:

  • please refrain from playing in this room. (the こと one)
  • don’t play in this room please
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Ah, that makes sense. Thank you for the explanation!

In this example sentence…

想像することは大切なことです。
Using your imagination is important.

If こと turns a verb into a noun, then what is 大切 using it for here?

@deltacat3 When こと is paired with a verb in plain form (dictionary form) it nominalizes it. However, when it is by itself, it simply means “a thing” or “a matter.” Therefore, 大切なこと means “the thing that is important” or “the important thing.” If we were to translate the above sentence more literally, we would get “The thing that is important is using your imagination (lit. ‘imaginating’).”

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@Pushindawood Thank you kindly for the insight, this is now making alot more sense. Can’t believe I neglected to remember that こと is still a noun at the end of the day haha!

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Had a question on one of the sentences related to this grammar point.

大きい声で___。「喋る」
Not talking loudly.

I went for (or at least tried to, didn’t realize verb was godan): 大きい声で喋っていない。

This was wrong since it was looking for the こと. It seems weird to me like that. Like the sentence is incomplete, cause it looks like its just a noun phrase with nothing else going on. Maybe I am missing something?

This こと is one way to state rules. Things one must do. It’s kind of similar to signs in English that might read “no loud talking”. It’s fairly authoritative, not a polite request.

Some more examples.

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One thing I’m a little confused about is that, from what I’ve read, の should be used when there is some emotional attachment while こと should be used when there isn’t. But then why is スポーツをすることが好き allowed? Shouldn’t that be スポーツをするのが好き?

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The last paragraph covers the nuances of each.

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I think this grammar point needs a bit more of an explanation. I read each forum posts and checked the links and I think it basically means to add “ing” after something?
Because I don’t even have a guess to what “Conversion of a Verb into a Noun” means, and under information all you have is "No specific context information for こと” which isn’t exactly helpful.
Most of the explanations are just stating the difference between の and こと as “nominalizers” but you guys gotta understand, I’m stupid. I don’t have a clue what a nominalizer is.

So could someone tell me if I’m on track with こと being kind of like “ing” after a word? Or give please show me an english parallel so I know what I’m being shown

Converting a verb into a noun means taking a verb and somehow creating a noun from it by transforming it in some way. In English, there are many ways to do this, for example:

  • The verb “educate” can be converted to the noun “education” by adding the nominalizing suffix “-ion”
  • For the verb “sail”, we can use its gerund “sailing” as a noun, which is formed in the same way as the present participle by adding “-ing”
  • For the verb “fart” we can just use the existing noun “fart” with no changes

Like you wrote, adding こと to a verb in dictionary form results in a noun with a similar meaning as the gerund in English:

  • 食べる to eat → 食べること eating
  • 歌う to sing → 歌うこと singing

But it’s not 100% the same as adding “-ing” because the present participle is also formed by adding “-ing” and looks identical, but does completely different things that こと can’t do.

Anyway now that we have a noun instead of a verb, we can use it for things that only nouns can be used for. For example, we can use it as an object of another verb, or as a subject:

  • I’ll give up running. 走ることを諦める
  • Eating is fun! 食べることが楽しい

Like English, Japanese also has more ways to nominalize verbs or entire phrases:

  • の and some others can sometimes be used in a similar way as こと
  • In some cases, the masu stem is used as a noun, e.g. 休む to rest → 休み rest/break/vacation
  • Some verbs have existing corresponding nouns, e.g. 歌う to sing → 歌 song
  • For する verbs we can just not add the する, e.g. 勉強する to study → 勉強 studies

Out of those, こと is a generic way to create a noun that expresses the concept of doing the action the verb represents. The others result in different meanings, like they do in English too.

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You a hero for this one